Amherst Magazine

A Consequence of Amherst: Lifelong Friendships

As told to Kristen Spargo ’95

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Boston-based Katie Bacon ’93, Timothy Moran ’94, Connie Mah Trinacty ’94, Jennifer Kordell ’95, Owen Stearns ’94 and Mark Pener ’93 share their thoughts on their friendship, developed through their Amherst connection. Katie and Mark started dating during their senior year and have been married for 11 years. Tim and Jennifer met during her prospective student weekend. The two have been married for nearly 11 years.

When we first graduated, our relationships were tied to Amherst the place. We returned often to attend rugby games and eat at Antonio’s. Even back in Boston, we found ourselves frequently reminiscing about Amherst at touch football games, trivia nights at Matt Murphy’s pub and movie nights at 141 Charles Street.

Over the years our bond has deepened to encompass more than a shared college experience. Our friendships have been through the ups and downs of life — changing jobs and careers, getting married, having children, facing miscarriages and infertility, moving 10,000 miles away and losing parents. Through these significant changes we have turned to each other for support. When Jen’s mom was tragically killed, a trip to Katie’s family cabin in Northfield, Mass., provided much-needed comfort and solace. Years later when Katie’s dad passed away from melanoma, Jen attended the memorial service in Washington, D.C., and Connie gave Katie and Mark the rare gift of a kids-free Saturday morning.

It has been amazing to see careers unfold as we all contribute to our respective fields. Connie improves quality of health care for underrepresented  populations, Owen transforms nonprofit organizations, Tim prosecutes organized crime, Katie writes articles for highly regarded publications, Jen manages corporate operations for a global consulting firm and Mark guides large-scale construction projects as a consultant. When we get together, we bring our unique perspectives to our conversations. We rarely all agree but we always respect others’ ideas and challenge each other to ensure that our views are well thought out.

As we pursue our personal and professional goals, we do so deliberately, with focus and passion, supporting each other and enabling the overachiever in all of us. When we talk about Amherst today, it is often in reference to our children and the values we’re seeking to impart: independence, strength of character, individuality and intellectual curiosity—the ones that led us to Amherst 20-plus years ago. We are so grateful to Amherst for the care it takes in bringing together engaged, diverse and remarkable students. The college continues to enrich our lives through the friendships we made so many years ago.