Wilhelmina Sybenga Cumming, who lived in the House in its very first year, returned after 69 years to attend Elderhostel last summer. She found that some things have changed— the entrance to the Dining Hall is on the south side of the Great Hall instead of the north side and resident rooms for men and women are on the same floor! Yet some things are unchanged— the Great Hall is very much the same and Sunday Suppers are still an important part of the life of the House.

Frances Burks Newman (IH 1937-’37) and Heinz Weber (IH 1938-’39), above, shared memories at the March Lodestar Program for alumni and residents, featuring Alumna of the Year Julianne Cartwright Traylor (IH 1968-’69).

Helen Cox Wright enjoys Thanksgiving with Don Roberts and Mildred Stockton Roberts. They all lived at I-House in 1936 and 1937 and now live in nearby towns in Arizona.

1937, An American Evening


Nancy Binns Reed was recognized in ENCORE, a publication of Opera America as one of twenty composers whose work deserves an encore. She was acknowledged for The Blue Opera. She has also received 21 ASCAP Awards for a broad range of compositions, from chamber music to symphonies.

Lorraine Fletcher Elliott writes, “International House and the people who came with the House while I was there— Mr. Blaisdell, Ms. Carneiro, Mrs. Carlson, Jean Sullivan, plus students like Duna Halldorsdottir from Iceland, Florence Pen Ho from China, Lottie Walterstein and many others gave me a new vision and, certainly, enriched my life. May International House continue to be there for students to learn tolerance and understanding!”

1940’s Spring Festival

Spring Festival 1952

Renata Polt wrote A Thousand Kisses: A Grandmother’s Holocaust Letters, published by University of Alabama Press in 1999. For the book, she translated and edited letters that her grandmother wrote from Prague during the years 1939 to 1942. “My parents, brother, and I had left Czechoslovakia, but my grandmother had decided to ‘wait and see’ until it was too late. The letters show the deteriorating conditions that Jews were forced to live in and how they met these conditions.”

Rene B. Marxheimer, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University, has retired to the Villages, an active adult community in San Jose, CA.

Basil Hoare writes, “International House was, for me, a great and unforgettable experience. I have always been grateful for that year in Berkeley. This led to a career which was certainly international as I spent most of my working life overseas on various rural development projects in more than 20 countries with both bilateral and United Nations agencies.”

After graduate work at MIT, Thomas McCarthy joined Proctor & Gamble for a 30-year career in international product management and environmental affairs in North and South America, Europe, and the Far East. “Since retiring early, I have been very active as an environmental management consultant based in Europe. My current activities are described in my firm’s website:” He lives in Belgium.


Zoe Harris is a teacher and multicultural arts consultant. Her book on Mexican festivals Piñatas and Smiling Skeletons, was published in 1998. It is written for children 8-13 years old and has been used by teachers and librarians to teach about Mexican culture.

Virginia Simson Nelson writes, “I’m still in Ann Arbor on the faculty at the University of Michigan Medical School and would love to hear from other ’64-65 I-House residents!” Terry Maul, a psychology professor at San Bernardino Valley College, will be back in the House this summer to teach an Elderhostel class, Enhancing Health and Memory: Current Research.

L. Dale Sortland and Deena Zonlight Sortland live in Reston, VA. Dale works as a consultant for Acuity Inc., and Deena works with children who are mentally disabled at a local elementary school. She is also the cantoral soloist at the local Reform Synagogue. “Our children, Stefan and Natanya, have ‘flown the coop.’ Stefan went to U.C. Berkeley and stayed out west (smart guy!) to work in the Silicon Valley. Natanya is in Philadelphia to pursue a career as a singer. We hope to move back to California when we retire.”

Nadia Grosser Nagarajan returned to I-House with her husband Naga Nagarajan to speak on the topic of Journey into a Lost World— Jewish Tales from Eastern Europe at a Lodestar dinner program for residents and alumni. Her presentation included favorite stories. She gathered tales from Czech, Slovak, German, Yiddish, Polish, and Hungarian traditions for her book, Jewish Tales from Eastern Europe.

Evening in China, 1965


Marie-Anne Neimat is the founder and Chief Technology Officer of a start-up, TimesTen Performance Software, a leader in the newly emerging in-memory database market. Her husband, Andrei Manoliu, is a senior partner of the Silicon Valley law firm, Cooley Godward LLP, focusing in the legal and business needs of emerging growth companies.

Mahmound Hazem Albakri visited I-House and hopes friends from 1971 will contact him via e-mail at or at P.O. Box 41984, Riyadh 11531, Saudi Arabia.

S. Javaad Ali writes, “After leaving Cal and I-House in 1979, I worked as an architect in the Bay Area until 1987. After that, I moved to Lehore, Pakistan, where I currently live. At present I work as a corporate manager with a group of companies involved in construction, international training, manufacturing, and aviation. I’m married and have two children and look forward to visiting the I-House some day.”

Roblyn Simeon is an associate professor of international business at San Francisco State University. He was the speaker for a Lodestar dinner program at I-House for alumni and residents on the topic of The Changing Work Place in a Global Economy.

Paul Oddoye wrote The Return, an action adventure thriller published by University Editions. Born in Ghana, he now makes his home in the Bay Area and called upon his experiences in both cultures for his book.

Executive Director Sherry Warrick and residents, 1974.

Oona King is a Member of Parliament in England for Bethnal Green and Bow. She advocated for a pardon in the U.S. for her father, Preston King, who left his country four decades ago when his draft board in Georgia, learning that he was black, refused to call him “mister.” Thanks to Oona’s efforts, King received a pardon from President Clinton for a conviction of draft evasion.

Matthais Wolfsen is a project engineer for Schwarting Umbelt GmbH, Environmental Engineering in Flensberg, Germany. He writes, “Thank you for the experiences I was able to have at I-House and UC Berkeley. They have been very helpful on my way through life.”

Michel Lapidus was nominated Deputy Governor of the American Biographical Institute and Honorary Member of the Research Board of Advisors. Two of his books have been published: The Feynman Integral and Feynman’s Operational Calculus (Oxford University Press) and Fractal Geometry and Number Theory (Birkhauser).

Congratulations to two new Berkeley faculty members. Bozidar Stojadinovic is Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering with expertise in earthquake engineering. Lowei Lin is Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Director of the Berkeley Sensor and Actuator Center. His expertise includes microelectro-mechanical systems, design and manufacturing of microsensors and microactuators.

Francesc Robuste is a professor of civil engineering. He and his wife, Melanie Ator, live in Barcelona.

Coffee Hour, 1980


Congratulations to Neil Cruz who recevied a Winston Churchill Scholarship and United Kingdom Overseas Research Student Award to study for a Master’s of Philosophy in Politics at Oxford University (St. Antony’s College) from 1999-2001.

Megan Lyall writes, “I moved to Melbourne recently, re-assessed my life, and decided to return to teaching. I work as a primary school teacher. My school is in a relatively low-income area, with a student body of about 65 percent Asian students. Many of these students are new arrivals, and refugees. The students and staff are wonderful and I am really doing what I love!”

Sharlene Ratcliff is living in London and “putting all that international learning into action! I work for Oracle Corp. in a European marketing role, often working with folk from across the countries. Having fun, and often think of I-House and how those experiences are still invaluable to me now.”

Maurice Brenyah-Addow is a planner with the City of Oakland’s Community & Economic Development Agency.

Sheridan Daniels has been working at Norwich Union in Melbourne, Australia, as an Actuarial Analyst for the past 5 years. “I’m heading off travelling for the next 12 months and would love to catch up with any of my friends from I-House. My plan is India, Europe, and then work in the U.K. I can be contacted at”

Divya Satia writes, “One evening I was studying in the I-House library when, through one of the open windows, I heard a beautiful Indian song being sung. The voice was coming from the laundry room one floor below. I ran downstairs and excitedly introduced myself to the singer, Sujit Sarat. We were married on January 16, 2000, in New Delhi, India. I am a physician currently in a residency program in internal medicine. Sujit is a professor of mechanical engineering at IIT Delhi and recently directed his first film, Bugaboo, a comedy about Indian engineers working in Silicon Valley.”

Congratulations to Divya and Sujit!

The tradition continues, Spring Fest in the 1990’s.