1960s Featured Legacies Legacies

Gail Harwell (BSJ62)

Gail Petersen Harwell, 81, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at RiverView Care Center in Crookston, where she had been a resident since October of 2021.

She was born October 7, 1940, to Norma and Jerry Petersen at Minette’s Maternity Home in Fertile, where she also attended school, first grade through 12th. From early years, she had a curiosity for the world and would stand on the front porch and say, “Just wait for me world, I’ll get there.”

To achieve that goal, Gail was a determined high achiever in high school, which led to a full scholarship at Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism. After earning her Bachelor of Science in 1962, she launched a career as an advertising writer in Chicago. She was named a Vice President of J. Walter Thompson Company-Chicago in 1969, where she worked primarily in television, writing for such accounts as Sears dishwashers, Kraft Foods, Sunbeam, and Jovan fragrances. In 1977, she moved to Boston and Arnold & Company; in 1979 to Manhattan and JWT New York; in 1983 to Los Angeles and Evans Advertising; and in 1993 to Marin County in the Bay Area.

Gail met her husband Richard Sterling Harwell in 1971 at Great Lakes, IL, at the end of a sailing race. They were separated by geography and circumstances, but fate brought them together again 20 years later, and they were married in 1993 at Concordia Lutheran Church in Fertile.

In 1995, Gail changed careers, becoming an independent editorial consultant in the engineering-construction field. She often worked alongside Sterling; writing, editing, formatting, and producing proposals, feasibility studies, and marketing materials for multibillion-dollar construction projects. She worked in Asia, Europe, Australia, and Central America, as well as across the U.S., continuing until her final retirement at the age of 73. From that time, Gail and Sterling enjoyed a life of tennis, travel, volunteering, and relaxation overlooking San Francisco Bay. They were members of the Belvedere Tennis Club and the San Francisco Yacht Club. Gail was an avid reader, and she belonged to a local book club for 10 years.

Friends will remember her for her meticulous planning and orchestration of many wonderful birthday parties, club gatherings and class reunions.

Both Gail and Sterling will be remembered by family for initiating and maintaining the “Petersen-Harwell Perpetual Ping Pong Tournament,” complete with engraved trophy. Gail made sure the results with photos were posted in the Fertile Journal.

Family and friends recall her kindness, generosity, acute sense of humor, infectious laugh, courage, and fierce determination. She had a certain “twinkle in her eyes,” and she will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.

Gail was preceded in death by her husband, R. Sterling Harwell, by her older sister, and best friend, Marlys Ozga, and by an infant nephew. She is survived by brothers, Harold (Candy) of Brookline, MA, and Michael (Carol) of Fertile, and brother-in-law, Edward Ozga of Plymouth, MN, nine nieces and nephews, a host of grandnieces and grandnephews, and one great-grandniece.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Parkinson’s disease research or Hospice of the Red River Valley.

Source: Eriksen-Vik-Ganje Funeral Homes


Suburban Empire: Cold War Militarization in the US Pacific

Lauren Hirshberg (MSJ02)

Suburban Empire takes readers to the US missile base at Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands, at the matrix of postwar US imperial expansion, the Cold War nuclear arms race, and the tide of anti-colonial struggles rippling across the world. Hirshberg shows that the displacement of indigenous Marshallese within Kwajalein Atoll mirrors the segregation and spatial politics of the mainland US as local and global iterations of US empire took hold. Tracing how Marshall Islanders navigated US military control over their lands, Suburban Empire reveals that Cold War-era suburbanization was perfectly congruent with US colonization, military testing, and nuclear fallout. The structures of suburban segregation cloaked the destructive history of control and militarism under a veil of small-town innocence.


The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, And How Parents And Schools Can Help Them Thrive

Lisa L. Lewis (IMC91)

In 2015, when Lisa L. Lewis started looking into why high schools start so early in the morning, she had no idea where it eventually lead. After the 7:30 a.m. start time at her son’s high school prompted her involvement, her writing on the topic sparked California’s landmark law (the first of its kind in the nation) requiring health secondary school start times and her new book, The Sleep-Deprived Teen: Why Our Teenagers Are So Tired, And How Parents And Schools Can Help Them Thrive.

Her book synthesizes the research on sleep, provides parents with practical guidance, and also includes a deep dive into tech use and sleep, along with an examination of how sex and gender, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, and race and ethnicity can affect sleep. The book has been described as “a call to action” by Arianna Huffington and “an urgent and timely read” by Daniel H. Pink.

“Adolescents are chronically sleep-deprived, with far-ranging implications for their well-being – including their mental health,” Lewis said. “My hope is that spreading awareness of how critical sleep is for our teens will help prompt ongoing meaningful change.”


Bita: Ukrainian Warrior Dog

Deborah “Dobsy” Karabin (BSJ73)


My paternal grandparents lived there.

This book is about Bita Ukrainian Warrior Dog, which is the title.

She meets a band of pups from Paris led by Metro, an American poodle named after my own dear dog. Bita is separated from her family and finds a Ukrainian soldier who is later wounded. Bita tracks him down, finds her family and surprises everyone including herself with a big bundle of joy.

2010s Class Notes Featured Class Notes

Mariel Turner (MSJ15)

Mariel Turner has recently started a new position at, Shonda Rhimes’ digital media website in partnership with Hearst. In her new role as Senior Culture Editor, Mariel will oversee all culture and entertainment coverage on the site, including reporting, writing, and editing film and TV features and stories. She will also host and manage Shondaland’s IGTV Pop Culture series.

2000s Class Notes

Pritish Behuria (BSJ05)

Dr. Pritish Behuria is currently a Lecturer/Assistant Professor in Politics, Governance and Development at The University of Manchester’s Global Development Institute.

2000s Class Notes Featured Class Notes

Vanessa Glavinskas (MSJ05)

Vanessa recently took a job with the Environmental Defense Fund as a staff writer. She looks forward to helping EDF tell stories about the most critical issue of our time: climate change.

2010s Class Notes Featured Class Notes

Christine Gallipeau (MSJ15)

A couple of weeks after getting married in San Francisco on Oct. 2, 2021, Christine started a new role at The Points Guy, a Red Ventures brand. In her new position as coordinating editor, Christine mentors writers, editors and freelancers, helping them better organize their travel stories, hone their unique perspectives as travelers, craft well-rounded story pitches and more.

1980s Class Notes Featured Class Notes

Michael Smith (BSJ82, MSJ82)

Mike Smith has been appointed to the board of governors of the National Press Club in Washington. He is also a member of the society of environmental journalists. Mike’s environmental reporting for Coastal Point newspaper has been honored by the MARYLAND, Delaware and Washington, DC (MDDC) Press Association.

2000s Class Notes

Vivek Shankar (MSJ04)

Vivek has joined The New York Times as a senior staff editor and will be based at the newspaper’s Asia hub in Seoul. He will work closely with the news and Live operations, assigning, editing and writing. He goes to the Times after almost 17 years at Bloomberg News, where he covered companies, markets and governments from postings in Washington, Sydney and San Francisco.