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Cornell Class of 91
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Class Notes, 2008 January/February

January/February 2008

Thank you to everyone who recently sent in news. I hope each of you enjoys reading about your classmates and what they have all been up to! John McMurray is a major in the US Army and is currently serving as a medical troop commander of the 2d Stryker Cavalry Regiment. The Second Regiment of Dragoons was constituted May 23, 1836, and, as such, is the "longest active serving regiment in the US Army." Also serving with John in the Regiment is Capt. Marco Bongioanni '01. John has been busy preparing his soldiers for their July deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He writes that he misses the chicken wings at Cornell (not alone there) and that he and his wife Trisch welcomed their first child, John Andrew ("Andy") McMurray II, three weeks before John was deployed in July. John is based in Vilseck, Germany, and he and Trisch have enjoyed touring Europe the last six years. In fact, they have enjoyed it so much that when John was asked what he would rather be doing now, he wrote, "Driving a new Porsche Carrera across Europe." We wish John and his squadron a safe tour of duty in Iraq and a speedy return so that he can start the Porsche tour! Trisch and baby Andy are expecting John home in November 2008.

Lots of baby news was sent in, in addition to Maj. McMurray's. Some of the babies are now toddlers, but better late than never! Karen Finkston Payes and husband Giora welcomed Sarah Lucy, little sister to Noah, on May 16, 2006. They reside in Chappaqua, NY, and Karen is home with her kids full-time (plus!). While she misses her career in public relations, she loves being with her children. Kimberly Jordan Stone took an unofficial sabbatical--from her work as a family physician in the Navy--in August 2006 to enjoy her maternity leave and focus on motherhood. Catherine Genevieve "Neve" arrived on April 30, 2007. Kim and her family reside in Chesapeake, VA.

Kris Markussen Karcher, MS '93, is a busy stay-at-home mom to Greta, 4, Duncan 2, and just-born Lena, who arrived on September 1, 2007. Karen and her family reside in Chalfont, PA. Panos Panayotopoulos sends news from Greece that he and his new bride, Lili, recently had a son named Antony. Panos is still general manager of the Athenaeum InterContinental and is still lecturing at the U. of Piraeus on hospitality investments. He and his family just moved to a new house in Mets, which Panos says has fantastic views of Athens.

Cathy James finished her fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine at Children's Hospital in Boston in June and is now an attending physician in the pediatric emergency department at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. Cathy writes that she and her husband recently bought a house in Natick and that, as first-time homeowners, they have a lot to learn. Carolyn Richmond sent some news about herself and some Cornell classmates. She recently joined the law firm of Fox Rothschild LLP as a partner in their labor and employment group and is co-chairing her firm's national hospitality practice. The group includes lawyers from the labor, corporate, real estate, intellectual property, and gaming areas. Fellow ILR classmate (and Carolyn's Cornell apartment-mate) Beth Bechky received tenure at UC Davis in its Graduate School of Management. Beth and husband Scott Wu live in Berkeley. In addition, Carolyn recently bumped into another ILR friend, Mike Saxon, who lives in Westfield, NJ, with his wife Jill and their three children. Ironically, after 20 years away from Ives Hall, Carolyn and Mike ended up working in the same building in Manhattan!

Simon Atkins wrote that he is the CEO of Advanced Forecasting Corp., a global weather risk management firm. He reports that his favorite after-hours activity is to commit random acts of kindness, making life easier--even for just a minute--for someone that may be having a rough day. Simon has recently been conducting research on climate-change patterns, watching eagles in Montana, and just cherishing and offering gratitude for each day. When asked what he'd rather be doing, Simon writes that he would-n't change one thing. "The most challenging goal in life is to be content with what you have and with who is in your life." Some of Simon's fondest Cornell memories are of numerous walks and listening to all the birds, even when it was snowing. Simon and wife Yoshie reside in Billings, MT, where he continues walking and birding. He encourages us all to be in tune with our environment.

Big and very exciting news from classmate Erika Nowak, a US Geological Survey researcher. "The Tucson Herpetological Society has selected USGS Southwest Biological Science Center researcher Erika Nowak as the 2007 recipient of the Jarchow Conservation Award." This award is given to individuals or organizations deemed to have made major contributions to the conservation of the amphibians and reptiles of the deserts of North America. Erika was presented with the award during a ceremony in Tucson on September 18, and is the eighth person--and first woman--to receive it. Her work has focused on the ecology and conservation of snakes in Arizona, including several rattlesnake species and the narrow-headed garter snake (a species of conservation concern). Erika is still working on her PhD and passed her written and oral comprehensives in April 2007. She expects to receive her degree in 2008. Congratulations, Erika!

From beautiful Costa Rica, classmate Tim O'Hara writes that he and wife Robin Nunes have founded, own, and operate a center for sustainable living named Rancho Mastatal (, located in the small rural community of Mastatal, Costa Rica. Their project includes work in community development, education, conservation, natural building, renewable energy, and wilderness medicine. Other Class of '91 grads are encouraged to visit Tim when in Costa Rica. Nicole Ryan just got back from a profound and moving trip to Rwanda and hopes to send a more detailed update soon.

From the Boston area, our classmate Kevin Lemanowicz (chief meteorologist at Fox News in Boston) treated the Cornell Club of Boston to a behind-the-scenes tour of Fox Studios on October 4, 2007. Classmate Paul Hayre coordinated the event. Kevin explained the process of predicting the weather and putting together the forecast, then let Cornell Club attendees try their hand at presenting in front of the green screen. Thanks, Kevin!

Keep sending such terrific news! *Sharlyn Carter Heslam,; Ariane Schreiber Horn,; Kathryn Kraus Bolks,

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