Keene State College Grads Have More in Common than Expected
When Eric Mealy and Fiona Morrice walked across the stage to receive their diplomas at Keene State’s graduation, the two shared a special moment that not only had to do with their present accomplishment, but also their past.
Mealy and Morrice didn’t know each other when they first came to Keene State. It wasn’t until a year later while sitting in the same women studies and gender class that they learned that they were both adopted from the same FANA (the Spanish acronym for the Foundation for the Assistance of Abandoned Children) orphanage in Bogota, Colombia.
But they weren’t the only two Keene State students with ties to the orphanage. Recent alums Becky Farr ’14 and Lauren Villanova ’15 were also adopted from FANA.
After leaving the orphanage, all four were raised by loving families in the United States. Both Farr and Villanova were brought up in Connecticut. A journalism major at Keene State, Farr grew up in Berlin and now works for FOX61-TV in Hartford. Villanova, a management major and four-year member of the Owl field hockey team, was raised in Hamden. Villanova recently got married and plans to return to Colombia this summer.
Awarded the diversity and leadership scholarship when he arrived at Keene State, Mealy was raised in Hudson, NH. He had an individualized major that involved his passion for art and music and sang in the College’s a cappella group, Chock Full of Notes. Hailing from Hartsdale, NY, Morrice was an elementary education major at Keene State and spent the spring semester working at the Johnathan Daniels School in Keene. Following graduation, Morrice rejoined her family in Indiana, where she will spend the summer working at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, a reading enrichment program for children who might otherwise not have access to books.
Before leaving campus, Mealy and Morrice, with the help of Sandra Garcia in the College’s Office of Multicultural Student Support, were able to arrange a separate ceremony, displaying the Colombian flag in the Lloyd P. Young Student Center. Throughout the year, the two met to talk about the emotional bond that goes with being adopted. “I told him I feel like you’re a brother to me – and he felt the same way,” said Morrice. “I think this is connecting us for life.”