• Romance in the Air at Special Alumni Reception

4/20/2012

It was September 1955, and Kathleen Flower, a wide-eyed Suffolk freshman, wanted to make a good impression in her first class, English Literature.

“I chose to go early and get a good seat,” she recalled. “When I walked into the room, no one was there yet, so I sat right up front.”

The next person to enter the classroom was John Fitzpatrick. He smiled at Kathleen and gingerly approached her. “Is anyone sitting here?” he asked, pointing to the desk right next to hers.

“It doesn’t look like it to me,” she responded.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” said John.

Their friendship eventually led to romance, and on February 24, 2012, John and Kathleen Fitzpatrick celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

Language of love

Meanwhile, Michael and Shahrayne (Jacovides) Litchfield first met in Spanish class in fall 1979, giving new meaning to Romance language.

The Litchfields and the Fitzpatricks shared their love stories with other Suffolk alumni at a Couples Reception held recently at the Suffolk University Club of Boston. The evening was filled with food, laughter, dancing, and a special performance by Suffolk’s a capella group, the Ramifications.

“I was inspired to hold an event for Suffolk couples because my parents met and fell in love when they were students here,” said Alumni Relations Assistant Angela Coletta, whose parents Ed Coletta (BSJ ’79) and Nina (Gaeta) Coletta (BSJ ’81) met while working on the Suffolk Journal and will celebrate their 30th anniversary this year.

“If it weren’t for Suffolk, I wouldn’t be here,” said Angela.

Professor happy to lose bet

On their first date, Michael Litchfield (BS ‘81) remembers collecting his life savings of $40 and surprising Shahrayne (BS ’80, MPS ’82) with dinner at the Top of the Hub in Boston. She informed him that Dr. Alberto Mendez, their fun-loving Spanish professor, had bet her $50 that they would only last one date.

During dinner, Michael asked Shahrayne to dance. “I gazed into her eyes and fell in love,” he said. “We floated on the dance floor.”

Their second date wasn’t as spectacular. He said he had just enough change to buy her a cup of coffee, while he sipped a glass of water.

This fall, Michael and Shahrayne will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. They remain good friends with Mendez, who eventually took them out to dinner to pay off the wager.

Reminiscing

Shahrayne was so popular at college that people nicknamed her “Miss Suffolk.” She was president of the Modern Language Club and co-captain of the cheerleading squad.

“I loved Suffolk; it was a great college experience,” she said. “Even though there were no dorms back then, students were still very involved and got along with each other. I still have friends among people I went to school with.”

“I received a great education -- that’s what I remember most about Suffolk” said Michael. “And, of course, it’s the place where I met the love of my life.”

The Fitzpatricks recalled the friendly people they had met in the close-knit Suffolk community– fellow students, faculty, and staff. Both were involved in campus activities, with John (BA ’58), serving on the student council and playing baseball, while Kathleen (BA ’59), performed with the Drama Club.

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Greg Gatlin
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