Colby couples find love and marriage on the Hill
Carson 3, Jared 9 and Dylan 7 Arevian smile for the camera on October 11. The weekend marked their parents fifteenth wedding anniversary.
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It was her first exam week on the Hill and Maureen Hogerty ’84 was sick. Bored from her time spent in the infirmary, Maureen decided to wander around and distribute some of the candy she had received as a ‘Secret Santa’ holiday gift to other students. In doing so, she met fellow infirmary-resident Jay Polimeno ’81, who was studying for a Shakespeare final.
The two hit it off and they dated for the rest of his senior year.
However, there was an age gap between the two and Maureen didn’t know if the relationship would last. “He was a senior and I was a freshman, and we figured, you know, ‘this isn’t really going to go too far’ because I [had] three more years [at Colby],” she said. “But it ended up that he was back and forth on the Maine turnpike [all the time]. [He got] too many speeding tickets, but we made it through.”
On her birthday, Polimeno took Maureen out to dinner. After the meal, a cake came out for dessert and it said ‘Happy Birthday, Will You Marry Me?’—“my proposal was on my cake!” she said. “So we got in the car and we traveled with it to show my parents—[there was] a little mishap in the car when my foot landed in part of my proposal, so that was a little tragic for a few minutes, but it was ok,” she said, laughing.
The Polimenos were married in 1985; at the ceremony, they were surrounded by many friends from the College. Aimee Polimeno ’14, their second daughter, is now completing her first semester on the Hill.
Currently the marriage rate among College alumni stands at 11 percent.
Although many couples, like the Polimenos, met while they were students, others didn’t know each other during their time on the Hill. Sue and Jim Cook—Class of 1975 and 1978, respectively—did meet on Mayflower Hill, but they did so three years after Jim’s graduation. In the winter of 1982, Sue had just started working in the alumni office and Jim had come up to campus for some reason that neither of them remembers now. One day during Jim’s visit, they both found themselves at a hockey game in the coach’s box overlooking the rink and they started talking. Three years later, they got married; they still watch games in the box now. Sue still works at the College; she is the director of gift planning at the alumni office. The pair lives in Waterville and their daughter Emily Cook ’11 is now a senior. Suffice it to say, the Cooks carry on intimate, multidimensional relationship with the College.
Sue said that she and Jim think that if they had met while they were students, “[they] probably wouldn’t be together now.” They were three years apart, and “there was just too much going on at that time,” she said.
“Senior – freshman. There were just too many differences,” Jim said.
Or maybe not: just ask the Polimenos. Father Paul Cote, former Catholic priest at Colby, married both couples.
Duncan Gibson ’83 of Massachusetts and Morgan Borer ’84 of Texas were fraternity brothers at Alpha Tau Omega before the College abolished Greek Life in 1984. Although they were close friends and had romantic feelings for each other at the time, they were not ‘out’ and didn’t pursue a relationship. They fell out of touch after graduation.
“I always thought that Duncan was a really nice guy and good looking; yes, I did have a crush on him that never came to fruition. The early 80s were very different in terms of acceptance of [gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer] GLBTQ students,” Borer said.
But thanks to the marvel of social networking, in particular, the popular application Facebook, Duncan and Morgan reconnected. “Duncan's first message to me was, ‘Hey, I’m older than you. How come you have so much more gray hair than me?’” Borer said, joking that his partner is “such a romantic!”
As time passed, the two started chatting regularly. Finally, a few years ago, they decided to meet in person again.
December 2009 marked their official engagement when they drove up to the College and exchanged rings by Johnson Pond. They plan to get married sometime in 2011. “Luckily, we can get married in Massachusetts, where I live,” Gibson said. “Gay marriage has been legal here for several years now. Colby's Chapel was certainly a possibility [that we considered], but [because of] the voter referendum overturning gay marriage, it would be a nice venue symbolically but not legally. So [we chose] marriage on Cape Cod!”
Borer advised young lovebirds on the Hill to “[not] hold back. If you have feelings for someone let them know. I don’t know what would have happened had I done that 27 years ago, but I do know that by not having done that I lost 27 years of being together with a wonderful man.”
Garin Arevian ’91 and Kelly Evans Arevian ’92 met at a party in Pierce during the spring of Kelly’s first year. Kelly lived in Woodman at the time, “it wasn’t the desirable place to be in those days…especially when you have to go back home after a party.” Garin offered to walk her home that evening, so “I knew there was something special because he was willing to walk all the way across campus for you.”
“We dated—if you can call it dating at Colby—for the next month” but Garin went abroad the next fall and she traveled for JanPlan, so they did not see each other again until the February of her sophomore year. They dated steadily until she graduated, took a bit of a break during her senior year, and ended up dating again post-graduation when they worked in Boston.
Kelly and Garin know 10 other alumni couples. As for marrying her college sweetheart, Kelly said, “We have so many friends in common that we both enjoy being with. Our social circle is so strong—we’ve known each other for so long. It’s nice.”
The Arevians celebrated their fifteenth wedding anniversary the weekend of October 9 by returning to Mayflower Hill with their three young sons.
Like Borer and Gibson, the Gjestbys also met through a fraternity. In the spring of her first year, Janet Kelley ’86 met Nils Gjesteby ’84, then finishing up his junior year. Like many Colby couples, the stressed that they had a lot in common: they liked rural Maine, they liked being outdoors and they were both skiers. They began dating, and after Nils’ graduation he ended up with a job that required him to travel around the country. As luck would have it, he was stationed for the winter of her junior year in Westbrook, Maine.
“We got to do a lot of skiing together that year,” Janet said.
“It was the right time for me to get more involved in school and focus on my studies...so we stayed together,” she said. Even though Nils had to be in Washington, DC for work during her senior year, they successfully maintained their relationship. They were separated by miles, “but, you know, we survived,” she said.
After Janet graduated, she and Nils got jobs in Boston. In 1987, they were married. Twenty-three years later, they have three children.
Janet said that although she missed Nils after he graduated, there were some benefits to being on the Hill alone. “It was fun being there without him in a way, because I got more involved in the school.”
Maureen echoed this sentiment, urging current students to “be [themselves] and pursue…[their] goals,” she said. “Don’t miss out on any of the opportunities offered at Colby.”
Even if you think you’ve already found your future husband or wife, “[keep] do[ing] everything you want for yourself.”