Alumni Magazine

FAL-WIN 2016

The alumni magazine for Franklin Pierce University.

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Page 35 of 83

34 PIERCE / FALL 2016 A Small Community Builds Tight Bonds Pierce's founding in the fall of 1963, when 97 students along with nine faculty and administrators populated its campus, was predicated on Frank DiPietro's vision that "only the small college can provide the intimate relationships between those who learn and those who teach." For many, Pierce offered an opportunity to reboot their college careers. For others, like Carleen (Albon- izio) Farrell '71, it offered a chance to take the kind of chances she felt too timid to try at her large Connecti- cut high school, where she was one of 535 students in her graduating class. "There were all these things I felt afraid to do in high school because it felt so overwhelming to me," says Farrell. "I didn't feel those fears when I got to Franklin Pierce." The college also felt familiar. Her older brother, Nick Albonizio '67 had been one of the 97 undergraduates who opened the school's doors in September 1963. Car- leen and Nick's parents were self-made people. They'd both dropped out of high school early and gone on to build a successful dry cleaning and tailoring business in Old Greenwich, Connecticut. But they wanted more for all three of their children and that meant college. Ultimately, that meant Franklin Pierce. Nick's younger sister, Marietta Stone Anastas '75, enrolled the fall after Carleen graduated. For the first twelve years of Pierce's existence, Albonizios were a part of the college's under- graduate student body. "My father met Frank DiPietro and the two had an almost immediate bond," says Nick, who also met his wife, Diane Copeland '66 at the college. "A part of it was their shared Italian heritage, but they also spoke on the same level. My dad became convinced that Frank's dream would bear fruit and that I'd be in good hands." So would his two younger sisters. Carleen, espe- cially, has maintained a deep bond with the school. She was an instrumental early member of the Alumni As- sociation and in 1981 became the first female member of the University's Board of Trustees, a post she held for three years. She was reelected in 2010. Like many others, too, she developed a cadre of lifelong friends at the school. "We used to joke that when we all got old we'd move to a commune and live together," says Farrell, who recently retired from Harvard Business School following a long career in higher education administration. She laughs. "Now we all have condos in Florida about a mile from one another. I always say that friends are a gift you give yourself and I gave myself my best friends when I was at Pierce." Building for the Future Will there be future generations of Abonizios and Leaches enrolling at Pierce in the years to come? That's uncertain. What's not is that Pierce's bond with its legacy families is as strong as ever. This year the school experienced an overwhelming increase in inquiries and applications for the current academic year. The lineup of first year students in- cludes 13 newly enrolled legacy freshmen. Even as the school has changed and evolved, the same things that drew a student's mother, father, sister, brother, aunt, even a grandparent, continues to resonate with future Pierce graduates. "It's its own community," says Judy Leach of the Pierce atmosphere. "And that becomes its appeal. It is self-contained; it's its own village. And that breeds tight-knit relationships." WE USED TO JOKE THAT WHEN WE ALL GOT OLD WE'D MOVE TO A COMMUNE AND LIVE TOGETHER. — CARLEEN FARRELL '71 Front row: Diane (Copeland) Albonizio '66 and Nick Albonizio '67 Back row: Carleen (Albonizio) Farrell '71 (left), Marietta Stone Anastas '75 (right)

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