March 1, 2005

Welcome to the second issue of the Columbia College Class of 1963 eNewsletter. Thanks to your response to the first edition (sure to become a collector's item) we've got lots of news to pass on. As an experiment, I am including a sampling of news that I have received during the last month, just as I received it. Because of space restraints in Columbia College Today, I will be unable to include all of these in the next (May) issue, and they will be skillfully edited down.

But first, congratulations go to Bob Kraft and the birth of the Patriot Dynasty. I'm sure your classmates, even us die-hard Giants fans join in offering you three cheers on your team's victory. It is truly an outstanding accomplishment. You must be understandably proud of your fine New England Patriots organization.

Table of Contents:

Next Second Thursday Lunch - March 10

Columbia University Club of New York

Every Second Thursday, 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Columbia College Club - 15 West 43rd Street, NYC

Please join your classmates for an informal lunch at the Columbia Club every second Thursday of the month. It is our hope that these gatherings will renew old friendships and foster improved relationship with our class and the College. The next lunch will be on March 10, 2005.

February Lunch Great Success

The third Second Saturday Class of 1963 lunch brought 9 of our classmates back together on February 10. The group had a terrific time exchanging brief descriptions of where life has taken them. You will read it here and in Columbia College Today (CCT) as soon as I have time to confirm some of the fascinating details. We also got into interesting discussions about:

  • the latest stories about the Middle East Institute, and our reactions
  • faculty members/courses that have made a lasting impression on us
  • about how young and handsome we all looked

In attendance were:

Steve Barcan
Gil Einstein
Bill Goebel
Doron Gopstein
Paul Neshamkin
Larry Neuman
Phil Satow
Frank Sypher
Jeff Thompson


(From left to right) Phil Satow, Doron Gopstein, Paul Neshamkin, Steve Barcan, L. Neuman, Bill Goebel, Frank Sypher, Jeff Thompson, Gil Einstein

Please add your presence at the next lunch on Thursday, March 10, so that we can again see some new faces. Please let me know if you will attend so that we can reserve a big enough table; RSVP to Paul Neshamkin (

For information and inquiries call Paul Neshamkin at 201-714-4881 or email at

Latest News from the Class of 63

The initial eNewsletter received responses from over 40 of our classmates (it also bounced at about 150 bad email addresses). Here are a selection of notes that were included. In addition, I received a 21 page curriculum vitae, which the author promises to summarize in a paragraph (actually he has led such an interesting life that I think several paragraphs might be in order).

Sherwood R. Spelke
I am still practicing law in my home town of Stamford, CT. I was an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City for a number of years. I have five grandchildren which is mind boggling for an only child. My two children live in New Hampshire and Maine so I don't get to see them as much as I would like to. I hope to see you soon.

Andrew Lewin
OK you finally shamed me into writing. I'm really impressed with the effort you've made to keep our class together. Being here on the left coast it's just not the same as being in NYC. I keep in touch regularly with about six classmates (thank God for e-mail) and I just finished writing-up eight ARC interviews.

I am full time independent clinical investigator. I did this part time until I retired from my private practice ~10 years ago. This means I do research with new drugs. I work with large pharmaceutical companies but are not employed by them. My areas of expertise are in high blood pressure, diabetes and lipids. There are really some exciting products in the pipeline now. Maybe they will be out in time for us to take advantage of them.

On the home front, I have a 33 year old son by my first marriage, and a 15 year old son and a 11 year old daughter in my second marriage. We went to Israel two years ago for my son's Bar Mitzvah and are looking forward to going again in June for my daughter's Bat Mitzvah (also my wife's).

I am working long hours and enjoying it very much (thank God). I have no desire/ability/interest in retiring. If I'm ever in NYC on the second Thursday of the month I'll try to make your luncheon.

Mark Koppel
After 36 years of teaching Psychology at Montclair State University (including 4 years as Chair), I have retired. My plan for the Spring includes several visits to Florida to enjoy the warmth and sunshine.

My Domestic Partner of 32 years, Barry Brandes is a singer in the Chorus of the Metropolitan Opera. After his retirement, we plan to spend each winter in some warm place .Currently, we're living on West 79th St and have a weekend place in Northern Westchester.Over all, it's been a great life since Columbia.

Harley Frankel
I am running a non-profit organization called College Match that helps high achieving, low-income minority students (from Watts and East Los Angeles) to get into great colleges like Columbia. We provide 100 hours of SAT Prep, take them to visit 20-25 schools around the country, help them with their applications, essays, and financial aid forms, mentor them for two years, train them to take college admissions interviews, and help them select the colleges to which they will apply.

In short, we do for them what most of us did for our kids AND what the best private high schools do for their students. We also help them get full financial aid packages.

We recently helped a young Latino girl get into Yale. She is probably the first kid ever from her high school to go to Yale. We currently are serving 90 students on an individualized basis.

If you want to learn more, go to

Alexis Levitin
Were you on the rowing team back in '62 and '63? I certainly remember your name. I was a lousy rower who didn't make the first boat, but I had a lot of fun.

Anyway, I rarely send news, but I am always interested in the fate of my former classmates. It is a pity I have allowed that whole world to drift almost out of sight.

For class notes, I am edging toward semi-retirement as an English Professor after 38 years of teaching.But as a translator of Portuguese poetry, I am still going strong. My most recent books are: Forbidden Words: Selected Poetry of Eugenio de Andrade (New Directions, 2003), Guernica and Other Poems by Carlos de Oliveira (Guernica Editions, 2004), and Whence Cometh the Name Portugal (ASA Editores, Portugal, 2004). I am presently working on collections by two other contemporary Portuguese poets under an NEA Translation fellowship. My son, Michael, is 28 and lives in Berlin. My daughter, Christine, is 18 and applying to colleges in New York City.

Though my body is slowly breaking down, I did manage to become a 46er (climber of all 46 high peaks over 4000 feet in the Adirondacks) quite some time ago. I still do downhill skiing and cross-country as often as possible. Living up here in the Northern Tier (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) makes it relatively easy.

Ira Epstein
Nice to hear from you. Does anybody want to part with a 1963 class ring?

Frank Sommer
SearchStars is a recruiting, or "executive search" firm. I've been a headhunter since 1980. After 2 years active duty in the Navy (63-65) I went back to Columbia business school, got my MBA, and in 67 was hired by GE and sent to a place called Binghamton, where they had a large aerospace business (3300 employees at peak). I progressed thru HR Director and left in 1979 to start my own business and escape the corporate grind and politics. I'm still in Binghamton. (Now I have a different kind of grind, called survival....but it's fun). I have three daughters and one step-daughter who are all in different parts of the country, and three Atlanta and Wisconsin.

I remember Geoff Thompson well. Please say hello to him for me! The lunches sound like a great idea and I'd like to make one someday. We're about 4 hours from the big city. (I used to drive in NYC like a maniacal taxi driver. Now the traffic scares me).

By the way, Phil Satow and I overlapped for a short period in the Navy, we were both junior officers on the carrier USS Wasp in Boston. He certainly has done great things. If you ever bump into him, say hi for me.

John Ake
Thanks for the eNewsletter and your efforts on it. Unfortunately, I'm generally unable to get to NYC for the Class lunches. I am currently a Partner in the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP, and primarily engaged in representing mutual funds, institutional investment advisers and hedge funds. I've been here over 15 years, after having previously worked at the SEC, been a lobbyist in Washington DC and a corporate executive in Houston, TX; so you can see that I gotten around after my years on Morningside Heights. I edit/author a couple of legal books on the mutual fund industry along with chairing/speaking at various industry conferences. Because of my Columbia experience I'm in a reading group with other College alumni in classical Greek literature, and I'm an active member of the Philadelphia Shakespeare Society (the world's second oldest Shakespeare Society). Living in Philadelphia, the Home of the "Iggles", I watched with mixed emotions Bob Kraft celebrate the Patriots' Superbowl victory.

Share your news and views with your classmates. Contact your Class Correspondent, and let him know what you would like posted here or in Columbia College Today (CCT).

For information and inquiries call Paul Neshamkin at 201-714-4881 or email at


Mini-Reunion this Fall

Why wait 5 years? Let's get together in New York City in October!

Although several of you thought a Class of 1963 mini-reunion would be perfect on April 1, we felt we didn't have enough time to pull it off. How about centering events around the Homecoming Game on October 15? Perhaps lunch with your classmates on Friday, the 14th, some socializing in the eevneing. Then on Saturday, we can get together at the Homecoming tent in the morning at Baker Field, and then watch Columbia beat Penn at the Homecoming game that afternoon. Thoughts? Comments? Suggestions?

For information and inquiries call Paul Neshamkin at 201-714-4881 or email at