It all started with a fall baseball game in 1984. One day Rosanne Petracca’s friend and classmate Jody Tobia invited her to see his baseball team play. He introduced her to his teammate Ron Spadaro. “Jody introduced us again at a football game a few weeks later,” Rosanne recalls. “After the game we all went to a party at the Clove Road Apartments. That night I gave Ronny my number. He wrote it on his hand. I spent the night at my friend Gaby’s apartment at Clove Road and told her all about him. Two years later she would be a bridesmaid in our wedding!”
In addition to meeting her future husband Rosanne Petracca Spadaro ’86 ’07 MA has many other fond memories of her student days. “I felt at home at Montclair State even though I didn’t live there. I can remember sitting on the steps in front of the student center on spring days; having class outside occasionally in the amphitheater; sitting in a quiet, warm spot downstairs in the student center in the winter when there was snow on the glass; going to football and baseball games; reading the Montclarion; the Conservation Club trips to Stokes State Forest; and the concerts,” she says happily. She and Ron had a great academic experience at Montclair State. “My husband and I were both business majors with a concentration in marketing,” she adds. “We were prepared well and were very confident when we went on those first interviews. I got my first job when a company recruiter came to interview on campus.”
Rosanne has been a loyal Montclair State donor since 1988. “We support MSU for two important reasons,” she shares. “One is sentimental: I met my soul mate there and that’s the most valuable thing I could ever receive. I specifically designate our donation to the baseball team because that was such a big part of our story. I sat on those bleachers, watched the game, and fell in love. The second reason is that our education was strong and so reasonably priced. What a value state schools are! Our classes were taught by smart, diverse professors who taught content with real-world value.”
For generations, Montclair State has been a place where hardworking New Jersey students have come to achieve their dream of a college education and a better life. That’s why Rosanne and Ron felt it was important to support the institution even as recent graduates. “Every dollar is important. I remember donating five or ten bucks when we first graduated,” says Rosanne. “It wasn’t a ton of money, but it was something, which is always better than nothing! Just donate what you can, every year. If we all do that, it adds up and keeps MSU strong and state of the art, which is good for everyone, past, present, and future. The important thing to remember here is that you don’t have to give a million bucks, just give what you can.”
Rosanne and Ron’s daughter, Jamie ’15, will be a sophomore at Montclair State this fall, carrying on the family tradition. “Jamie likes that the college is so close to great shopping and cool restaurants in Montclair and that she can take a train if she ever wants to go into the city,” Rosanne says. “This year she will be living at the newly renovated Blanton Hall,” she adds. “I remember being so envious when I use to pass by the kids going in and out of Blanton. I was a commuter and walked by it every single day wishing I could live there. I promised myself that if I ever had kids go to MSU that they could live there!”
Rosanne and Ron visit campus more often since their daughter became a student. “It was fun to come to some events Jamie was involved in last year,” Rosanne says. “We also came to Homecoming, the day of the huge snowstorm, and loved the alumni barbecue and beer tasting. Alumni Relations did such a great job and welcomed us like old friends.” They are still in touch with some of their old Montclair State friends, including Jody Tobia ’87 and Gaby Gubernat Costales ‘86, who was in their wedding; and several friends from the baseball team.
Rosanne and Ron have now been happily married for 25 years. In addition to Jamie, they also have son Danny, Jamie’s twin, 19, and older daughter Tori, 22. “In addition to my husband and my going to Montclair State, my two sisters, Pamela Petracca de Waal ‘89 and Jennifer Petracca Rothacker ’06, also went there,” she adds. “One of them also met her husband, Doug Rothacker ’06, at the school.”
And it all started with that long-ago fall baseball game!