As Anna Maria College gets ready for its “Feel the Love” celebration on Valentine’s Day, we wanted to take a moment to share the love stories and memories that have been created at Anna Maria. In addition to being a proud academic institution, Anna Maria College is the first chapter in many students’ happily ever afters. A place where people first met, fell in love, and went on to get married and even have families. Anna Maria College is the start of many stories and through February we are excited to “Feel the Love” with our alumni love stories! 

What drew you to Anna Maria College? 

Becky: As a higher education professional, I was drawn to take the Director of Student Activities position because I really appreciate small, liberal arts institutions. There is a real sense of community here and people look out for one another. I also appreciate that I can pick up the phone and directly speak to anyone for help or to collaborate. 

Shawn: I graduated in the Class of 2001 as a music major. One of the biggest draws for attending Anna Maria College was its short commute from my home in Jefferson, MA, which gave me the opportunity to continue my passion for the performing arts, without having to travel far. Being able to participate in other Worcester consortium schools’ performing groups, to supplement my already robust schedule at AMC, was another big plus for choosing to come to Anna Maria College. 

How did you meet your significant other? How long have you been together? 

Becky: Shawn and I met on the app EHarmony – yes, it works and there are real life people behind the TV commercials everyone knows! It’s a second marriage for both of us, we’ve been married for 5 ½ years and together overall over 7 ½ years. We always say that things happened for a reason for us to find each other and that the second time around is the best time around! 

Shawn: Becky and I met over E-Harmony towards the end of August of 2016, and ever since, have never looked back!!!! We have been married since July 7th, 2018. 

Describe your first date. Was it love at first sight? 

Becky: Shawn jumped ahead of the traditional stages that EHarmony sets up to get to know people with various questions and just messaged me directly to ask me to go to a Red Sox game at the end of the week! I admit that I was a bit unsure at first but got advice from some friends who said to go for it and at least I’d enjoy the Red Sox game. I decided to take the risk and it was one of the best nights of my life. I still remember the amazing hug that Shawn gave me when we first met, it felt like coming home. We had a great dinner, had fun at the game (which I really don’t remember much about the details, but the Red Sox did win!) and then we didn’t want to end the night, so we hung out at a bar in Boston until it closed. We’ve been together ever since, and I am honestly so grateful to God for bringing Shawn into my life. 

Shawn: I had taken a risk over E-Harmony, skipping the generic questions they want you to answer, and directly asked Becky if she would like to attend a Red Sox game with me. After 1.5 days of sweating profusely, Becky finally replied “Yes!!!!!”  We ended up meeting at the Green Line C-Train Tappan St. stop in Brookline, MA. When Becky approached me from crossing the street, I was smitten instantaneously with overwhelming joy and excitement. Her infectious smile and positive nature towards living life, along with great conversations about her living to the fullest, over some great brick fired pizza from Stoked Pizza, was the hook I needed. By the way…the Red Sox did win 4-2 over the Diamondbacks, but finding Becky at the right time was the greatest gift of all 🙂 

Share some of your favorite memories as an AMCat? 

Becky: I have many! The top for me includes the Homecoming Weekends that I have been able to design and facilitate with the Advancement Department – it is always so wonderful to see families and students celebrating the college in the fall. Going to college football games is always such a rush of excitement and a real feeling of AMCAT pride. I also got to bring a group of student leaders to a conference in Jersey City and I got to see them truly develop and be impacted by the experience – which was extremely meaningful for me to witness. 

Shawn: AMC Music Education Club trips to NYC, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh for conferences -Anna Maria Chorus trip 1999 to perform for Sisters of Saint Anne in Lachine, Quebec, Canada -Directing AMC Pep Band for Men’s/Women’s Basketball games 1999-2000. 

How has Anna Maria impacted your personal and professional life? 

Becky: Thanks to working at Anna Maria, I have had the opportunity to direct a department for the first time. Having the ability to make intentional decisions about how students are supported outside of the classroom, and working with campus partners to design resources and experiences to help students develop their identities has been a powerful experience. 

Shawn: Personally, Anna Maria College gave me the confidence to build my self-esteem, especially towards building connections with other people, and overcoming confidence obstacles, through all the music courses and performing groups I was involved in. I was very fortunate to meet some incredible peers, I still call my friends, outside of our time at AMC.  Professionally, after 22.5 years, I am still musically educating our future students, workers and citizens. I spent 10 years teaching Grades K-8 at Seven Hills Charter Public School (now known as Learning First Charter Public School) of Worcester, MA.  For the last 12.5 years I have been guiding Grades K-4 in the Gardner Public Schools. 

What do you “love” about Anna Maria College? 

Becky: I love that I work at the college my husband went to as an undergraduate. Shawn tells me all the time about what life was like back then and is always interested to know what life at Anna Maria College is like now. He comes to visit me at events and gets to talk to students as an alum which is fun to watch. I love that we both have memories here at Anna Maria that are important parts of our lives and that we are a part of this intricate community. 

Shawn: Anna Maria is such a tight knit community, where all students and staff, no matter what walk of life you came from, fully and unconditionally care, and understand you for who you are. Like today’s Anna Maria scholars, I was very thankful for the professors in my life, who took the time to have meaningful conversations outside of classes, about anything!!! They were just as down to earth as we were. That can be said of all the AMC professors and staff members, who play vital roles in the students’ present and future goals.