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Monday, October 26, 2020


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Westhampton college celebrates four-year roommates

Westhampton College staff hosted a dinner for four-year roommates on Feb. 7, an annual tradition celebrating lasting college friendships among senior women.

The steak and wine dinner was held at the Westhampton College Deanery and was attended by 16 women, said Kerry Fankhauser, associate dean of Westhampton College.

Attendees participated in a variety of roommate-themed trivia games, which eventually got very competitive, Katherine Utz said. Although she and her roommate, Kari Oransky, didn't win, they enjoyed reminiscing about their four years together as roommates, Utz said.

Utz and Oransky have been attached at the hip since orientation week freshman year and are often referred to as "KariKatherine" among friends, Utz said. In addition to sharing rooms on campus, the two lived together while studying abroad in Copenhagen, Utz said.

After studying abroad, the two lived in Robins and had bunk beds, Utz said. Utz couldn't have lived with anyone else in that small of a room and stayed sane, she said.

Although Utz and Oransky lived together in Copenhagen, the Westhampton College does not take into account semesters spent abroad when considering who qualifies for the dinner, said Elizabeth "Betty" Prince, Westhampton College administrative assistant.

Lisa Fronek, who also attended the dinner, stayed in Richmond last fall while her roommate Monica DeMartin studied in Barcelona. Fronek lived in the apartments and DeMartin lived in North Court last spring, Fronek said.

Although Fronek and DeMartin did not choose to live together freshman year, they got along instantly, Fronek said. Living with DeMartin was one of the best things about going to Richmond, she said.

Although the past four years have provided Oransky and Utz with a consistent roommate, their living situations will most likely change after graduation; Oransky will be in Boston, and Utz will live in D.C. next year, Oransky said. Although there will be a much greater distance between the two, they are already planning to visit each other and have been looking up flights, Utz said.

Fronek is unsure whether she will be in Richmond next year, but she and DeMartin would love to live together if they end up in the same city, Fronek said.

When Westhampton College Dean Juliette Landphair came to Richmond in 2002, the dinner was already in place, she said. This tradition is special for Landphair because it shows how healthy female friendships represent love, respect and most of all, a source of support, Landphair said.

"It is a relationship where you are accepted no matter what," Landphair said. "I want this for all of our Westhampton students: to graduate with those friends who will be there to listen and support you for decades to come."

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After the dinner Oransky said she had felt nostalgic about her four years coming to an end and feeling happy to have found a great friend and roommate. At the dinner, Oransky noticed that each set of roommates appeared to be having their own conversations throughout the night, she said.

"I guess that just goes to show that roommates who live together for four years never have a shortage of things to talk about," Oransky said, "no matter how much time we spend together."

Contact reporter Gaby Calabrese at

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