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Personal and professional news and updates from YSE's more than 5,600 alumni around the world.

Classes of 1953-1992 | Classes of 1993-2016 | Classes of 2017-2022

  1. Class of ’53

    Class Volunteers

    Stanley L. Goodrich, Earl W. Raymond

    Oakleigh Thorne holding a bird
    Submitted by Oak Thorne

    Oakleigh (“Oak”) Thorne writes: “I just received the Spark Plug Award from the Boulder Flatirons Rotary Club in Boulder, Colorado. It included a $2,000 check toward the building of the Lafayette Nature Center, future home of Thorne Nature Experience. This center will be the first time in its 69 years that Thorne has owned its own land and buildings. At 94, I am involved in the capital campaign to raise the necessary funds. I also run a federal bird-banding station at Thorne Nature Experience.”

  2. Class of ’56

    Class Volunteers

    Patrick J. Duffy

    Submitted by Patrick Duffy
    Submitted by Patrick Duffy

    Patrick Duffy writes: “My what-ifs: What if my wood technology professor had not said, ‘throw a wide net, you may find a good master’s school?’” That led to Yale Forestry and coaching the ski team and working nights at the Faculty Club on the village green. What if Walt Henson had not been there from Canada to show me how to make thermocouples to study climate near the ground? That led to a research job at Chalk River, Canada, and nearly 20 years of research management. What if I was not elected president of the YSE student body and asked to greet all visitors? I would not have met Martha Hayne from Vassar for a three-year love affair spanning the continent. If I had not accepted an invitation to be a fourth for tennis from the hotel lifeguard, I would not have met Elisabeth von Bandian of the Vienna Hotel Management School, and we would not have been married for 53 years, raised four lovely children, and traveled the world. Midcareer in 1971, if I had not taken a risk in government to take a 12-week career assignment course, my team would not have been assigned to draft an environmental impact assessment policy and procedure for Canada. This led to 50 years of senior government work including with Lee Talbot, U.N. assignments in seven agencies, industrial clients, several universities, CESO, domestic tasks. My favorite outfit was FAO, and Kenya was my favorite land. At 90 I am a widower and happy finishing off my life story with my kids. Thank you!”

  3. Class of ’61

    Class Volunteers

    Karl Spalt, R. Scott Wallinger

    Scott Wallinger writes: “After eight years on the board of Lowcountry Land Trust, I still serve on its Advancement Committee and regularly read SAF publications. (Last year SAF’s Forestry Source published an article I submitted about the South’s Third Forest project in 1969 and 1970.) Javier Moro and I exchange periodic emails. We did a mensuration project together at Yale. He’s retired in Madrid. Last year the Madrid Forestry School’s publication Montes (a forester is a ‘mountain engineer’ in Spain) wrote about his work in the 1970s inventorying forests in Algeria, Senegal, and Bolivia for the FAO — a far cry from today’s LiDAR inventories! I also stay in touch with Brazilian friends associated with the forest and paper mills that reported to me in the 1990s.”


    Yale School of the Environment Reunion 2023

    October 6-8

    Kroon Hall as seen from Sachem Wood
  4. Class of ’64

    Class Volunteers

    Stewarded by the office of development and alumni services

    Gerald Conley writes: “I arrived at Yale with a fresh BS in forestry from the University of California and three summers as a forestry trainee with the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Within days of arriving at Yale, I was studying German on the side because I would need it if I pursued a doctorate in forest management, a possibility I could not have imagined before my arrival. I went on to Harvard Business School, where I worked a summer as a consultant for Peter Arnold ’51. My job was to document the economics of switching Great Northern Paper Company’s horselogging for pulpwood operation into tree-length logging using recently developed Beloit harvesters and specialized skidders. After a stint in the Peace Corps, I worked as an international forestry and wood products consultant and planner, rising into upper management. Subsequently, I formed a successful venture capital partnership with my wife, Fran, who I met at Harvard Business School. We continue to celebrate our 56 years together and the family we have created.”

  5. Class of ’70

    Class Volunteers

    Whitney Beals

    Gawel padding an ocean kayak
    Submitted by Mike Gawel

    Mike Gawel writes: “Our daughter Ann Marie received her PhD in 2022 for her thesis on impacts of invasive species such as snakes, pigs, and rats on native forests of the Mariana Islands and their cultural impacts on island residents. She continues her research on a Smith postdoc fellowship. On my arrival on Guam in 1973, my surveys showed the presence of 12 native forest birds, but 10 of these have gone extinct in the field since then due to predation by invasive snakes. I continue to reside on Guam after retirement from the National Park Service. Contrary to classmates’ belief, I am not a beachcomber! I will try to get to my YC 55th reunion in June and visit YSE.”

    Bill Lansing writes: “Since retirement in 2006, I continue to capture the local history of southwestern Oregon. Check out my website at billlansing.com to see a list of books. I am at number 13. It’s been fun, and I have learned a lot about various topics I knew little about before I started.”

    A colorful garden
    Submitted by Rick Matheny

    Rick Matheny writes: “In 1974, I received an MPH from the Yale School of Public Health and became one of the longest serving directors of health in Connecticut, working throughout the state. I then began a stint as an independent contractor for local health districts in Connecticut as they prepared to apply for national accreditation. In 2020, I was appointed the director of health for the Quinnipiac Valley Health District on an interim basis just as the pandemic reached Connecticut. It is a job I returned to in February 2023 and will hold until a permanent director of health is hired. It seems that I am unable to retire! I still manage to find time to seriously flower garden at our Branford house. We received awards for Outstanding Horticultural and Landscaping Achievement in 2016 and 2021 from the Branford Garden Club. All four of our children and our five grandchildren live in Connecticut as well.”

  6. Class of ’71

    Class Volunteers

    Joseph Deschenes, Harold T. Nygren

    Sunset over water
    Submitted by Jim Okraszewiski

    writes: “My status remains the same — retired from industrial forestry in 2008. We’re surrounded by forest to the south and water (ice) to the north. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan in winter is great if you enjoy quiet, cold, and white. We live on the border with Wisconsin, where there is a modicum of civilization 12 miles away and a bit more about 35 miles away. I remain busy as a volunteer with two different hospice agencies while Clare does the same for the library in Land o’ Lakes. I snowshoe and identify tracks of wolves, coyotes, ermine, fishers, otters, etc. in winter, while gardening and fishing keep me entertained in the short summer.”

  7. Class of ’74

    Class Volunteers

    R.A. Lautenschlager, Norman Noyes

    standing with sign
    Submitted by Rod Hennessey

    Gerard (“Rod”) Hennessey writes: “In May, I was fêted as The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve’s first director at their 50th anniversary celebration at the Barrier Islands Center in Machipongo, Virginia. I worked as the startup manager from 1974 to 1984. I did the initial resource inventory and prepared the management principles, which are still used today. I’ve lived on the seaside of the Eastern Shore of Virginia ever since our farm on Bell Neck.”

    Katharine Preston writes: “I remain convinced that science and seminary students talking to one another can help bridge some interpretive gaps that get in the way of effective climate action. The facts tend to speak for themselves, but the moral leadership on climate justice that can come from communities of faith needs committed leadership. So, among other work, I spend time promoting the joint master’s degree program between YSE and Yale Divinity School.” katharine.preston@gmail.com

  8. Class of ’75

    Class Volunteers

    Jennifer Belovsky, Hallie Metzger

    Evan Griswold writes: “After retirement, I have been volunteering my time in Old Lyme, Connecticut, with membership on both the Inland Wetlands Commission and the Open Space Commission, where I have served as co-chair for two years, now stepping down. I recommend the new biography by David Patterson ’59 of the Pinchot family, highlighting the School’s founder, Gifford Pinchot, who was also the founder of the USDA Forest Service and twice governor of Pennsylvania. A good read packed with history.”

    Hybrid chestnut tree
    Submitted by Hallie Metzger

    Hallie (Black) Metzger writes: “I had the joy of bringing together my two disciplines — forestry and classics — in a talk for the Yale Club of Chicago on February 22 about how Rome’s colonization of the British Isles transformed the physical landscape and laid a cultural foundation for the future British Empire. We too often think of the ancient world as ‘one and done.’ We forget that the past shapes our present and limits the choices we can make in the future. I am honored to continue serving on our Alumni Association Board and hopeful my family’s small plot of hybrid chestnuts in northwestern Connecticut won’t be wiped out by the blight.”

  9. Class of ’76

    Class Volunteers

    Thomas Barounis, John Lundquist, Thomas Marino, Alan Poole

    Philip Conkling writes: “My consulting projects during the past year or two include Diamond Offshore Wind, a developer that has proposed a 10-turbine floating wind project 40 miles off the Maine coast. I also worked on environmental permitting for an Atlantic salmon land-based recirculating aquaculture system in the MidCoast Maine town of Belfast. My non-profit clients have been focused on operation and capital campaign fundraising and strategic planning for a land trust and a museum. I have also recently done some consulting for my alma mater, the Island Institute. My wife, Paige, and I restored an 1857 10-bedroom sea captain’s house on an island into a summer rental enterprise during the past five years and helped launch five sons into careers.”

    Sally Hasted writes “I continue to live in Wilton, Connecticut, with husband, Jack, and our cats, where I tend a yard that’s friendly to all wildlife. Before COVID, I loved teaching environmental science and a love of nature, writing, art, history, and everything else my students longed to learn. I’m grateful for YSE and the degree that enabled my lifelong passion to save the world of nature. I needed it badly, as my family and society had belittled me and said, as a girl with no math skills, I could never be a scientist. I’m so proud of Yale for spearheading the environmental movement and for enabling other young people who want to get their feet muddy, slip down mountainsides, tumble over tree roots, balance on boards across marsh mud, confront bears when alone in the woods, smear mosquito blood on their penciled field notes, confront hunters and one-up them with the casual mention of the Winchester 300 they were forced to shoot in ‘Wildlife Bio,’ and prefer paper maps to digital devices. So rock on, YSE!”

  10. Class of ’77

    Class Volunteers

    Tracy Kay

    Submitted by Denise Mitten
    Submitted by Denise Mitten

    Tim Glidden writes: “I retired at the beginning of 2022 after leading Maine Coast Heritage Trust for 11 incredibly rewarding years conserving the state’s amazing islands and shoreline. Promptly contracted COVID but bounced back to enjoy two grandchildren who have moved to Maine. Now after a year of indulging myself, I’m re-engaging with Maine’s environmental and conservation scene to start the next chapter. Always excited to see classmates coming through (which seems more frequent in the summer for some reason).”

    Denise Mitten writes: “I am now faculty emerita, though I am still finishing working with about 20 graduate students. I take every opportunity to adventure with my child, Lauren, as well as other friends. I split my time living in Prescott, Arizona; on the road; and in D.C. and Delaware. During COVID, I have had to come East to help with family, so I have experienced cross-country travel in an electric car four times now. When visiting Lauren in D.C., my transportation is often on a tandem bike. Even my luggage, when I arrive or leave, is transported by bicycle.”