By Katharine Webster
This year, the Hulme family will miss the River Hawks’ season-opening ice hockey game during Homecoming.
But nearly every summer weekend is a UMass Lowell homecoming for the Hulmes – grandparents Gilbert ’62 and Marlene, parents John ’90 and Kathy ’89, and children Jacob ’17 ’19, Lucas ’19, and Katelyn ’21 – as they gather in three tiny summer cottages on Cobbetts Pond in Windham, N.H., with their UML spouses, sweethearts and friends.
For the Hulmes, the bonds formed at UMass Lowell are a family tradition. The same is true for the Rosati and Beck families. Here are their stories.
The Hulmes – Three Generations of River Hawks at Home on the Pond
Gilbert Hulme grew up in Lawrence, Mass., and went to Lowell Tech to study physics
. An excellent student and member of Delta Kappa Phi
, he stayed on after graduation to teach. That’s when he met his future wife, Marlene, who grew up in Lowell and took one class at the college while working. Both of their children were born in Lowell.
After a few years of teaching and doing research on radar, Gilbert took a job with General Electric in upstate New York. The Hulmes returned every summer to a cottage on Cobbetts Pond that has been in Marlene’s family for generations. They swam and boated, spent time with family and friends – and visited the nearby college campus.
By the time he was starting high school, John, their younger child, had gotten serious about swimming. Over every winter break while in high school, he trained with the men’s swim team at the university, under the late coach Dick Kenney ’69
. Those ties brought John to the university as a freshman.
“I was born at Lowell General, my mom grew up in Lowell and my dad taught at Lowell. I swam with the team at Lowell over the break, and I applied to Lowell because I wanted to go there for swimming,” John says today. “So coming back here was a no-brainer for me.”
Once here, he played soccer and rowed varsity crew – but missed the swim season due to a bad case of pneumonia. Although he’d done well in his business classes, he transferred to Syracuse University and changed his major to psychology. That, he says, was an expensive experiment that did not go well. He decided to try Lowell again and went back to business.
And then, things turned around for him, thanks in large part to Kathy.
Kathy Murphy grew up in Andover, Mass., the oldest of 11 children, and came to the university to study industrial management
. Four of her siblings – Matt, Mark, Margaret and Kelly – and two of her siblings’ spouses came through the university, too, in majors ranging from computer science
to physical therapy
“It’s in the family,” Kathy says. “It was what we could afford. My first semester tuition and fees were $850. I was able to work in the summers and make enough money to pay for it.”
After three semesters on a waiting list for campus housing, Kathy moved into Ames Hall. Although Ames was an all-girls residence, it was also the only wheelchair accessible dorm on campus, so two young men lived there as well. One was John’s friend. She first met John when she and some friends went down to the lobby to watch TV.
“He happened to be in the lobby with these guys. Most of us didn’t have TVs in our rooms back then,” she says. “We ran into each other a few more times and started saying hello because we saw each other on the way to classes. We just hung out, and then he asked me to go to a movie or something."
Once they got serious, John buckled down and finished a degree in accounting
: “My wife’s three years younger than me, but she graduated before me,” he says, laughing.
Their three children grew up in Vermont and then Methuen, Mass. In 2003, when all three were in school, the Hulmes decided to start their own business: Hulme Fence. They got their own cottage on the pond, right next to John’s parents.
When it came time to apply to colleges, all three children applied to UMass Lowell. Jacob came to play golf and for the strong engineering program. He graduated with a B.S. in mechanical engineering
and a master’s in engineering management
. A co-op
at Omni Components Corp. in Hudson, N.H., got him a job offer at graduation. He now supervises more than 100 people at the precision machining company.
Lucas, like his father, wasn’t sure what he wanted to study, but ultimately graduated with his degree in business management
. He now works with his parents at Hulme Fence.
“He’s helped us really grow our company from a mom-and-pop business to being one of the largest distributors of Activeyard and other fencing materials in the country,” John says.
Jacob’s high school girlfriend, Courtney (Bradley) Hulme ’16, came to UML, too, and majored in biology
. They’re now married, while Lucas is engaged to his high school and college sweetheart, Shaley Horan ’18, now a nurse at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center. (A few years ago, the Hulmes bought a third cottage, as their family expanded.)
Katelyn chose UMass Lowell with encouragement from Shaley and will graduate in December with her nursing
“The nursing program is great, and I can graduate debt-free,” she says. “And if I didn’t go to UMass Lowell, it would have been a running joke.”
The Becks – Building Bonds that Last
Deborah (Payne) Beck ’93 also met her future husband, Martin ’93, because he had friends in her dorm.
“I had my eye on him. We were friends our freshman year, but he was dating someone else, and then I began dating someone else,” she says.
Deborah persisted in finding chances to hang out with Martin. When she found out that he was in the drama club, she volunteered to work crew for a show. Martin was in the business
program, studying accounting. Deborah began by majoring in psychology
and changed her mind a couple of times before deciding on business management.
They began dating in their sophomore year and married in 1995. She still has fond memories – and lasting friendships – from her college years.
“I really made some great friends who felt like family to me,” she says. “I got a great education, and I was able to get a job right away when I graduated.”
Deborah worked in tax accounting for many years, then returned to school to study radiation therapy. She now works in cancer treatment at Boston Medical Center. Martin worked for State Street Bank Corp. and Bank of New York Mellon, where he’s moved from the accounting division to the software development division.
The Becks were even more impressed with UMass Lowell when they accompanied their son, Kevin, on an admissions tour.
“I think it’s amazing all of the things that have changed since my husband and I went to school there,” Deb says. “We said, ‘We wish we could go back to school now!’”
Kevin, a mechanical engineering major, applied to the university because of UML’s reputation in engineering, its affordability and its location in Lowell. His parents live in Attleboro, but Kevin is living off-campus in Lowell.
“There’s a lot of stuff to do in cities like Lowell that you can’t get on an isolated college campus, like restaurants, off-campus housing and just meeting more people in the community,” he says.
As for his education? “It’s been going great.”
The Rosatis – UMass Lowell Ties Brought Them Together
Deb (Motyka) Rosati ’82 ’90 met Michael ’82 over a septic system – and then they discovered they’d both graduated from UMass Lowell.
Deb, who had a B.S. in health administration
and was about to complete her master’s in the same field, was director of the Wayland Health Department when they met in 1990. Michael, who’d earned a B.S. in chemical engineering
, had been hired as a consultant by the town board of health to review septic plans and monitor soil tests. The pair soon began dating.
Over the years, the family came to hockey games and Homecoming, where Deb still meets some of her former roommates and close friends. Now, their second child, Alex, is studying criminal justice
at UMass Lowell.
“My husband and I were very happily promoting the school. We think that we got great educations there, and he saw that we were happy and successful in what we were doing,” she says.
Deb headed up several public health departments in the area before working for Legal Seafoods for many years. She now runs her own consulting business, while Michael works for a civil engineering and land planning firm in Stoneham, Mass.
Alex says he chose UML in part because it was close to Boston, where he was playing semi-pro paintball with the Bay State Bandits by his senior year in high school. Once here, he roomed on campus with three of his Melrose High School soccer teammates. The four friends still live together in an off-campus apartment.
Alex will graduate a semester behind his friends, though. While they’re all seniors, Alex stepped up to the pro leagues of paintball, first playing for the New York Extreme
and then for the Edmonton Impact. He took off fall semester 2019 to play for the Canadian team, putting him behind on his degree.
Now, thanks to COVID-19, he’s back with the Extreme, although he won’t be playing in the NXL World Cup of Paintball in Florida next month.
“It’s been a crazy year,” he says. “I’ll just focus on school for this year and try to get that done.”