A Saint Joseph’s legacy

Students who follow in their parents' footsteps, not in their shadows

Imagine loving your school so much you name your first-born son after it.

Jeff, Deborah and Joseph Crocker

Jeff Crocker ’86 (left) and Deborah Crocker ’86 of Saco, Maine, named their son Joseph (center) after Saint Joseph’s College.

Saint Joseph's College graduates, Jeff and Deborah Crocker, of Saco, Maine, decided naming their son Joseph would be an appropriate tribute to the school they loved and the place where they first met.

The couple insists they would never have tried to talk their son into making Saint Joseph's his school, even with such cherished memories as Jeff's great experience and lasting friends from running cross country or the hours Deborah spent studying in the library. Or from cheering basketball games in the "The Chamber of Horrors" - the name students gave to the old gym because of the deafening echoes off the walls of what is now the campus mail room.

And certainly not because they fell in love over a bottle of Maalox that Jeff bought Deborah during their first date to help settle her pre-exam stomachache.

"I knew from the bottle that he was the right one," Deborah says.

But since their son and college namesake did select the school, they're not about to hide their pleasure.

After visiting several colleges during his senior year of high school, Joseph almost didn't get out of bed to attend the Saint Joseph's open house.

"When he came out at the end of the day, he had a smile on his face and said he loved it; it felt like home," Jeff says of his son. "After that, it was his first choice."

Joseph, a freshman, runs cross country and studies nursing, with the goal of becoming a physical therapist.

He appreciates the feeling of community and the friendly "push" of his nursing professors.

But he says his friends at Saint Joseph's make the school.

"We have good times here," he says.

"Madden" video game tournaments, snow tubing, football and basketball are just some of the activities he enjoys with his friends.

Linda, Carolyn and Max Freeman

Carolyn Freeman ’10 (center) sits with her parents Linda Freeman ’81 and Max Freeman ’78 of Scarborough, Maine. The Freemans come to all of their daughter’s home basketball games.

Carolyn Freeman, of Scarborough, Maine, knows all about basketball. A member of the Lady Monks, she follows after her mother, Linda, who was on the team more than 15 years ago and who now coaches the freshman team at Catherine McAuley High School in nearby Portland.

Although she was at first reluctant to attend a school where she could be lost in her mother's shadow, Carolyn's doubts have been replaced by pride in carrying on her mother's legacy - a legacy that has some people calling her a "gym rat," just like her mother before her.

An education major, Carolyn likes the smaller class settings Saint Joseph's offers. And she enjoys hanging with friends on the weekends.

"It's like having a big bunch of sisters in the dorms," she says. "We have movie nights and order Domino's."

Her father, Max, also attended Saint Joseph's and, according to Linda, was the "biggest cheerleader" of the women's basketball team. The Freemans met at the school and began dating when Max treated Linda to dinner out after she beat him in pick-up basketball.

"I always had my eye on her," he says.

David and Andrew Moravicks

David Moravick ’81 (right) of Biddeford, Maine, asked his son Andrew to consider Saint Joseph’s during his search for colleges.Andrew is now a freshman on campus.

Dave Moravick, now a senior lender for Rivergreen Bank in Kennebunk, chose Saint Joseph's over Fordham because he "liked the country better than the city."

"You got to know everyone," he says. "There weren't many cliques."

When his son Andrew was considering schools, Dave asked him to apply to Saint Joseph's.

At first, Andrew resisted, but when he was recruited for soccer and received an academic scholarship to the school, he began to take it more seriously.

"I've learned more about my dad from his stories of Saint Joseph's," Andrew says. "And I think he was glowing when I decided to go here."

Andrew says he's pleased with the diversity of the professors and that he likes the small class sizes and rural setting. He also looks forward to helping the cross country coach start a track team.

"We'll be participating unofficially in meets this spring," he says. "I want to leave my mark here."

Admissions director Vincent Kloskowski '95 says that during the past few years he's seen a big increase in applications from legacy students, the children of alumni. There are currently 20 legacy students enrolled, and with the growth in enrollment - this year's freshman class is the first above 1,000 students - the school is seeing more out-of-state legacy applicants, as well.

The Conleys

Susanne Conley ’06 (right) shares her graduation day with her family, including daughter Sarah Conley ’02, second from right. Susanne enrolled in her M.S. in Nursing degree through the distance education division at Saint Joseph’s while Sarah was an on-campus student.

But sometimes, it's the parents who follow their children. Sarah Conley '02, was already attending the school when her mother, Susanne, decided to earn her master's degree in nursing through the distance education program. At the time, both mother and daughter lived in Standish, Maine.

"I didn't just want a paper degree," Susanne says. "I looked at a lot of curriculum and I was impressed - Saint Joseph's had the most meat in its program."

When making her choice, she also remembered the great reputation Saint Joseph's nursing students commanded at Maine Medical Center, where she previously worked.

"We would always take the Saint Joseph's students," she says. "I was so impressed by them; they reminded me of the students from Boston."

Now program manager for pediatric oncology in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's Jimmy Fund Clinic in Boston, Susanne says the encouragement and advice she received from the school was critical to her success.

"I wouldn't have made it through without that support," she says.

Courses she could take at her own pace, combined with her two-week summer residency requirement, gave her the chance to succeed while including the opportunity to interact with other students pursuing similar goals.

And attending Sarah's commencement from Saint Joseph's bolstered Susanne's confidence in her ability to make it to her own graduation day.

Sarah, who now helps draft state legislation in upstate New York, says Saint Joseph's was "a very good fit" for her. With the assistance of her advisors on campus, she made the decision to switch from environmental science to a journalism concentration within communications.

She quickly developed a group of close friends who enjoyed going on camping trips together. And although they tried, one thing the friends were never able to do was to substantiate chaplain Father John Tokaz' story that Xavier Hall was haunted.

Shortly after she arrived on campus, Sarah also began playing piano for all the Masses, recruited by the inimitable Father John.

"Somehow, he found out I played piano," she says.

Somehow, in the close community that is Saint Joseph's College.

Close while you're here, like Joseph Crocker has already found out. Close after you're gone, like his mother and father have discovered.

"Before I came to the school, being named after it didn't mean anything," Joseph says. "Now, it's an honor."

But does that mean if he has a son, he'll name him Joseph?

"If it's a girl," he says, "maybe I'll call her Josephine."

by Peggy Roberts

Peggy Roberts is a freelance writer who lives in Falmouth, Maine.