Jefferson Loves Love

Some lucky Jefferson alumni left school not only with a degree, but also hand-in-hand with the love of their life.

Bob Smith ’76

Kathy Flack and I first saw each other in September 1975 in the cafeteria at Philadelphia College of Textiles & Science. At that time it was located underneath the gym, which today is an underground parking garage.

Kathy was a first-year student, and I was a first-semester senior, having just gotten back from my first year in professional baseball, as I was drafted my junior year by the New York Yankees. In those days you could not be drafted as an underclassman unless you went hardship. As both my parents were deceased and I was on my own, I was eligible for the draft that year. In her own words, Kathy asked a friend who I was, and then said to her friend, “I do believe I will marry him someday!”

Kathy transferred to The Art Institute of Philadelphia after a year, but we kept in touch now and then. In 1977 we stumbled across each other at a Textile basketball game and started a sincere relationship. Kathy did a bit of local modeling during college and ironically, I did some after college for local department stores such as Gimbels and Strawbridge & Clothier, manufacturer JG Hook, and a fashion show at Textile.

I received my bachelor's degree in marketing, started in the newly formed MBA program at Textile, but completed my MBA at Long Island University as work took me to New York City in 1978, leaving Kathy and me to maintain a semi-long-distance relationship until we married in 1980.

On October 11, 1980, we were married at St. John the Baptist, located in Manayunk, Pennsylvania. We are on our way to 43 years of marriage. To this day, with all respect to our daughter and daughter-in-law, Kathy is the most beautiful bride I have even laid eyes on.

My baseball career was to only be one season as a knee injury ended those hopes, but with the educational foundation from the University and the guidance from many professors, staff, and coaches at Textile, I was able to embark on a long and fruitful business career. Highlights include 22 years with Legrand, a France-based international electrical manufacturer where I finished as their executive vice president of sales and 14 years as the president and CEO of IMARK Group, one of Legrand’s largest customers, retiring in November 2020. I was thrilled to learn I was being inducted into the University's Hall of Fame in April 2023.

Kathy has had a successful career in design, working for Mitchell Associates in Delaware, Steven’s Interiors, and then at United Technologies, both in Syracuse, New York. We moved to Syracuse for work after our marriage. Today, Kathy enjoys working with residential clients up and down the East Coast on re-designs and at times structural changes to their homes and condos.

Kathy and I have two children; a son, Colin, Philadelphia University ‘14, who studied business, and is also in the electrical industry with NSI, and a daughter, Kyle, University of Scranton, class of 2014, who majored in international business. Kyle also took a summer class at Philadelphia University and after an internship in Paris has worked for Legrand in marketing since 2014. Both our son (8/13/22) and daughter (11/13/21) recently married wonderful spouses, but we don’t have grandchildren yet. Today, Kathy and I split our time between Naples, Florida, and Avalon, New Jersey.

Beverly Banks ’96

My name is Beverly (Sheeder) Banks. In the summer of 1993 I signed up as a PCT&S college ambassador (CA). Little did I know it was the best decision I ever made. During that summer I helped incoming freshmen pick their classes. One gentleman in particular had the dreamiest blue eyes that I remember thinking I could look into forever. At the end of summer another CA

came running over with that same gentleman saying, “Have you met Bob Banks?” We hung out as friends, eventually dated over the next three years, got an apartment together after graduation, married in 1999, and now have two amazing boys. All because I didn't want to stay home that summer.

Tahisha Jones Anderson ’99

My husband, Keith Anderson '95, and I met as residents of Ronson in 1994. I caught his eye when I was working at the Dining Hall.

My favorite memory was the Homecoming dance in ‘94 when we officially became a couple. We've been together ever since—married for over 20 years with two kids. He studied computer science and I majored in architecture. We both pursued careers in these fields.

Aprille O’Kane ’06

My husband Tim O'Kane '05 and I were both students at Philadelphia University when a friend set us up on a blind date because we went to the same school. From there the sparks flew. We would meet for lunch together between classes, and I'd drop off snacks for late night design studio sessions. We just celebrated 10 years of marriage and four babies.

Eileen Roe Sheehan ’07

Tim Sheehan '05 and I met in 2004. I was a freshman in the fashion design program at (then) Philadelphia University. Tim was a junior in architectural studies. We were just friends for a time, and then started dating in the fall of 2005 while Tim was working full time and attending the MBA program at night. We spent many “Wing Nights” together at Murphy's pub in East Falls, and supported each other through our final years in college. In 2007 we both graduated and moved to Plymouth Meeting together. We married in June 2009 and have been together since, creating a life full of adventures and fun with two beautiful daughters (plus a cat and dog, too).

Cindy LaBar ’11

My husband, Jaime Hancock '02, went to Philadelphia University as an undergrad way before I came to Jefferson, but since the schools merged I guess we are considered fellow alumni now, and without Jefferson we may have never met.

I was accepted into Jefferson's couples and family therapy program in the summer of 2011. I lived in the Poconos at the time, and started the long search to find a roommate to share the cost of housing while in grad school. I ended up finding an ad posted on Craigslist for a man looking for a roommate in Glenside, right outside of Philadelphia. He was recently divorced, and wanted to find a safe and stable roommate to share his home with him and his daughter. I had all my clearances since I was substitute teaching at the time, so it seemed I was a perfect fit. I went to see the place and agreed to move into his home in August at the start of school.

We very quickly realized how much we had in common, and long story short, we started to date and were married in 2016.

He supported me through grad school, starting off as a new therapist in the field, through the LMFT licensure process, and all the way up to the present moment where I am currently a clinical supervisor. I would not be where I am today without him, and I would not have gotten the opportunity to be a stepmother to our amazing daughter. If I wasn't accepted to Jefferson, we may have never met. I am forever grateful for the role Jefferson played in bringing us together.

Lauren Mellott Lombardo ’19

Mathew Lombardo '18 and I met in the Kanbar Campus Center in 2016. He was an architecture major and I was pre-med, so our paths were unlikely to cross elsewhere. We started dating shortly after and have been together since!

Seven years later, we just celebrated our wedding this past weekend. It was a beautiful celebration and wouldn't have been possible without school bringing us together!

Gianna Klisch ’20

Daniel Modestine ’20 and I were both in the same program and the same design class our freshman year, which is how we first met. Within the first few weeks of that class, he offered to show me where the printer was located in the DEC Center, which is how we started to become friends. We became part of the same friend group and would take turns carpooling to design class and work late nights together on our projects in Hayward. We would give each other ideas and help each other with design work and assignments we had in other classes.

Throughout our four years in school we remained close friends, and didn't decide to date until a few months after graduation. Now, we have been together for almost three years!