Romers Reunite After 30 Years
Date published: June 29, 2020
Cathleen (Gilmore) Guinn, BA ’91, Milagros “Millie” Lozano, Ph.D., BA ’91, and Anna
(Gordon) Torres, BA ’91, met at the Cap Bar in November 2018, almost 30 years after
their spring 1989 Rome semester. Excited to see each other (and Super Dave), inspired
by the photos of Rome on the walls, and invigorated by their conversation and shared
memories, these three onetime Rome “sisters” conceived the idea of gathering several
of their former classmates for a weekend reunion.
“It started off with us talking about how we should all get together, and invite others
from our class, and snowballed from there,” explained Torres. “It was also somewhat
surreal to realize that we were all turning 50 in the next few months.”
As they talked more about whom to invite, they decided that they would limit the group
to other women from their Rome semester.
“What we went through together as Romers was so profound,” said Torres. “We experienced
something so incredible. As most of us hadn’t seen each other for almost 30 years,
though, it made sense to keep the gathering manageable.”
They gradually compiled a list of 23 names, reaching out through Facebook and email
until they had contacted them all; ultimately, 11 committed to the weekend. Torres,
now a lawyer in San Antonio, found a house to rent near the town of Marble Falls in
the Texas Hill Country and also rented a van to take them all to a vineyard, then
a country and western bar. She also tracked and divvied up the costs of the weekend.
Guinn and Lozano made sure that sustenance and gifts were plentiful — “girls’ weekend”
T-shirts and glasses with everyone’s names, as well as a plethora of smoked meats
and other great food. As they were all turning 50, the weekend became a joint 50th
birthday celebration in addition to a Rome reunion.
Guinn, the most pragmatic of the three, pointed out that the weekend was to be, in
true Roman fashion, ultimately about “food, frolic, friendship and faith … and of
course wine!” She began a GroupMe for those who accepted the invitation to reconnect
and titled it “The UD Wine Philosophers.”
“Reconnecting with our college friends and seeing who and where we are at this stage
in our lives was invigorating!” said Guinn.
Like Torres, Guinn and Lozano live in Texas; Guinn is a teacher in Arlington and Lozano
a psychologist in Irving. However, their fellow Rome semester alumnae flew in from
all over the U.S., including Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota and Missouri. Assembling at
the house in Texas, they picked up right where they’d left off.
Torres recalled that in some ways, they all regressed quickly to their 20-year-old
selves. It was easy to laugh and joke and remember crazy, memorable experiences from
their time together in Rome. The maturity of three additional decades, however, added
depth to their reunion. They shared with each other many of the sorrows they’d experienced
since they had last been together, including cancer, divorce and widowhood, as well
as their pride in their families and professions.
“There was joy and happiness, but also pain,” said Torres. “It ended up being so good
for our souls.”
They poured through old Rome photo albums, visited a vineyard and went dancing, reminiscing
all the while. Their Rome class was one of the last to stay at the Via del Pescaccio
campus, although they were the first UD class to visit what would become the Eugene
Constantin Campus (known affectionately by us all as “Due Santi”). They visited the
“new campus” during their semester in Rome, when the university was making arrangements
to purchase the property. It had been a beautiful day, Torres recalled, and she and
Lozano pushed each other into the swimming pool.
At the end of the weekend, the group made a commitment to get together again every
other year — with the next time being the same year as their 30-year UD reunion in
2021. They’re hoping that other women from their Rome semester will join them for
A few days after everyone returned home, Lozano left with her mother for a pilgrimage
to Rome with their diocese, where they were able to meet Pope Francis. Lozano had
taken her “girls’ weekend” shirt with her to the Vatican, and she asked the pope to
bless it, telling him the story of UD’s Rome Program and the Due Santi campus. After
he blessed her and her mother, Lozano asked him to also bless the shirt, which contained
all of the initials of the onetime Rome classmates who had reunited that weekend in
Texas, and of course he did so. When Lozano told her friends, they wanted her to share
the story with the rest of the UD community, as well.
Since their birthday/reunion weekend, the group has stayed in touch and supported
each other through emails, texts and a chat group; during the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve
had two or three Zoom meetings.
“We went back to what we were in Rome but have also shared what we’ve become,” said
Torres. “It’s so profound.”
“It’s a story of love,” said Lozano. “Love for school, people, Catholicism — love
for what brought us together. UD made me,” she added. “I hope that this reunion will
be just the first of many to come.”