FEBRUARY 2016

Celebrating our alumni couples


This month, many of you took time to remember how you met your sweetheart and how life is so much better because of his or her presence in your life. Binghamton University has about 5,000 alumni couples, and in this month's Alumni Connect, we celebrate our graduates who found their sweethearts at Binghamton. The narratives you're about to read come from couples who responded to our calls for stories. Want to share yours? Please do so on our Facebook page.


Jon Rossie '57 and Ann “Kelli” (Hanson) Rossie '57
Lloyd Dent '61 and Doris (Gaskill) Dent '62
Edwin S. Segal '62 and Marcia (Texler) Segal '61
Aaron Jeffrey Fuchs ’66 & Patricia (Ferrara) Fuchs ’66
Sherry Stokes-Williams '68 and Neil Wilensky Williams '67
Scott Leaderman '67 and Elizabeth (Fink) Leaderman '68
Sam Zeveloff '72 and Linda (Kass) Zeveloff '72
Howie Kallem '73 and Susan (Shelmandine) Kallem '73
Phil Teplitzky '70, MS '76 and Harriet (Grossman) Teplitzky '73
Katherine Karlson '74 and Edward L. Ware, MS '81
Carrie (Masze) Pollack '80 and Jordan Pollack '78
Lois (Alter) Mark '80 and Michael Mark '79, MA '81
Lori Dean Chironno '80 and Joe Chironno '79, MS '81
Wendy (Weissmann) Czajak '80 and Tom Czajak '80
Jay Matuk '81 and Judy Pickoff Matuk '81
Rachel (Lapsker) Epstein '89 and Dr. Geoff "Gerrry" Epstein '89
Jon Shapiro '89 and Melany (Abramowitz) Shapiro '90
Megan (Farley) Frone '08 and Zach Frone '07
Adam Berkowitz '91 and Lisa (Dukat) Berkowitz '92
Mara (Goltsman) Olshanitsky '94 and Russell Olshanitsky '93
Trevor Stone '07 and Gina Romanelli '04, MAT '05
Jeremy Weiss '07 and Farrah Silverstein '06
Ani (Lucia) Lipitz, MS '10 and Bradley Lipitz '09, MS '10

 

Jon and Ann Rossie

Jon Rossie '57 and Ann “Kelli” Hanson '57 met in a history class in 1955 at Harpur College in Endicott. Jon, like most of our classmates, commuted from his parents’ home in Binghamton; Kelli came from Manlius and lived in the first “dormitory” for women that Harpur had — a converted residence one block from Colonial Hall that held nine women and a housemother. We graduated in 1957, with our 70 (or so) classmates. We married in 1958 and, to our amazement, we are still together!

At Harpur, we learned to think and to write. We weren’t lacking in culture there; current celebrities were brought in by the college. Some we recall were Dave Brubeck and Benny Goodman, and a Shakespeare company. Jon went on to the University of Wisconsin where he earned a PhD, then taught American and Canadian history at Butler University and then St. Lawrence University, retiring after 37 years. Kelli’s bachelor's degree from Harpur helped her to get into government service with a really good salary and benefits. We have raised three children, all of whom have multiple degrees and hold professional jobs. For anyone who was born in the 1930s and 1940s this was a typical trajectory for college graduates. We wish that it was still the case for current students! We have fond memories of our years at Harpur and we take pride in being part of the institution that became SUNY Binghamton, and now Binghamton University. We are gratified that our college was recently recognized by Binghamton University as a heritage institution by naming the liberal arts program Harpur College of Arts and Sciences.

 

 

My wife, Doris (Gaskill) Dent, and I (Lloyd Dent) graduated in 1961. Classes had been moved from the (ahem) cozy quarters jerry-rigged in repurposed Quonset huts, a large colonial house and carriage house in Endicott. Only a few buildings on the new campus had been completed, and between them were muddy (no lawns yet) fields traversed by narrow boardwalks. I attended Methodist Student Fellowship meetings held at the First Methodist Church in Endicott. Coach Frank Pollard would give me a ride every Sunday so that I could attend both the fellowship meeting as well as the Sunday school services that he taught. It was there that we met.
We married in September of our senior year, motivated perhaps in part by the prohibition of PDA (public displays of affection) on campus. The dean had threatened to suspend us after he saw us in a spontaneous kiss on a boardwalk beneath his window. We celebrated our 55th wedding anniversary last year.

 

 

Edwin S. Segal '62 and Marcia Texler Segal '61
There are really two stories here — hers and mine. As a first year student at Harpur (1958-59), I went through a year being unattached. I lived in town and had a roommate who was sports editor for The Colonial News. He was also a former Boy Scout and invited me to join the local chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. I joined (undergoing a remarkably benign hazing).  Coming from a relatively isolated family, this was all new and exhilarating. In one shot, I had a group of friends and places to go with them. 

Then, one afternoon, my roommate introduced me to a friend of his, who happened to be the paper’s managing editor. At the same time, I had begun to become interested in helping found a literary magazine (now defunct) and became the poetry editor. She was interesting and had interests compatible with those I was developing, and so we started dating, but of course, I was not sure what that was all about. Everything wasn’t always smooth, but our basic attraction held. And, now more than 50 years later, it still holds, and our two careers have taken us around the world and provided time and space (not always enough) for two children and three grandchildren. 

 

 

Aaron and Patricia Fuchs

Aaron Jeffrey Fuchs ’66 and Patricia (Ferrara) Fuchs ’66
Standing in the middle of a crowded dining hall, at Harpur College, under bowl cut, Beatles like bangs, his bright green, almond shaped eyes peered across the room. I noticed him and our eyes locked. I was a freshman, he a sophomore. We shared an art history class, the Philosophy 101 class and multiple Dionysion cocktail parties. Although he came to the basketball games, he said it was only to watch me as a cheerleader. We became good friends. After he gave the graduation speech as president of the class in June of 1966, our parents met and we all knew that Aaron and I were more than just “friends.”

Married in December 1966, we went on to multiple graduate degrees, my training as a ceramic artist, his time in the Air Force, two children, and now three grandchildren. We have lived on an island off of North Carolina, on a 35-acre farm in the hills of West Virginia, and in a post-and-beam barn of our creation on 10 acres in Vermont. We experienced the Hamptons as marina owners and lived there for over 20 years. Although we loved the rural life best, we lived in Miami, Boston and unfortunately, in New York City during the attacks of Sept. 11. Now on a small island off the coast of Maine for the last 14 years, we share our love of Maine with anyone who visits us.

Harpur was the beginning of our intellectual life as well as our life as a couple. This December we will celebrate having navigated marital waters for 50 years and have managed through our friendship to value each others strengths, not dwell on the weaknesses and occasionally remember to take turns as captain of the ship.

 

 

Neil and Sherry Williams

Neil Wilensky Williams and I (Sherry Stokes-Williams '68) celebrated our 47th wedding anniversary last August, and if one counts the three years we dated at Harpur, that comes to 50 years of being each other’s best friend.

When I look at Neil, I still see the young captain of the basketball team who walked me home to my Endicott dorm one autumn night on our way up the hill from the women’s gym where we both had practiced our sport. I thought he looked like Gil Favor of the TV show Rawhide. You know, the show that made Clint Eastwood famous in his role as Rowdy.  

For his part, Neil thought I looked good doing cartwheels as captain of the cheerleaders. It was a match made in heaven. The only thing that changed over the years was our last name, from Wilensky to Williams.

Tony Kornheiser, Neil’s friend and my 1968 classmate, wrote about us in his athletics column for The Colonial News before he went on to bigger and better sports journalism and superstardom on ESPN's Pardon the Interruption. Hi, Tony!

 

 

Scott Leaderman '67
It was the first day of spring semester 1964. I had just experienced an academic nightmare at Harpur devoid of any social life whatsoever. So, on the morning of that first day, I awoke and vowed to ask the first girl I met out. That girl was Elizabeth Fink '68 (a last name I really didn't believe). We have now been together for 52 years, with two children and three grandchildren. It was without a doubt my most enduring achievement at Harpur.

 

Sam and Linda Zeveloff

Sam Zeveloff '72 and Linda (Kass) Zeveloff '72
We met as juniors in an art history class on the Northern Renaissance but didn't start dating until about a year later when we were both in a class on 19th-century European art. It thus took approximately 400 years until she agreed to go out with me! Shortly after, we graduated with bachelor's degrees in 1972, and married a year later. We now live in Ogden, Utah, where Linda is a retired elementary school teacher and I'm a professor of zoology at Weber State University. We have three daughters, and a one-year-old grandson Noah, who is hoping for a full scholarship at Binghamton. 

 

Howie and Susan Kallem

Howie Kallem '73 and Susan (Shelmandine) Kallem '73
We met in 1969, at an international folk dance workshop during orientation. I was a wild-haired kid from downstate and she was from a small conservative town upstate. She thought I was pushy (she was right) and it took me two months to convince her to be more than just friends. We went to an anti-war march in Washington in November. We stayed at a temple — the men upstairs and the women downstairs; we had our first kiss on the stairs as we said goodnight. We're about to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary — three kids, four dogs, several jobs, good times and bad times later, we couldn't be happier!

 

Phil and Harriet Teplitzky

Phil Teplitzky '70, MS '76 and Harriet (Grossman) Teplitzky '73
What do the Pharaoh, the 1980 New York City transit strike and the famous clock in the Biltmore Hotel have in common? They are threads in the story of how we met at Harpur College in 1969, and subsequently became an alumni couple.

Let’s begin with the Pharaoh. Both Phil and I were enrolled in Professor Gerald Kadish’s Ancient Egyptian history class. We knew each other very briefly by then, because Phil’s housemate was the older brother of my friend from the third floor of Cleveland Hall. However, meeting regularly in Professor Kadish’s class brought us into contact throughout the semester, and, by the decline of Egyptian civilization, Phil and I developed a “relationship.” However, it did not last! In 1973, I graduated and went off to Boston University for graduate school. Phil entered the School of Advanced Technology now known as the Watson School.

Enter the 1980 New York City transit strike! While visiting my parents in Yonkers, I received a letter from Phil saying that he had been asking about me with some Harpur friends. He was living in Manhattan and I should call if I was around. I called. We decided to meet. But, the city was crippled by the transit strike! There was no way to get around except Metro-North, which was then called New York Central. So I took the railroad to Grand Central Station. Phil walked from West 84th Street to Grand Central and – you guessed it – we met under the clock in the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel, which was connected to Grand Central Station. Following this first “date,” we had a few years of commuting back and forth from Boston until in 1982, I moved to New York and we got married. The Biltmore is gone. Professor Kadish retired after 50 years as a faculty member. Phil and I have been married for 34 years.

 

 

Katherine Karlson '74 and Edward L. Ware, MS '81
Katherine Karlson and Edward WareThe odds were stacked against us to have crossed paths in those few months in 1974 when we were both on campus, as we pursued different degrees (BA vs. MS) on opposite class schedules (day vs. night). It was the inaugural alumni tour to Egypt in 1987, led by one of my favorite professors, Gerald Kadish, which introduced us as traveling companions. As much as the moonlight on the Nile or the grandeur of the Temple at Karnak might have set an ideal scene for romance, it was the joy of exploring these wonders together and sharing ideas about them that gave this happy marriage of now 25 years its magical start. It’s why we had a marzipan sphinx and a pyramid on the wedding cake.

 

Jordan and Carrie Pollack

Carrie Masze Pollack '80 and Jordan Pollack '78 met in the usual way, on the shuttle back to campus from Vestal Plaza. Later, we lived in the same building in College-in-the-Woods, and had some mutual friends (Rose, Jay, Hildy, Joan, etc.) who pushed us closer together, even as we moved off campus. Married for 38 years, moving through Owego, Urbana, Ill., Las Cruces, N.M., and Columbus, Ohio before settling in the Boston area, our children are 28 and 23. Jordan is professor and chair of a computer science department, and Carrie owns a vintage clothing store and writes poetry.

 


Lois and Michael Mark

Michael Mark '79, MA '81 and I (Lois Alter Mark ’80) met when we took the same ride home to Queens one weekend in fall 1977. Everyone in the car fell asleep until I woke up screaming because I felt something in my hair. Michael turned around and quietly took care of what seemed to me to be a monster. It was a moth. We discovered we were in the same literature class and he asked to borrow my Monarch Notes (don’t judge). When he returned them, he asked me to go to The Pub. This happened a number of times and I kept turning him down because I thought he was just trying to be nice. We finally went on our first date during winter break and have been together ever since. Almost 40 years later, Michael is a poet who’s been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, and he wrote a poem about “Cupid disguised as a moth.” Neither of us need Monarch Notes to understand that symbolism.

 

Lori and Joe Chironno

Lori Dean Chironno '80 and Joe Chironno '79, MS '81
It was the end of orientation week, August 1977. The era of rock vs. disco, Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars. I was a second-semester sophomore transfer in Oneida Hall. I met everyone on the floor except the occupants of the six-man suite on our floor. They were the last to arrive but the first to throw a party the weekend before classes began. I met Joe that night. During our time at SUNY-B, we became RAs, shared all our meals in the dining hall, Thursday night pizzas in the Pub, walks in the Nature Preserve, days at Lake Empire and Pat Mitchell's ice cream. We have two great sons and will celebrate our 36th anniversary this year.

 

Tom and Wendy Czajak
Wendy (Weissmann) Czajak '80 and Tom Czajak '80
Meeting that special someone was not on our lists when we crossed the threshold of Champlain Hall in August 1976. I was assigned to a triple on first floor East. He was assigned to a triple that quickly became a double on first floor North. I was in the School of Nursing; he was a political science major. I was from a small town; he was from a city. Our paths would have probably crossed anyway but our RAs were insistent that the first floors “get to know one another.” So, off to the party we went. (Separately, of course). Remember, in 1976, it was okay to have a few kegs at any dorm gathering and it was at one of those kegs that we met. His opening line? “My name is Thomas Edward Czajak, Jr. I am from East Syracuse, N.Y., and I have never met a girl who can drink beer like you can!” Needless to say, it took a little while (and a few more beers over the course of our freshman year) for me to warm up to him, but, we have pretty much been together, with a few bumps along the way, ever since.

 

Jay and Judy Matuk

Jay Matuk '81 and Judy Pickoff Matuk '81
My wife tells the story that she first noticed me walking through the Newing Dining Hall in February of 1979 and that I was the "cute new guy." She was living in Bingham Hall and I was in Endicott, having just secured a room after living for a semester at the Colonial Inn. However, we did not go on our first date until October, which consisted of seeing The Who's The Kids Are Alright film at the Oakdale Mall Cinema followed by refreshments at the Campus Pub in the Student Union. I tell my wife today that, even back then, we were living the high life. We were married in August 1984, and have three children, Katie (29 years old), Zach (24) and Paige (20). We celebrated our 31st wedding anniversary last August.

 

 

Rachel and Geoff Epstein

Dr. Geoff "Gerrry" Epstein '89 and I (Rachel Lapsker Epstein '89), met in Spanish class our freshman year in the spring of 1986. He was from Oceanside, N.Y., and was pledging the TAU fraternity and I was from Brooklyn and pledging the SDT sorority. He needed a date for an upcoming fraternity event at that time, so he asked me out on a first date on Valentine's Day 1986. We were married in 1992, now live in Manhasset, N.Y., and have three beautiful girls, Stephanie, Debbie and Ashley. Stephanie is now a junior at Binghamton and Debbie is a freshman there as well. Time goes by so fast!

 

 

Jon and Melany Shapiro

On Aug. 21, 1986, I (Jon Shapiro '89) was a 17-year-old freshman in a mandatory Newing dorm meeting which nearly everyone skipped. In walked a beautiful redhead holding her head and apologizing, "Sorry I'm late, I just got hit in the head with a steel beam." Apparently, a gate used to protect the precious food at the dining hall had been improperly secured. A few hours later, I used the world's worst and, retrospectively, best pickup line, "Aren't you the girl who got hit in the head with a steel beam?" Melany Abramowitz '90 and I have rarely been apart during the 30 years since. She still gets in trouble and I still say dumb things. We live in Pismo Beach, Calif., with two charming teenagers and two obnoxious dogs (or vice-versa). We run our own business and walk to the beach daily. We loved our years at SUNY Binghamton (as it was called). They formed the basis for our professional and, far more importantly, personal lives.


Megan and Zach Frone
Megan Farley Frone '08 and Zach Frone '07
We met my second day of freshman year when I (Megan) heard from a girl in my dorm that, "some sophomore guy was building a rock wall in his dorm room." Sure enough, he was! Our first date was hiking the Nature Preserve. We were on the Binghamton club sports crew team together and built another rock climbing wall my junior year (his senior) in Zach's rental house room on Chestnut Street in Binghamton. We've been together ever since and got married last year after 10 years together (our honeymoon was hiking and climbing, of course!). Zach was a geology major and recently got his PhD in geophysics. I was a cell and molecular biology major with a minor in classical civilizations, got my master's in clinical genetic counseling, and have been a cancer genetic counselor ever since. We were in Dallas for the past five years while Zach got his degree but have recently moved back to the East Coast where we can happily hike and rock climb every week.

 



I (Adam Berkowitz '91) met my wife Lisa (Dukat) Berkowitz '92 on Senior Night at the Campus Pub. It was Tuesday, Feb. 5, 1991. I was a senior while Lisa was a junior. She wore a green elf-like outfit and had the '80's "big hair" that added a few inches to her curvaceous 5'2" frame. I was strapping in a yellow SAE sweatshirt with white shorts and high-top sneakers. Lisa had been very reluctant to meet anyone new after recently have broken up with her boyfriend.

While I had a few adult beverages that evening (I was legal —having turned 21 in August), I recall writing down her name before I went to sleep that night so I would not forget her name. In those days, you needed a printed directory to find a phone number. In the morning, while a bit hungover, I managed to find her phone number and then proceeded to call her for our first real date. Lisa was completely sober (she doesn't drink) and "interviewed" me that evening at the Pub. I guess I passed the interview.

We were introduced by a mutual friend and fellow graduate Nancy (Myers) Prunty, who went on to become a Reconstructionist Rabbi and Nancy read a special prayer at our wedding on Sept. 3, 1995. We've been married more than 20 years and have three beautiful children, Joshua (14 years old), Ari and Becky (11).

 

 

Mara and Russell Goltsman

Mara (Goltsman) Olshanitsky '94 and Russell Olshanitsky '93
We had mutual friends and knew each other in college. We even lived in the same residence hall one year (Johnson) and were in one class together (astronomy, we both passed) but we were never friends. His friend married my friend so we would see each other on occasion after graduation. But it was that fateful weekend away upstate with a group of friends in July 1996 that set the wheels in motion. We carpooled to and from the trip and I guess we really hit it off because a week or so later, he called me to ask me out on a date (that’s how people did it in the '90s). We were married on Jan. 18, 2003, and we have two kids, Rebecca (12 years old) and Daniel (10).

 

Trevor and Gina Stone

Gina Romanelli '04, MAT '05 and I (Trevor Stone '07) met in late spring 2004 when she was a senior lacrosse player and I was a freshman on the swim team. We were volunteering at the Special Olympics with a group of student athletes, but having just met, we barely spoke that day. (To this day, we wonder how we never noticed each other earlier that year wandering the halls of the West Gym.) In the days that followed, I attended my first lacrosse game and made sure I was invited to her team’s annual “date night” at Sports Bar. Again, we didn’t speak much that night, but I will always remember how beautiful she looked in her dress. The following weekend, I finally made an impression by holding my own in a game of flip cup with her 10 Cedar St. housemates at the Rathskellar! Fast forward six years — we got engaged in San Francisco where we were living at the time, then married in Port Washington, N.Y. Another six years later, and I’ve shed my townie roots for a home on Long Island and we are loving life with our 15-month old son, Ethan – a Bearcat in training.

 

 

Jeremy Weiss '07 and Farrah Silverstein '06
Jeremy and Farrah WeissNot many people can say that they met the love of their life on the very first day of college. Fortunately, I can. In late August 2003, Farrah and her roommate walked past my room on the second floor of Old Endicott Hall. They kindly introduced themselves and asked if I would be interested in going to the Newing Dining Hall for dinner. Due to other relationships, Farrah and I did not start dating immediately and our visits became sparser. In January 2007, Farrah and I met each other again randomly while on a cruise in the Caribbean. Farrah was with her family and I was on a winter break trip with some friends. Farrah and I have now been married for more than five years. We currently live in Boynton Beach, Fla., with our two amazing sons Jackson (3 years old) and Dylan (1). Without Binghamton University, none of this would have been possible. Our family will be forever grateful. Go Bearcats!

 

Ani and Bradley Lipitz

Ani (Lucia) Lipitz, MS '10 and Bradley Lipitz '09, MS '10
Our story ​starts out like any other Binghamton tale of love: boy tries to hit on girl at Tom & Marty's, girl says get lost and returns to her friends.

We were downtown at the birthday party for my cousin, Christina Muscatello '08, and each of us had been voted a designated driver for the night. I was a New Age, proto-hippie junior at Ithaca College and had trekked home for the weekend to celebrate. Bradley was a philosopher friend of Christina's. As the night raged on, and everyone else slowly lost their ability to engage in intelligible conversation, I reconsidered my earlier attitude toward him and we started talking. It turned out we were both serious spiritual seekers, and we spent until the early hours of dawn comparing notes and reading lists.

A few weeks later, I was home again in Binghamton for spring break. Bradley caught wind of this via my cousin, and invited me to a study session on Jewish mysticism at the campus Chabad House, which he'd very recently started attending. I eagerly accepted his invitation, Jewish mysticism being the one spiritual discipline in which I had yet to dabble. It ended up changing our lives.

I soon started coming to Binghamton weekly to learn at Chabad and participate in the beautiful Shabbat services and dinners with Bradley. The more we delved into Jewish philosophy, spirituality and practice, the more committed we each became to living a Torah lifestyle. When I graduated from Ithaca and came to Binghamton for graduate school, I was less-than-half-joking when I told people it was because of the rabbi and not because of Bradley.

We finished our graduate degrees in May 2010, got engaged in the Nature Preserve, and were married a few months later in October, with a whole crew of Bearcats present. Today, we live in Monsey, N.Y., with our two sons, Dovi and Mendel, and visit Binghamton every couple months. We usually make a stop at the Fleishman Center to visit my mother, Laura O'Neill, MA '08, who works there. So If you see a Hassidic couple with two adorable kids in tow hanging out in the career center, it's probably us!

 

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Last Updated: 9/26/16