Joan (Barber) and Mitchel Syp ’72, P’01

Fairfield University’s transition from an all-male to a coeducational campus marked a significant moment for many, including Joan (Barber) and Mitchel Syp. Mitchel reminisced about the arrival of female students when he was in his sophomore year, recalling the significant impact it had on campus life. Joan, one of the pioneering women at Fairfield, joined as a junior and ultimately crossed paths with Mitch during an Orientation program for new students. The two soon found themselves on a movie date, laying the foundation for what would become a lifelong partnership.

Despite Mitch’s earlier days on the rugby field, he eventually found himself treading the boards at the Playhouse, coaxing Joan to join him in the spotlight. Their junior year saw Mitch gifting Joan his Fairfield class pin, signifying their commitment to each other. Shortly after their graduation, the couple married, unknowingly contributing to the rich tapestry of StagMates, a tradition that has seen thousands of alumni couples tie the knot.

Fast forward to their 50th anniversary, the Syps became the first StagMate couple to return to campus for such a milestone event, presenting an opportunity for them to reflect on their lasting bond alongside their classmates and friends. Their enduring connection to Fairfield doesn’t end there, as their daughter, Bridget, also graduated from the university. The Syps, having retired, now reside in the scenic town of West Dennis on Cape Cod, cherishing the memories of their time at Fairfield and celebrating their enduring love.

Their journey serves as a testament to the enduring impact of Fairfield University and the powerful connections forged within its community, showcasing the lasting power of their college experiences.

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