Class Notes: Fall/Winter 2018-19


Gail Kursel ’63 recently gifted two ancient American Indian ax heads to University School. The ax heads can be taken off the wooden mounts and held for closer inspection. The mounts were made by Kursel’s father, Arthur Frank MCDS’29, who built an extensive collection of memorabilia over his lifetime.


Elyse (Erickson) Danckers ’77 was recently featured in Voyage Chicago’s “Chicago’s Most Inspiring Stories,” about her work with Waukegan to College, an organization that helps students prepare to enroll in, and graduate from, college.


Bruce K. Lee ’81 is the founder and chief executive officer – wealth advisor of Keebeck Wealth Management in Chicago. Previously, Lee worked at Merrill Lynch in Chicago as managing director, private wealth manager from 2011 to 2018.

Allison Stephens ’81 is the 2018–19 recipient of the Ammerman Distinguished Teaching Award for Religious & interdisciplinary Studies from Mercersburg Academy. Stephens has taught at Mercersburg since 1989. She has held the Rumbaugh Chair for excellence in teaching since 2011, and is a graduate of Amherst College and Wesleyan University.

Alexander Palermo ’86 was recently awarded the title “Marchigiano al Honorem,” which is awarded to individuals who have made significant contributions to the Marche region of Italy. Palermo is dedicated to the reconstruction of the Italian town of Visso, located in the Marche region, following a devastating earthquake there. Palermo’s company, Pizza Romana, is located in Visso.


Lindsey grady ’91 and friends from the Class of 1991 recently reunited for dinner. From left Lindsey Canonie Grady, Lafayette Crump, Adam Read, and Liz Pagedas.

Molly Lipscomb ’95 was recently featured on NPR’s “Planet Money podcast #855: The Poop Cartel,” about the practice of price-fixing sewage removal in Senegal. Lipscomb is associate professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia.

Benjamin Zeller ’95 worked as an academic consultant on, and was interviewed for, the 10-part “Heaven’s Gate” podcast, which reached number one on Apple’s podcast chart. Zeller is associate professor of religion at Lake Forest College, and author of “Heaven’s Gate: America’s UFO Religion.”

Raj Chetty ’97 has rejoined the Harvard Economics Department as the inaugural William A. Ackman Professor of Economics, after spending three years at Stanford University. Chetty received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 2000, and a Ph.D. in economics in 2003. His research seeks to understand the forces that influence whether ordinary Americans succeed or fail economically. He was also interviewed recently for an episode of NPR’s “Hidden Brain” podcast called “Zipcode Destiny.” 

Andy Housiaux ’97 has been named the next Currie Family Director of the Tang Institute at Phillips Academy. Previously, he was chair of the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department and Tang Fellow. Housiaux holds a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University. He first joined the PA faculty in 2007.

Rami Peltz ’98 welcomed a son, Kai, on June 20, 2018.


Kelly Christiansen ’01 became engaged to Will Wabiszewski in August. They will celebrate their marriage with close family in Sarasota, Florida in March 2019.

Courtney Oldenburg ’03 married James Holacka on June 30, 2018, at Fox Point Lutheran Church in Milwaukee.

JJ Servis ’03 recently completed the requirements needed to earn a Sports Car Club of America full competition license, allowing him to compete in national-level events.

Whitney Rush ’04 married Mark Sirianni on Oct. 13, 2018 at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach, Florida.

Siblings (from left) Frank ’98, Peter ’03, and Paul ’11 Martinez were on hand to watch the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 at the National League Championship Series game three in Los Angeles.

Jonathan Smucker ’04 married Alissa Ratzsch ’06 in Milwaukee on July 13, 2018 at the Pritzlaff. Among those in attendance were (from left) Peter Humphreys-Loving, Spencer Steffes ’22, Nathan Humphreys-Loving ’05, Chloe Steffes, Sarah Schenck ’05, Natasha Misra ’04, Michael Koss ’02, Jourdan Reinhart ’04, Whitney Rush ’04, Lauren Fredrick ’09, Ryan Collopy ’04, Elizabeth Smucker, Ann Hostetler, Charlie Evans ’04, Matthew Slosky ’04, Elizabeth Evans ’98, and Neil Gandhi ’05. Jon and Alissa live in Milwaukee.

Will Bartlett ’06 and his wife, Heidi Pangborn Bartlett, welcomed their first child, Henry Thatcher Bartlett, on Oct. 15, 2018.

Micaela White ’06 is engaged to Pat Bomhack.

Cristina Costantini ’07 visited University School in October, where she shared select clips of her award-winning documentary film “Science Fair,” which premiered at the Milwaukee Film Festival that same weekend. “With this film, we wanted to show kids taking up the mantle of science and taking up this important fight in the face of many global challenges,” said Costantini. She was joined by her co-director Darren Foster. In addition, Costantini married Alfie Koetter in Tuscany in 2017. They currently live in Los Angeles with their pug, Harriet.

Chanen Michel ’07 married Matthew Lively on Sept., 23, 2017 in Dallas, where they both reside. Michel is a practicing attorney.

Doug Schadewald ’07 accepted a position with the options trading team at Jane Street, and became engaged while on safari in South Africa.

Grace Stratton ’07 married Peter Kolinski on July 28, 2018 at the Milwaukee Country Club.

Elizabeth Lucas ’08 married Mark Armstrong on June 9, 2018 in New York.

Henry Stewart ’08 is co-founder of Uniform Teeth, a tech-enabled orthodontic company that uses clear aligners to straighten teeth.

Jack Wigdale ’08 married Hannah Sugars on Aug. 18, 2018 in Milwaukee.

Maxwell Wernecke ’09 married Karina Francesca Manalo on May 27, 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum. The couple resides in Evanston, Illinois, where Wernecke is attending the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Manalo works as a software developer at McMaster-Carr in Elmhurst, Illinois, and recently started in the Kellogg program as well.

John Machulak ’09 married Courtney Van Maanen on June 23, 2018, at North Point Lighthouse in Milwaukee with the groom’s father officiating.


Elise Burns ’10 married Bryan Ferguson on Oct. 6, 2018 in Milwaukee.

Nick Segel ’11 currently serves as the dive safety officer for the School for Field Studies in Turks and Caicos. He is responsible for coordinating and implementing safe diving and snorkeling procedures for students in addition to teaching them how to scuba dive in an eco-friendly way. Pictured (from left) is Nick ’11, Holly ’73, and Ian Segel ’14.

Joshua Baker ’12 became engaged to Katy Bjurstrom ’12 in May 2018.

Annie Reardon ’13 is a cast member on the 23rd season of “The Bachelor,” the long-running ABC reality show, which premiers in January 2019.

Nabeel Quryshi ’18 was named a candidate for the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in healthcare.

Alumna Designs New Outdoor Classroom

There’s a new classroom for Preschool and Lower School students—but it doesn’t have books, desks, or even walls. In fact, it’s not a room at all, but rather an outdoor education space adjacent to the Preschool playground. It is the vision of Prekindergarten Teacher Jennifer Keppler and 7th Grade Science Teacher Kip Jacobs ’74, co-chairs of the Outdoor Education Committee at USM, and was supported by USM’s Parents’ Association. It was designed by landscape architect Kareth Tuttle Servis ’72. “I was initially approached by Kip, who is an old friend of mine, to design the space,” said Servis, “but both Kip and Jen had a lot of ideas for what they wanted the space to be.”

Kareth Tuttle Servis ’72 (left) attended a fall festival in October and officially opened the new outdoor classroom.

Servis designed different learning areas within the classroom, including a dry stream that fills with water when it rains; a bridge and log stepping stones to cross the stream; and a teaching area surrounded by stone benches. She also designed an area with a stage and wooden benches, and a small berm for children to roll and sled down. “We planted a lot of different native and non-native perennials, shrubs, and trees with the idea that there will be interesting plants growing all year long,” said Servis. “We went with plants that the kids would appreciate, like Lamb’s Ears that have soft, fuzzy leaves, and Trumpet Vines that attract hummingbirds. In the spring we’ll plant willow twigs that can be shaped into a hut as they grow.” The space enhances USM’s outdoor education initiative, which has grown thanks to ongoing support from the Storer Foundation and the Crysdahl Foundation.

Servis ’72 created the above landscape design plan for the outdoor classroom, which features a variety of native and non-native perennials, shrubs, and trees that will grow all year long.

Preschool teachers hosted a fall festival in October to officially open the space, and Servis was on hand to participate in the excitement. “I do a lot of landscape design, but I’ve never designed an outdoor classroom, so this was really fun for me,” she said.

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