As Anna Maria College gets ready for its “Feel the Love for Anna Maria” 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! 

How many years have you been together?  

Dean: 40 years and counting!  Married on 9/16/89 – 34 years 

Lynne: September 2, 1983, to now, 40 years and 4 months! 

What year did you graduate? What was your major? 

Dean: Class of 1985 – BA – Business with concentration in Accounting 

Lynne: Class of 1987, Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Marketing with a Minor in English 

What drew you to Anna Maria College as a student?  

Dean: It was close to home – 30 minutes – but far enough away. Catholic school with small class sizes, I could play basketball, it was affordable, and ratio at the time was 7-1 – women to men! 

Lynne: I came from a central Connecticut high school with about 400 students in my graduating class.  I wanted a smaller environment where I could explore options in my major along with liberal arts choices. I knew I wanted to explore opportunities in the consortium. Catholic school choice seemed just right in the eyes of my parents; I would come to later know a wonderful peace in our small Anna Maria College chapel. Parents are always right. 

How did you meet your significant other?  

Dean: I was on the Orientation committee as an RA during my junior year – 1983 – so I was on campus early to help freshmen move in and help them out. I was playing pick-up basketball with some of the guys in the old ” gymatorium” when Lynne and a few other freshmen girls roller skated into the gym to see what was going on.  Lynne had a purple headband on, it was instant attraction for me, and I knew she was special from that first look at her! 

Lynne: Orientation fun nights were provided the first few days as freshmen before other upperclassmen arrived. There was the all-star men’s basketball practice with some of the orientation group leaders.  My new-found friends, Karen and Joyce (my Duggan II floormates) and I donned rental roller-skates and rolled ourselves right into the tiny little gym off of the side of the library; I do believe we pushed ourselves right into the middle of that game. Deano tells our kids, “That’s when I noticed her.”  The next day was ID card picture time. Apparently, Mr. follow-the-rules Landry looked up my name on the ID cards. That night there was a dance at Spiritwoods. Those were some fun times. I thought Dean and Randy were teachers, I had no idea why they would be at this dance. Chaperones?  Dean asked me to dance. The next day he came walking up on the girls’ floor. I asked him if he needed anything washed – doing my laundry. He took a perfectly clean and ironed pair of pants to give me. 

Describe your first date. Was it love at first sight or a slow burn?  

Dean: I went to Spiritwoods Pub on campus for the first Friday night mixer/dance for the freshmen and the orientation team – wanting and hoping to meet her there. I asked her to dance, then later that night asked her to take a walk with me around campus. A dog came out of nowhere that scared her as he came closer to us – I went to the dog and had him move along to another part of campus so she wouldn’t be afraid…I guess she was happy that I did that…we sat on the bench across from the campus center talking and getting to know each other. We had our first kiss and we have been together ever since September 4, 1983! 

Lynne: Our first “official” pick-me-up-at-my-floor-door date was on 9/2/83 – Friday night for the big band night in the gym. The dancing was a little shaky. Deano has a few dance moves. We went for a walk to the end of Sunset Lane and a stray mangy dog showed his teeth – scared me half to death. I was bitten as a kid, so I am very afraid of loose dogs. Dean calmed me down. He calmed the dog down. I appreciated that gesture. I do remember he had some good style with those boat shoes and jeans and the striped oxford shirt. I think the smell of Drakaar Noir was in the air as Deano bent for a kiss. (Dean might say this was 9/4/83; it was definitely 9/2/83!) 

Share some of your favorite memories as an AMCat!   

Dean: Meeting Lynne, who is now my wife, being an RA for my junior and senior years. I was an RA on the first ever coed floor – Duggan Ground. Spring Fling weekends, snow days in the dorms, the tunnel from dorms to campus center, moving all the books from the old library to the new one. Variety shows, Friday nights at Spiritwoods Pub, being a bartender at the pub, Miller Lite Nights with 25 cent drafts and great prizes!  Driving the AMC van to Worcester center each day for work study money and then driving Sr. Bernadette who was President of Anna Maria College to her various meetings in the Worcester area.  Basketball practices at South High School or St. Peters every night since we did not have a full-size court on campus at the time. Formal Fall & Spring dances on campus, having drinks with my teachers during Happy Hours on Fridays at the pub, seeing the new Athletic Center being built and completed in 1985, being on the coach staff under Paul Phillips, and being able to coach and see the first home game on campus vs. Worcester State. 

Lynne: Deano and I began our story; lifelong friendships created from 1983-1987:  Reconnecting through Facebook is a wonderful way to stay in touch with people we grew to love and cherish – precious time is passing; friendships where a year or five can pass, and we can pick up again: MaryEllen and Kathleen; I gained a brother-in-law AMC alum in Jeff.  Spring Flings; Spring breaks; snow days; WSRS internships and getting Dean’s 5-speed stuck next to the radio tower port-o-potty. Crest and Key Society; Admissions tours; Apple IIe learning; trips to Quebec, Boston, and Admissions Florida. Variety shows; Spiritwoods game nights; comedy shows; dance formals; oral comps. Traveling to California with MaryEllen to attend our “sister” school for a semester – Holy Names University in Oakland, CA. We found ourselves 3,000 miles from home. We skied in Tahoe; survived Thanksgiving in Shingle Springs, and trusted our guts in Berkeley, San Jose, and San Francisco. Love wins in many ways. Dean and I took a break to be sure. It was painful but necessary to know if we were headed in the right direction. 

How has Anna Maria impacted your personal and professional life? 

Dean: I worked in the Admissions Office and recruited students from all over the country and got to travel doing it. That job enabled me to become Assistant Director of Admissions and continue to coach basketball at SNHU for a few years. My liberal arts education has helped lead me to my career in Packaging Sales. 

Lynne: My liberal arts education has helped lead me to my career as a middle school ELA teacher.  I began as a marketing communications project manager in insurance: MassMutual, Aetna, and The Phoenix. It was difficult traveling and trying to raise our son. I decided to try to pursue my teaching degree. With my Anna Maria College minor in English, I was able to become certified, student teach, and re-engineer my life in two years. Now, work-life balance only arrives for a few weeks during the year, but I do love helping early teens find their voices. Our three children, Matt (32), an AMC 2013 grad is a national engineering recruiter living in Chagrin Falls, OH; Paxton (27), is our RN and coast-to-coast nurse traveler; and Brad (25), is our financial consulting Hartford-Boston-NYC project manager for PwC. We encouraged them all to get their liberal arts foundations as well.   

What do you “love” about Anna Maria College?  

Dean: I met my wife and formed great friendships during my college years. I loved my four years at Anna Maria College, 1981-1985. Lynne and I have a wonderful life that has blessed us with three children:  Matthew, our oldest, also played and coached for Coach Conrad and is an alum of AMC in the Class of 2013; Paxton, our middle child, – an RN who we named in honor of the town where we first met; and Brad, our youngest, who is now working at Price Waterhouse. 

Lynne: I appreciate that small-town, safe, and secure can translate into opportunities to network into new changes. I love that liberal arts allow a person to think and adapt to change. Professors show a fierce loyalty to their teaching expertise; which translates to passion. Helping a young person become who they are meant to be is an awesome way to spend a life.    

Life goes by so quickly. So, what does 40 years look like on this side of it? The events of our lives that brought us both to our knees are what glued us together. We’ve weathered storms of illness, surgeries and recoveries, loss, worries, the pandemic, job changes, stress, and scares. Sitting with Dean in our Wallingford, CT church on a regular Sunday morning – praying our kids and families are all alright for the week; mourning loss; asking for discernment and guidance, trusting in the faith we’ve built together.  Watching Dean do his very best to work hard, coach, guide, and raise our children means that life is good. That small place at the top of the hill, in a protected part of central Massachusetts holds a great deal of success stories for so many.