Newsletter for Retired Faculty and Staff: A Work in Progress by Joe Sgammato

The January 2013 edition of Ink-Link, a newsletter distributed for years to WCC retirees. An effort is underway to revive the publication. Image provided by Barbara Christesen.

In 2021, about-to-be-retired psychology professor Sheldon Malev told the college’s Board of Trustees that WCC ought to have a newsletter for retired members of the faculty and staff. He was thinking of the many employees who had spent decades working for the college and now found themselves cut off from the institution to which they had basically dedicated their lives. Malev himself had spent a half century at WCC.

Attending the BOT meeting was the newly appointed president of the WCC Foundation, Dolores Swirin-Yao, who listened to Malev’s plea with great interest. Always on the lookout for new sources of funding for the student scholarships regularly distributed by the Foundation, Swirin-Yao found the proposal a way to connect with a population with a built-in interest in Westchester Community College, its students, and its legacy.

She called a meeting to discuss the possibilities. Malev was in attendance, as were John and Clare Ahern, long-time members of the WCC community—John as a professor of French and ESL and Clare in various leadership roles as an active volunteer at the college. Also attending were Michelle Schleibaum, director of alumni relations, and myself. I had volunteered to edit the proposed publication.

It turned out it was not a new idea. A newsletter called InkLink (the name was coined by John Ahern) was published by the Foundation for a number of years. Ink-Link was edited by Foundation employee Barbara Christesen; Ahern was a frequent contributor. It ceased publication when a re-shuffle at the Foundation led to Christesen’s retirement.

The question was raised: Should we revive Ink-Link? The answer was an enthusiastic “Yes.”

As the editor, I first set about looking for retirees who would constitute both the subjects of the publication and its readership. I started with the mailing list for the last retirees’ luncheon, a practice that had been cut off by COVID. The group was small (about 75) but enthusiastic. The mailing list was later enlarged by Michelle Schleibaum, who had Foundation lists at her disposal.

The first issue came out in November 2021. Among those contributing news of themselves were Mel Bienenfeld, Sally Jordan, Don Carmody, Laurie Corey, Bill Costanzo, and others. Sadly, the death of Greta Cohan was also reported. A long time has intervened between then and now. A second issue is overdue, but scheduled for next month.

Help is needed! Anyone interested in maintaining a connection between present and former members of the faculty and staff is encouraged to send news to me at The news needn’t be earth-shaking: A trip, a lunch, a hobby might not seem important enough to report, but the point is to keep a line of communication open between ourselves and our former colleagues. Many retired faculty will argue that it is a welcome, even needed, lifeline. As a supporter of the adjunct cause, I urge everyone to include adjuncts among those who make up the WCC retiree family.

Although the current WCCFT membership is, by definition, not retired, many may be interested in staying in touch with their retired colleagues. The Presiding Officer of the Faculty Senate has expressed such an interest, and news of this publication has been announced in the Senate. It would be nice if this interest could be matched in the WCCFT. Consider this an open—and warm!—invitation to do so.