Tim Spencer ’97
Tim Spencer ’97 was named vice president of worldwide sales for Skyword, an innovative venture that has trade-marked the term “search-driven media” (SDM) to describe its service. Spencer will create and oversee the company’s global sales initiatives.
Previously vice president of sales for Gerson Lehrman Group, a market research firm maintaining the world’s largest network of subject-matter experts, Spencer began his career with Good Machine, a leading independent producer and distributor of award-winning films, such as The Ice Storm, In The Bedroom and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. In 2002, the company was acquired by NBC Universal and renamed Focus Features. Spencer, who managed the global sales operation until 2008, was involved with several Academy Award-winning films, including Lost In Translation, The Pianist, The Constant Gardener, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Milk, and Brokeback Mountain.
In a press release, Tom Gerace, CEO and founder of Skyword, says, “Tim’s experience in building teams and defining new markets make him a natural fit and the perfect leader for our team.”
At Wesleyan, Spencer was an American studies major.
Kenneth Kimmell ’82
Kenneth Kimmell ’82 was named commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. Previously he was general counsel for the executive office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, joining Governor Duval Patrick’s team in 2007.
Energy and Environment secretary-designate Richard Sullivan has described Kimmell as the “legal lead” on all aspects of recent state energy and environmental policy.
Kimmell has been credited with overseeing the state permitting of Cape Wind, the nation’s first off-shore wind project, as well as leading environmental permitting changes and drafting land-based wind energy siting reform legislation.
Additionally, he has focused on the development and early implementation of policy initiatives such as the MEPA Greenhouse Gas policy, a first-in-the-nation policy that requires developers of major projects to identify, avoid, and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Prior to joining the Patrick-Murray Administration, Kimmell was in private practice, where he specialized in environmental and land use law and litigation.
A College of Social Studies major at Wesleyan, Kimmell received his law degree from the UCLA School of Law.
At right, Oxford University Chancellor Lord Patten of Barnes, congratulates Robert G. McKelvey ’59 for being named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University.
Robert G. McKelvey ’59, of Sea Girt, N.J., was named a Distinguished Friend of Oxford University by the university’s chancellor, Lord Patten of Barnes, during a ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York as part of the university’s recent North American reunion.
Founded in 1998, the Distinguished Friend citation has been awarded to 42 Oxonians of approximately 180,000 Oxford alumni.
The citation noted McKelvey as the “driving force” behind the Merton College Charitable Corporation, the alumni organization of Mertonians in the Americas since its formation in 1994. Merton College, one of the Oxford’s 45 colleges and halls, was founded in 1264 and is one of Oxford’s oldest colleges. The citation noted that “Merton’s donations from the U.S. are among the highest of all Oxford Colleges.” McKelvey studied at Merton from 1959–1961 as a Rhodes Scholar receiving a B.A. and an M.A. degree in history.
McKelvey also serves on the board of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars and as an officer since 1998. All Rhodes Scholars attend Oxford University.
McKelvey has served as a trustee of Wesleyan University, several national educational foundations, and, locally, the Sea Girt Citizens Lighthouse Committee and The (Animal) Shelter.
McKelvey is president of George McKelvey Company, investment advisers in Sea Girt.
David M. Gruppo ’79 has joined the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. (BTMU) as head of Latin America Corporate and Investment Banking, a newly created position. He reports to Randall Chafetz, head of corporate and investment banking for the Americas.
Gruppo has spent a significant portion of his career involved in Latin American corporate and investment banking, including positions with Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Santander. During the past eight years, he has been focused on the technology sector, working in various capacities with IBM, including T J Watson Research. An economics major at Wesleyan, he earned his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
In a press release for the company, Gruppo says he is excited by this opportunity, and he characterizes Latin America as having “strong and sustained growth over many years and demonstrated resilience during the financial crisis.”
He adds: “Latin America has reached an important inflection point where it is no longer emerging; it has emerged. … BTMU opened its first offices in Argentina and Brazil over 90 years ago, and has a long-established presence in Mexico and Chile, so is well-positioned to help facilitate the significant expansion of ties between Asia and Latin America.”
Jonathan Dube ’94
Jonathan Dube ’94 joined AOL as senior vice president and general manager of AOL news and information. Previously, he was vice president of ABCNews.com. Dube has twice served as president of the Online News Association and is now on the board of directors for the association.
In a press release, David Eun, president of AOL media and studios, calls Dube “[e]qual parts journalist and business strategist,” and says that he is “adept at building online content partnerships and creating exceptional user experiences.”
“At the heart of my passion for journalism is my long-time interest in how technology is transforming the media,” said Dube in the release.
A history major at Wesleyan, he has a master’s degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. An award-winner for his work in new media, Dube has also published in a number of print venues, including The New York Times and the Columbia Journalism Review.
Marysol Castro '96
On Nov. 30, CBS named Marysol Castro ’96 the weather anchor for “The Early Show,” beginning Jan. 3.
This was part of the network’s sweeping change for the show, replacing the entire weekday anchor team of “The Early Show” with their weekend counterparts.
Castro had most recently served as the weather anchor and feature correspondent for the ABC News weekend edition of Good Morning America (2004–2010). In conjunction with studio coverage of the national weather outlook, Castro also reported weather-related stories from the field, including several from New Orleans and Florida, focused around the recent hurricanes.
Additionally, she has also reported on stories unrelated to weather, including ones on undocumented UC Berkeley students for whom deportation loomed, as well as a family whose young daughter suffered severe allergies to a wide variety of common substances.
On television broadcasts she also swam with sharks at a New Jersey aquarium, dove off cliffs in Hawaii, and covered the Academy Awards from the red carpet.
A government major at Wesleyan, she earned her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
Katherine O’Brien ’75
Katherine O’Brien ’75 was promoted to senior vice president and deputy general counsel at New York Life Insurance Company. She is responsible for managing the employment, litigation, ERISA, contracts, intellectual property, corporate transactions and administrative units of the Office of the General Counsel.
Previously, she was first vice president and deputy counsel after serving as the company’s chief diversity officer. She had joined New York Life in 1995 as a litigator, specializing in employment litigation and benefits compliance.
O’Brien earned a J.D. degree from Brooklyn Law School. At Wesleyan, she majored in English.
Sasha Chanoff '94, founder and executive director of Mapendo International.
“Mapendo International’s efforts to rescue and resettle one Darfuri family to the U.S. aired on ABC’s World News with Bob Woodruff (standing in for Diane Sawyer), Sunday, Nov. 21,” writes Sasha Chanoff ’94, founder and executive director of the Boston-based international refugee agency. Mapendo International rescues refugees in life-threatening situations by permanently relocating them to countries where they can rebuild their lives in safety and with dignity.
Earlier this year, David Low ’76 wrote about Chanoff for WesLive, when Chanoff was awarded the Charles Bronfman Prize, which recognizes an individual under the age of 50 who has contributed to the betterment of the world and has been influenced by Jewish values.
Chanoff’s work was also highlighted in the Wesleyan magazine, 2009, issue 3, in the article “Finding the Forgotten Refugees.”
Adrienne Bentman ’74
Adrienne Bentman ’74, M.D., director for the adult psychiatry residency program at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital, received the 2010 Robert Cancro Academic Leadership Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP).
The Cancro award recognizes a professional serving in a leadership role for his or her contributions to the promotion of child and adolescent psychiatry.
At the annual meeting of the AACAP, Bentman presented a talk on her recent work: “The Little Engine That Could; Re-Establishing the Institute of Living’s Residencies.”
Beth Rose ‘84
Beth Rose ’84, P’14, of Sills Cummis and Gross P.C., was recognized as one of the 10 Most Admired Product Liability Attorneys by Law 360: Newswire for Business Lawyers.
Rose, whose specialty is defending pharmaceutical and medical device companies facing product liability and mass tort litigation, has “earned a reputation as a quick thinker and a team player,” according to fellow litigators who nominated her for the title.
A history major at Wesleyan, she received her J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and joined Sills Cummis immediately afterward. Her first case involved defending medical device manufacturer Becton Dickinson & Company in a lawsuit filed by a nurse who pricked her finger on a needle after drawing blood from an HIV-positive patient. The nurse alleged that the design was defective and without proper warnings.
Rose found this first case so intriguing that she began developing expertise in this area, even before legal specialization became common practice.
“What I really love about this type of litigation is that with each new case you have the opportunity to learn about a different product and how it was developed and labeled. It’s really interesting and it never gets boring,” Rose said in the article.
Her fellow Sills Cummis product liability attorney Stuart Feinblatt described her as “aggressive, but in a very diplomatic way. She’s 100 percent committed to the client’s interests but she’s able to interface with opposing counsel in a nice way, which reaches a consensus that’s favorable to the client.”
Peter Durwood ’86 and Grover.
Singer and composer Peter Durwood ’86, who crafts music and sound design for Sesame Workshop digital products, recently created the sound for a Sesame video that has become popular on YouTube.
In it, Grover, the furry blue monster, riffs on the Old Spice web-ads.
“I was an art major at Wes, but an unofficial music minor, particularly enjoying Mark Slobin’s Worlds of Music course, several semesters of African Drumming with Abraham Adzinyah, and Bill Lowe’s remarkable History of African-American Music,” says Durwood.
His album, Peter Durwood, will soon be available on iTunes.
Seth Halpern ’09
Most people don’t become CFO of a national organization just one year out of Wesleyan—as a first job, no less—but Seth Halpern ’09 did just that.
A government major, he moved to Washington D.C. after graduation to look for employment, but the job market was difficult and a month later he was still unemployed. One morning at a local cafe he got to chatting with someone who said he worked at a software start-up, NationalField. Halpern admits that he’s always been “tech savvy” and the two hit it off. From there, he was introduced to the NationalField founders and he accepted a volunteer position with the team. A short time later, the CEO gave Halpern one of the top positions in the organization, formally naming him chief financial officer for NationalField,
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