Many Bonnies talk about meeting their best friends the first day they spend on campus. For John Pearson and Debbi Wells, Class of 1978, they met each other.
“John missed Orientation because his older brother was getting married, but the first day he got on campus — the day before classes started — I met him,” recalled Debbi.
John continued, “We were down in the Rathskeller. I was playing air hockey with some friends from my floor … and along came Debbi.”
They dated all four years, establishing trust early on in their relationship.
“I was on campus for two days,” John said. “Debbi was in line at the bookstore, and I handed her $100 to buy my books, which was a lot of money at that time. I think our relationship probably blossomed faster because of that environment. It was a very caring and trusting place.”
Debbi added, “It was kind of like going back in time, the way it used to be. You couldn’t hide at Bonaventure if you tried. That’s what I loved most about it.”
After graduating, John and Debbi moved to their respective hometowns. John enrolled in graduate school that fall. They were married the weekend after he received his industrial psychology master’s degree in 1981.
The couple went on to move to Texas and raise a family. Four years ago Debbi was diagnosed with cancer. The response from the St. Bonaventure community was quick and impactful.
“When I got ill a few years ago, people that I didn’t even know from St. Bonaventure, friends of John’s and acquaintances, were writing letters, and still do to this day,” Debbi reflected. “They just came out of the woodwork — that’s the kind of people you meet at St. Bonaventure. It’s what we remember the most.”
John was quick to add, “Some of those folks didn’t just send a letter, they keep sending letters four years later. They heard that Debbi was having some troubles. It’s amazing how people stepped up. I don’t think we’ve ever come across that type of environment. We’ve met plenty of nice people, but never like Bonaventure.”
Debbi concluded, “I was happy from day one at St. Bonaventure because the people care.”
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