Feist, Jerry

So many memories are still fresh in my mind. People, places, things. Growing, learning, trying new things. Allegheny people and experiences were formative in my development. For example:

  • Blue Freshmen beanies!!
  • Making friends in the dining hall, sit-down-dinners where I minded my manners.
  • Being called to attention in ROTC and being told, “President Kennedy has just been assassinated.”
  • The excitement of classes where I learned totally new ways of understanding.
  • Discovering I had no idea how to study.
  • The agony of deciding whether to be an “Independent” or join a fraternity; then “Which to join?”
  • Learning to ski on outing club trips.
  • The faculty and staff: Guy Buckingham, Glenn Thompson, Ralph Hocking, Richard Hutcherson, Paul Zolbrod, Paul Cares, Jay Luvaas, Bob Cares, John McKean, …
  • Chuck Berry, Simon & Garfunkel, Miriam Makeeba, and other top entertainers in our Fieldhouse.
  • Staff of The Kaldron and The Campus, and my contributions as a photographer.
  • Allegheny Student Government
  • Teaming up to place a calf on top of Bentley Hall, then carrying it down the stairs afterwards.
  • Writing my Senior Thesis while everyone else was outside enjoying Spring.
  • And more and more …

Education after Allegheny

Formal: Master’s degree in Personnel Administration, then a PhD in Counseling from Syracuse University

Informal: Life, including military service, travel, marriage, parenting, and many other experiences.


Married Ellen Douglas Rein, AC  ‘69, a year after graduation. Ellen and I separated in 1977, then divorced in the 1980s. In 1986 I married Joyce Marsh, whom I met working at Cornell. We are still together.

Where I’ve lived

From Allegheny I went to Syracuse University to start a Master’s program. Before the year was through I learned I was going to be drafted, so I looked into other options. “You’re in the Army now.” After basic and advanced training I spent almost three years in Washington, DC. In 1972 I returned to Syracuse, and stayed there until 1982 when I moved to Ithaca, NY. For the past 30+ years I’ve lived on the West shore of Cayuga Lake, two miles from Trumansburg, NY, home of the annual GrassRoots Music Festival.

My jobs

During my three Army years I worked as a Special Agent in Military Intelligence. (Think “Spy vs Spy.”) Most of the time I conducted background investigations on people of interest. Sometimes the work was much more challenging, especially when large-scale anti-war demonstrations were taking place in Washington, DC, and all intelligence agencies were called upon to gather information.

After the Army I studied, worked and taught at both Syracuse and Cornell Universities. Course content included leadership, group process, career development, and counseling skills. At Syracuse in the ‘70s, as Director of Academic Counseling, I developed a peer counseling program, a career counseling program, and initiated a program for students who were failing which has since become a learning skills center. At Cornell in the ‘80s, I was Assistant Dean of Students for Counseling and Training, a Human Resources Consultant and Trainer, and Director of Psychological Services.

While at Cornell, I achieved my “15 minutes of fame” when I created Dear Uncle Ezra in 1986. This was an innovative on-line information, advising, and counseling service which received national attention in The Wall Street Journal, on National Public Radio’s “All Things
 Considered,” and in Newsweek. It is
 now being cited as the first Internet
 counseling service, and the format is being used
 as a model by universities around the
 country. It still exists at Cornell.

After working at Cornell, in the early ‘90s, I went into private practice full-time as a psychotherapist, organizational consultant, skills trainer, and executive coach. Over time I learned it is easier to facilitate change for an individual than for groups, so now I devote most of my time to working with individuals (teens and up) and couples. I find this work exceptionally rewarding.

My children / grandchildren

Ellen and I have a son Travis, who was born in 1971. Travis graduated from SUNY Binghamton, then got a Master’s from Gonzaga University. He has pursued an outdoor life focusing on skiing, biking, climbing, outdoor education, and avalanche prediction.  He and his wife live in South Lake Tahoe, California.

Joyce and I have a daughter Natalie, born in 1990. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in Art and Art Education. Natalie has settled in the Hudson Valley of New York, where she has taught art and worked as an artist. Natalie just got married, and is starting her next adventures.


Retirement may be some time in coming. After Natalie’s recent marriage, as the Seven Dwarves sang, “I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go …” Actually, I love my work, but I look forward to more time without responsibilities and obligations.

Current activities / hobbies

Photography, sailing, biking, being in nature, spending time with family & friends … so many interests, so little time.


My Son and his Wife, my Daughter and her Husband, my Wife and me taking a hike through a local gorge


Graduation 1967

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