We’re delighted to introduce the class coordinators for the 2021 Milestone Reunions. In bringing alumni together, organizing a memorable day for their classmates, and fundraising for their class gift, class coordinators play a key role in strengthening the HCHS alumni community. We are thankful for their time and efforts.
From alumni of ’16 organizing their first reunion, to the alumnae of ’46 who have stayed engaged for decades, it is our pleasure to share the diverse backgrounds and accomplishments of the men and women serving as our current class coordinators.
|Joy Levien ’51 Jan.|
Risa Stabin ’51 Jan.
Sheila Goodman ’56
Joan Grabe ’56
Lucille NELSON Richards ’56
Helene WILLIAMS Spierman ’61
Leonore Tiefer ’61
Helene BLACKMAN Herman ’66
|Tobe Becker ’71|
Beth Berenbaum ’71
Alice Bruce ’71
Sandi Charton ’71
Sue Hawkins ’76
Margo Kizel ’76
Lauren B. Kacir ’81
Mark E. Lang ’81
Karen G. Schwartz ’81
Carol TOMKIEWICZ Marquez ’86
Christine Quinones ’86
Robert Wu ’86
|Kristina Boylan ’91|
Ellen M. Kackmann ’91
Michael Wertheim ’91
Betsy Hook ’96
Elaine Daly ’01
Faraaz Shah ’01
Yuna Youn ’01
Pete Martin ’06
Kevin Park ’11
Sophia Liao ’16
Christopher Moy ’16
Joy Levien, Class of 1951 January
After Hunter College High School, scholarships and waiting on table resulted in my achieving a Cornell University 1954 B. A. degree and a Cornell Law School 1957 J.D. However, upon graduation from law school, I received no law firm offers, although I was on the Cornell Law Review with three case notes published. Could this be because I was a woman and Jewish in the 1950s?
Thus, I became a corporate law editor for a company specializing in state foreign qualification matters and servicing only lawyers. Thereafter, I worked as a program specialist for the Institute of International Education, administering a cultural exchange program funded by the Ford Foundation to bring advanced scholars from the Iron Curtain countries to the United States for a year in order to sample in person our democracy and, thereby, encourage a peaceful throwing off of the Soviet control of Eastern Europe.
Finally, in 1967, I was offered and took an in-house legal position as an attorney in the intellectual property field with The Singer Company, a multinational corporation specializing in sewing machines. At Singer, I switched fields to corporate law, board of directors and shareholder meetings, and SEC matters, eventually becoming Corporate Secretary of Singer.
In 1980, I joined R.H. Macy & Co, Inc. and practiced in the same corporate law fields as I had done at Singer. In 1994, Federated took over the original Macy’s and eliminated me and the rest of Macy’s New York corporate office. Thereafter, I took care of my aging mother in Florida until she passed in 2002 and, since then, have led the marvelous life of a retiree in a sun-drenched state.
Risa Stabin, Class of 1951 January
Currently, I’m still working as an editor but no longer in the medical field. I now edit dissertations, plays, newspaper and magazine articles, and whatever assorted material comes my way. It’s much more varied and lots of fun. Thank you, Miss Brubaker.
Joan Grabe, Class of 1956
As for me – mother of 4, grandmother of 8, married 60 years, follow the sun from Sanibel, Florida. Southport, Ct., Saranac Lake, NY and Carmel, CA. Serve on the boards of 3 Foundations, the Hunter College Foundation ( former chair and member of the Hunter College Hall of Fame and chair of the Hunter College School of Nursing Advisory Board ),the Adirondack Foundation and the Adirondack Health System Foundation. Our whole family is passionate about environmental issues and organizations.
Helene WILLIAMS Spierman, Class of 1961
I’ve been coordinating Class of ’61 reunions since 1966, when Leonore Tiefer and I sent out post cards for an informal 5th Reunion gathering in Central Park. Five years later, when we began our work for the tenth, we discovered that four other classmates had also started; so we joined forces, and have been together ever since.
My efforts for our class include compiling an e-mail class newsletter since 1996; a web site on Homestead, supported by the Reunion Committee; and maintaining contact information for all.
I was active in an early iteration of the Alumnae/i Association around when I graduated (Robin Spero ’60 was elected President). I think I was Secretary; but I’m certain that I co-edited AlumNotes in the late ‘60s; it was mimeographed and snail-mailed.
The narrative gets complicated in describing my life – two marriages, two careers; many interests.
Marriages: conductor Michael Spierman, with whom I co-founded the Bronx Opera Co.; and composer Leonard Lehrman – we’ve done 665 concerts to date, and have recorded 14 CDs together. I have one son, Ben Spierman. I am still a busy singer, thanks to Leonard; and a speech coach, with a specialty in “accent reduction,” whereby I teach folks to pronounce Standard American English. The Linguistics I studied in the Master’s program in Communication Sciences at Hunter back in the late ‘90s is a welcome tool. We do a lot of traveling, both in the U.S. and abroad. I studied Russian before our two trips to Russia and Belarus and dabbled in Romanian before heading there to see where my paternal grandparents lived in Bucharest, while delving into genealogy for both my parents’ families. Luckily, I enjoy learning technology, because now I’m running Zoom sessions. Recently I was videographer, performer, and computer engineer for a virtual concert sponsored by the Walt Whitman Birthplace that combined videos we pre-recorded with live commentary and interviews. See it. I’m up for challenges!
Leonore Tiefer, Class of 1961
I’m basically a 76-year-old left-wing Bronx-born atheist Jewish Unitarian Universalist with a PhD in Psychology and a long career in sexology. A white person, as they say in 2020. Divorced, widowed, no children, feet firmly planted in 2nd wave feminism. I’ve got the usual professional’s CV (leonoretiefer.com) with books, conferences, academic jobs, therapy license, keynote speeches, etc. My main contribution was to resist Big Pharma’s attempt to medicalize women’s sexual lives (newviewcampaign.org). If the country and the planet survive, it will all eventually seem antediluvian, so the less said the better. My perspective and leadership skills emerged early as an oppositional and defiant temperament that got me suspended from Hunter at least twice. I like to think I managed to tame myself sufficiently to be constructive and a credit to my parents, though after reading this you have a right to be skeptical. I have helped organize each of our class’ reunions every 5 years since 1966. Helene Williams makes it easy!
Tobe Becker, Class of 1971
I attended NYU, majoring in journalism and promptly got a job in Newsweek’s publicity department upon graduation. At Newsweek I was able to attend both the Democratic and Republican conventions in 1976, an experience that is probably responsible for making me the news junkie I remain to this day.
The bulk of my career has been spent working in television publicity, affording me the opportunity to travel to great locations and giving me the chance to work with some of the most talented people in entertainment. I started my television career at CBS, and after eight years I decamped for HBO and finally, after 31 years at HBO and as Vice President, Media Relations, I retired in August 2017. While at HBO I had the privilege of creating and executing the publicity campaigns of such iconic programs as “The Sopranos,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Girls” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver,” among many others.
I am a lifelong Manhattan resident, currently living in Murray Hill with my husband of 32 years Thomas Klem.
Alice Bruce, Class of 1971
After graduating from Hunter in 1971 I attended Boston University where i studied French Language and Literature. After spending my junior year in Paris, I graduated from BU in 1975. My career has led me from bilingual positions on a circuitous route that included advertising sales and finally fundraising. I have spent the last 13+ years as the Vice President of Development of the MSPCA in Boston. It is a job I love. My life otherwise has included travel far and wide, sadly curtailed now due to COVID. I look forward to the day that we can all travel safely, socialize without masks, attend cultural events and dine out—all things I have enjoyed tremendously in old normal times.
I am very excited for our 50th reunion and have been working for the past five years with a committed group of classmates to raise money for our big reunion. I hope we can make a big impact on Hunter going forward. We had the best education that money couldn’t buy! I am happy to think about repaying our great educational experience now.
Sandi Charton, Class of 1971
I attended Brandeis University (which, to be perfectly honest, I chose in large part because I wanted to go to a school where I could attend lots of political protests). I left Brandeis after my first semester junior year and was a visiting student at both Princeton (a bit of a different environment than the one at Brandeis) and Lehman College (ditto re: “different environment”), but the degree is definitely a Brandeis one. I then went to law school in Boston and have lived here pretty much ever since (but the Bronx accent will NEVER disappear).
My professional life has been even more full of changes than my college career. I somehow segued from litigating child abuse and neglect cases to practicing labor and employment law and then “resegued” into human resources a number of years ago.
After living in a suburb west of Boston for 30 years, my husband and I moved into the city about 7 years ago. I love living in a city (even if it’s not NYC). We have three children and 2 grandchildren (an incredible experience).
Class of 1981
Lauren Buxbaum Kacir, MD, 1981
Lauren is surprised to find that she has now been in Texas longer than she lived in NYC, is married to her second Texas native, and has two Texas-grown children. She now lives in Austin, a far less alien landscape than the one from which she moved 10 years ago. Still a pediatrician at heart, she now specializes in ADHD evaluation and treatment for children, adolescents, and adults. Much to her surprise, most of her patients are adults. However, they still like to play with the office toys.
After coordinating our first 3 reunions, Lauren left the East Coast and was much less involved with HCHS. She was, however, able to coordinate her Bryn Mawr College reunions from afar for 25 years. She is delighted to have been invited to join Karen and Mark in coordinating our (gasp) 40th class reunion. “We have always been outstanding. We will never be outdone! Hunter Seniors, ’81, the greatest Seniors ever. That’s us, the Seniors ’81!”
Karen Schwartz, LMSW, TCTSY-F, C-IAYT, 1981
Karen isn’t sure how she came to be co-class coordinator for all these years but is happy to be continuing the tradition with Mark and Lauren. Karen’s NYC roots have held her to the city, where she has spent the last 25 years helping people achieve better physical, mental and emotional health. A licensed social worker, certified yoga teacher, and yoga therapist, Karen is also a trauma sensitive yoga facilitator specializing in helping people heal from complex trauma. In addition to maintaining a private practice, she is the Operations Coordinator for the Center for Trauma and Embodiment at JRI. Of all her educational experiences, Hunter remains nearest and dearest to her heart, and she can’t wait to see all of you again, whether virtually or in “real” life!
Mark E. Lang, 1981
I am proud of my HCHS affiliation, six vitally formative years for so many of us, and glad to help organize our (gasp!) 40th Reunion. We are the historic first class of 50% male students at the school. Following three theater productions in PGID at Hunter, I majored in Drama at Vassar College and have had a varied career in many creative areas: actor, director, graphic designer, and corporate trainer.
I thank in advance Karen and Lauren for partnering with me on what will no doubt be a most memorable gathering of an extraordinary group of friends—be it in person, virtual, or some combination of both! If you are a member of our class (or in that vicinity), check out and join our Class of 1981 group on “The Facebook:” www.facebook.com/groups/hchs1981
Robert Wu, Class of 1986
Hi folks. Well, my favorite award-winning, New York Times and international bestselling author classmate volunteered me to do this, and as soon as I found out I went to the ’86 Facebook group for help. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Christine and Carol. If you are one of my ’86 peeps and reading this, we would love all the help that we can get, so ping me! I do love these reunions and most of my classmates, so I will work on this with enthusiasm, and being single during the pandemic and a civil servant, I guess I do have the time. Oh, btw, I’m also union! Union strong. Union proud. We are one. Anyways, fingers crossed for this virus to be mostly contained and mitigated by next June because it would be awesome to see most of you, with all of you not in NYC coming in and all of you in NYC not being lazy or asocial. 🙂
Kristina A. Boylan, Class of 1991
I am Associate Professor of History at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica, NY, where I am currently working on graphic history, inclusive design, and food justice projects. Privately I am wrapping my head around the fact that it is our 30th reunion that is coming up, and though I really hope there will be a way I get to come to NYC as part of it, am committed to bringing us together for some good times and reconnections regardless of the modality.
Elaine Daly, Class of 2001
As a forensic social worker Sister Eli wants to create more community resources, strengthen advocacy programs, and truly divert individuals from systems that were never created with women, brown, black, or LGBTQ+ folx in mind. She partners with Osbourne Association to highlight the affexts of parental incarceration on children; and she is a graduate of the Women’s Leadership & Media Project, run by the Women’s Prison Association (WPA), where she currently advocates for systems-involved women through events and media. Most recently, she attended the Sundance Film Festival as a representative of WPA and an immersive multimedia project called, “Still Here” by Al Jazeera, exploring incarceration and gentrification.
Yuna Youn, Class of 2001
I am thrilled to be helping coordinate Quantum Sheep’s 20th Reunion. 2020 has been unprecedented, just as Hunter and Hunter Alums’ response to it in the form of activism, mutual support, and solidarity. In my memories, Hunter College High School was a community that encouraged creative freedom. Our teachers equipped us to have a critical mindedness of institutions without devolving into pessimism. They continue to do so, as they and other union members advocate for safe learning conditions using media activism and the law. Memories of Hunter include chorus, jazz chorus, orchestra, and discussing books I fell in love with that still inform me today. I have been a social worker for over 5 years at Rikers Island and while “The Brick Prison” wasn’t the only reason I ended up there, it molded my passion for social justice and a vision for collective healing at the micro- mezzo- and macro- levels. I am currently a Resource Navigator Supervisor with the NYC COVID Test and Trace Program, which provides assistance for New Yorkers in isolation or quarantine. Having attended Columbia University for my BA and receiving my social work degree at NYU, I have been a lifelong New Yorker and am deeply grateful to have had these experiences and to make the contributions I can. The only unfortunate thing is that I actually live in New Jersey, and have been since Senior year of college. While I appreciate Jersey, there is nothing like New York and its resilience since 2001, the year we graduated. Watching the skyline through these many months of hardship, my heart is very much there and looking forward to the growth that will come of it.
Pete Martin, Class of 2006
Pete Martin is excited to coordinate the Class of 2006’s 15-year reunion—especially because our class’s 10-year reunion was such a success. He remains deeply grateful for and connected to Hunter: he’s still good friends with many members of the Class of 2006, he’s in touch with a few Hunter teachers, and he’s glad every time he runs into or hears from a former classmate, in New York or online. Whatever the Class of 2006’s 15-year reunion next summer looks like, Pete is confident that it will be fun and sweet to reconnect with so many members of “OH SIX!”
Sophia Liao, Class of 2016
Sophia Liao is excited to coordinate the Class of 2016’s first reunion. With the ongoing pandemic, she believes in connection now more than ever.
After attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst for her freshman year, Sophia landed a fashion internship that prompted a move back to NYC. She decided to finish her studies at Baruch College in the Zicklin School of Business and will join Neuberger Berman after graduation. Sophia is active in fashion, media, finance and startup communities and recently launched a personal styling and shopping platform. She looks forward to learning about her classmates’ great, new adventures.
Christopher Moy, Class of 2016
Since graduating with the Class of 2016, Chris Moy has looked forward to his first reunion and seeing the growth that his peers experienced since escaping the Brick Prison. Although it is safe to say that this reunion will be nothing like he has imagined over the years, he is glad to become one of his class’ coordinators and hopes that this event will provide a much-needed opportunity for his fellow 2016ers to not only look back on fond memories, but also encourage each other to press forward together into the real world.
After forsaking buildings taller than ten stories and learning what it means to have a school football team by attending the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, Chris graduated with a degree in Business Analytics and a minor in International Peace Studies. He is now back in New York City and has started a full-time technology consulting position at Ernst & Young. Back home for longer than a week for the first time since graduating from Hunter, Chris is eager to re-explore the city he grew up in, reestablish his network within the local nonprofit community, and reconnect with former basketball, lacrosse, and cross-country teammates, chorus alumni, and classmates.