Ann Kardos ’02 and Lee Morrissette ’02
Ohio native Ann Kardos ’02 came to Syracuse University for the first time during a Fall Friday visit and was impressed by it all—the beautiful buildings, the presentation for prospective students at the Newhouse School, the spectacular fall foliage. But it was a tasty egg-salad sandwich eaten in a University dining hall that proved Syracuse could be home for a while. “That was it—a beautiful fall day and a palatable egg-salad sandwich—I was sold,” says Kardos, who works as a librarian at a university in Metro West Boston.
Her husband, Boston-area architect Lee Morrissette ’02 was more familiar with the University, visiting campus a number of times while still in high school, since his older brother was a student in the College of Engineering. “Syracuse University felt like a place where lots of impressive things happened,” he says. “There were highly ranked sports teams, serious researchers, students of every imaginable background, beautiful buildings, and lots and lots of orange sweatshirts.”
A 6-week Summer College program convinced him the University was the place for him to get an education, whether it was in architecture or some other major. “I didn’t care if the architecture thing worked out, there was plenty at Syracuse for me to wonder about and investigate,” he says.
The two met while living on the same floor at Shaw Hall, dated for two years, broke up, then got back together again senior year. After graduation, Kardos decided she wanted to take the “All-American road trip” by herself. When Morrissette asked if he could go along, she agreed.
They camped across the country for two months, ending up at the Boulder, Colorado, home of a person Morrissette had met while studying architecture in Florence, Italy, with SU Abroad. They lived in Colorado for four years, but wanted to move back to the East Coast—preferably Boston, where a number of Syracuse friends lived. When Kardos was accepted to graduate school at a Boston-area college, they packed up and relocated to Massachusetts.
Their Syracuse University educations and relationships play a large part in their lives, professionally and personally. “The most meaningful thing about my time at SU is the lasting connections, the friendships I’ve made,” Kardos says. “We have so many close friends from Syracuse. We recently spent Thanksgiving with Lee’s freshman year college roommate and his extended family, and it’s the fourth or fifth time we’ve done that. Syracuse is in our blood; it’s really the background of our lives.” A classmate she met during her first days on campus even officiated their wedding.
For Morrissette, the “architecture thing” worked out—he found his comfort zone early, from his first days in studio. “It felt great to be drawing, wondering, arguing about ideas, and designing when others were locked away in the library, dorm rooms, or video-editing suite,” he says. “That studio in Slocum Hall was a place where I could do whatever I wanted, and stay as long as I wanted, until I got it figured out and was proud of my work.”
He maintains close connections with architecture colleagues and has found the Orange network to be a valuable resource. “These connections have led to teaching opportunities, good friends, and in more than one case, employment,” he says.
Grateful for the financial assistance they received to attend Syracuse, Kardos and Morrissette are loyal donors to the University. “I had few options for college, because my parents just couldn’t really pay much for me to go,” Kardos says. “But I was a great student, and Syracuse clearly saw something in me. Both Lee and I had someone or some organization give toward our educations every year. One day, we hope we can make a contribution for every year in a student’s education, just like someone did for us.”