For Westerly’s Lynch family, Providence College is part of the lineage

For Westerly’s Lynch family, Providence College is part of the lineage

The Westerly Sun

WESTERLY — Legacy is a word that means a lot at Providence College, but the Lynch family — well, they take it to a special level.

Talk about keeping it in the family: Michael and Gina Lynch, of Westerly, are both alums and five of their six children have graduated or will graduate from PC. Both of their fathers graduated from PC along with five of the couple’s siblings. Last week, the couple helped their youngest son, Matthew, move into PC for his freshman year.

Although there’s definitely some pride in keeping the family legacy at PC going, Michael, who graduated in 1983 with a degree in business marketing and is now a lawyer in Westerly, said their family’s dedication to the liberal arts college is simply a testament to the kind of education and experience each member has received. The couple said they never put any pressure on their children to follow in their footsteps but wanted them to go wherever they would be most happy.

The Catholic school, founded in 1917, has given each student in their family a well-rounded education, while also providing insight about good morals and core truths of the faith, he said.

“Each of our kids, my wife and I and our fathers and siblings have all graduated PC with our eyes wide open, ready to go out into the world or onto further education and truly succeed,” Michael said. “It’s great because once a Friar, forever a Friar. We’ve gone all over the place and have almost always found a PC alum. You see someone wearing a Friar’s jersey or shirt and it just brings everything full circle.”

Both Michael and Gina agree that the best thing they got out of their college experience were lasting relationships and best of all: each other. Without having met one another at PC they wouldn’t have the six children they have today, they said.

“We are so fortunate and blessed to have the family that we have,” Michael said. “We’ve also all developed lifelong relationships from our time at PC. I think those four years at college should be the best years of your life at that time and then you walk out of the college gates ready for whatever comes your way.”

Gina, who graduated in 1981 with a degree in psychology, said that while quality of education and experience at PC certainly helped to “sell” it to other family members, she also thinks the fact that both their fathers, siblings and now five children have gone there was mostly a fluke. Even their daughter Alexandra, who attended Duke University for her undergrad degree, took a graduate level class at PC.

“It certainly makes a difference in making a decision about college when you see how happy someone is at school and I think the religious aspect was important to me because they integrate that aspect without pushing it on you,” Gina said. “But all my kids and my own siblings and Michael’s siblings could have gone to any college and they all went to PC so I truly believe that’s because of the experiences and education they’ve seen and heard other family talk about.”

For their children, she said it seemed like all the kids kind of sold the idea to another without even trying to. Their daughter, Danica, class of 2013, who looked at many other schools and thought seriously about leaving Rhode Island for college, settled on PC when it came down to it. Today, she’s a physical therapist in Boston and said that although at first she wanted to do something different than her family, when she took a campus tour at PC as a prospective student, she knew it was the place for her.

“I remember walking on campus as a 17-year-old and feeling like I could have been left there that day and been totally at home,” she said. “It’s awesome that I can share all my experiences with all my family but if you talk to all of us, we’ll all tell you something different about the school because we’ve all had different experiences. But the common thread is that PC really prepared all of us for life after college and gave us forever-friends.”

Matthew, the couple’s youngest and who just moved into PC last week as a business and marketing major, said he’s wanted to go to PC since he was young and first started hearing stories his siblings told about the friends they made while there.

“They’re still close with all their college friends and I really want friendships like that, friendships that last a lifetime,” he said. “Even my parents have college friends they’re still close with. It’s really cool and I can’t wait to have those experiences.”

While Gina said there are likely many other families who have carried on the PC legacy, she doubts there are many with three generations of alumni on both sides.

“It’s a true legacy,” she said. “We have a common thread and it’s really pretty cool.”


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