Ask anyone who’s been here. Chestnut Hill College is a special place. It is a place where stories begin and new chapters are written. In 2003, the College went co-ed, welcoming its first class of male students and four years later, its first group of male alumni. Since then, CHC has been blessed to celebrate no shortage of alumni couples, who met at CHC or met through CHC, and have gone on to get married. And now, have gone on to have future Griffins of their own!
At this year’s Breakfast with Santa, Chestnut Hill College celebrated that CHC legacy that couples are passing on to their young children by welcoming back a special group of alumni to share their stories on how they met and how CHC continues to be a defining force in their lives and that of their growing families.
“It is probably one of the happiest things that I’ve experienced to see two young people who met here, fall in love, get married, start a family and still care enough about the institution to come back and to bring their children,” Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D. said while reflecting on the event. “It’s a beautiful experience and one that means the values and mission of CHC are alive and well in our graduates and perpetuated in their lives and the lives of their children.”
For one such couple, Colleen (Reasoner) Kuczynski '08 and Kevin Kuczynski '08, Breakfast with Santa has become somewhat of an annual tradition. The two met at CHC through mutual friends and began dating their senior year. Now, 13 years later, they are proud parents to five-year-old Audrey and two-and-a-half-year-old Tess.
“We talk about Chestnut Hill a lot so the girls know that’s where we went,” Colleen Kuczynski says. “It’s nice though to actually be able to bring them here to see where it all started. It really is great to be back, especially for Breakfast with Santa. I love that they do this every year.”
While the Kuczynski family was returning for their third Breakfast with Santa, it was just the first for the Reeth family, who welcomed their first child, daughter Samantha, to the world just four months ago.
“It is a surreal experience knowing that the same place we went to school is now the same place we can come back to as alums and bring our daughter, who hopefully one day will go to Chestnut Hill,” John Reeth ’11 says. His wife Amy (Bryant) Reeth ’13, who met John through their time together in campus ministry, echoed the sentiment, noting that the two of them walked the halls sharing memories of their time at CHC with their daughter upon returning for Breakfast with Santa.
And even though Branden Youngman ’06 and Yiqing (Miao) Youngman ’11 SGS, ’17 Psy.D., didn’t meet as students, their story is still very much one of a CHC fairytale. The two met while Yiqing Youngman was in the Psy.D. program and Branden Youngman was doing his residency to become a doctor. The two bonded over their shared time at CHC, Brandon as an undergrad and Yiqing as a graduate student, and even had their first unofficial date in the Logue Library. Years later, when it was time for the two to get married, they knew that they wanted their wedding to take place at CHC. In 2017, they married on the SugarLoaf property, and now, four years later, are able to return to campus with two-and-a-half-year-old Isaac.
“Attending CHC was one of the best choices I’ve made in my life so it’s very meaningful to be back and just walking on this familial land because I spent so many years here and fell in love with this place,” Yiqing Youngman says. “This place is integral to our relationship and the foundation of our love and our growing family so it was very meaningful allowing Isaac to see where his mommy and daddy met and where our family started.”
- Marilee Gallagher '14