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Matches Made at Eastern

Published on April 25, 2024

Matches Made at Eastern

Students often forge lifelong relationships during their time at Eastern, including romantic ones. Bette (Shea) and Terry Lomme, who met at Eastern in 1972, will celebrate their 49th anniversary in June, while Dan and Melissa (Heath) McIsaac, who graduated in 2012, will celebrate their second in October.

The Lommes

Bette and Terry Lomme

Bette and Terry Lomme as students at Eastern

Bette and Terry Lomme

Life changed for Bette Shea ’75 in the fall of 1972 when she met Terry Lomme ’74 in psychology class. She signed up for the course late after making a schedule change. “Happenstance can open the door to some wonderful outcomes, as it did in this case!” she recalled. “Terry was enrolled in the course, and it was the beginning of a wonderful romance.”

The two dated for the rest of their time at Eastern and married in June 1975 shortly after her graduation. The Lommes will celebrate their 49th anniversary in June. As Bette describes it, “We have been married for 49 wonderful years!”
Terry transferred to Eastern after being discharged from the Coast Guard in 1970 and attending a community college. He became a resident assistant at Winthrop Hall and later was a dorm director at Burr Hall. He also participated in intramural sports — softball, water polo and basketball — and coached a women’s intramural softball team. He majored in psychology and minored in sociology, studies that turned out to be very helpful to his career as an attorney and as an elected Old Saybrook probate judge serving nine shoreline towns.
Bette majored in education and worked as a resident assistant in Crandall Hall. She was “terribly homesick” as a freshman and credits her physical education teacher, Floretta “Pinky” Crabtree, with making her feel valued and nurtured. “She brought out the best in everyone,” Bette said. Bette went on to have a 35-year teaching career in East Haddam.
Terry also recalls strong mentoring from Dean Robert Meshanic and Dean Betty Tipton. Both Bette and Terry took advantage of the small student population and campus at Eastern to meet others and forge strong friendships.
The couple have lived in Essex for 30 years. They enjoy boating on the river, eagle watching and vacationing in Newport, Nantucket and Block Island. Terry is a car enthusiast and Bette loves to garden.
The Lommes returned to campus recently for an alumni reunion. “We were incredibly impressed by the enhancement and modernization of the campus,” Bette said. Their great nephew is now a first-year student at Eastern. “We hope that the current students will enjoy their time at Eastern and will be able to use their education as much as we did,” said Terry.

The McIsaacs

Dan and Melissa McIsaac on campus

The McIsaacs on their wedding day

Melissa and Dan McIsaac

Dan and Melissa (Heath) McIsaac ’12 first met more than 10 years ago when they were students at Eastern. Dan majored in communication and Melissa majored in English, but it was a shared class in Renaissance literature that broke the ice and made them acquaintances. They went separate ways after graduating, only to reunite at their all-time favorite restaurant, Willi Brew, six years later in 2018, when their relationship officially kicked off.

During another visit to Willimantic in 2021, they took a walk around campus. Melissa recalls Dan being suspiciously quiet during the drive. “He was so nervous, so I kind of knew what was up,” she said. When they reached the water fountain in front of the Student Center, Dan kneeled and proposed. “He told me that’s where he remembered first seeing me and that it felt right to go back to where it all began, to a place that is so special to us.”

Melissa’s time at Eastern was special because, in addition to meeting her future husband, it was also the place where she made lifelong friends, gained independence and felt at home. For Dan, his time at Eastern was “nothing short of amazing.” From the first days of orientation until the day he graduated, Eastern felt like home, and everyone who attended and worked there felt like family. Not only did it connect him with Melissa, but also to an incredible group of friends that he will cherish forever. 

On Oct. 29, 2022, they had a beautiful, rustic New England fall wedding beside family and friends, and spent their honeymoon in New Hampshire. They look forward to attending music festivals and traveling to the Pacific Northwest in their near-future adventures.

Dan is currently employed with a marketing company that he loves and Melissa is back home at Eastern, working as a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid. In love with the unique and rural southeastern part of Connecticut, they recently bought a house in the area, where they spend each day as best friends, partners and the proud parents of two very chunky pups.

Categories: Alumni