When David Rosso ’10 turned 18, his girlfriend Lindsey Brown ’12 whisked him away for his first visit to the Big Apple. Navigating New York City’s grid with confidence, she guided him from one landmark to another with unerring accuracy while he shook his head at the roar, stared up at the skyscrapers and wondered how anyone could ever be part of it. The city was, the Vermonter thought, overwhelming and unreal.
Fast forward 10 years, and David is working on Madison Avenue as an assistant vice president with Credit Suisse’s Finance Business and Project Management Group. Lindsey is a head teacher at Greenwich Academy’s Cowan Center in Greenwich, Conn., where the couple lives.
In between, there was Colby-Sawyer, years apart, a wedding, a house renovation, budding careers, and a growing sense of building a life together on solid foundations laid during their college years.
They didn’t meet at Colby-Sawyer, though.
“We’ve known each other forever,” said David. “We grew up in Vermont but went to different high schools. A friend introduced us and we started hanging out, and then I went off to college.”
David credits substantial aid from Colby-Sawyer, along with Head Coach Bill Foti and Assistant Coach Josh Pincoske, for getting him to the college, where he was a guard on the men’s basketball team and finished his career with 1,124 points. His coaches helped him become a pivotal member of the basketball team and set the foundation for his being part of a global team in the workplace.
“I basically followed Dave to Colby-Sawyer, which I didn’t think I’d do,” said Lindsey. “But I had visited him there, and he’d made a really amazing group of friends who adopted me.”
Another attraction for her was the child development program. Since first grade, she’d wanted to be a teacher.
She has stayed her course; Lindsey earned a master’s degree in literacy and is in her third year as a head teacher after starting as a preschool assistant. She teaches three- and four-year-olds, and has come to appreciate her education on a deeper level.
“I’ve had so many colleagues say, ‘Wow, you have such an amazing foundation in teaching,’” said Lindsey. “Colby-Sawyer’s child development program gives you a lot of field hours; I graduated with experience working with children, not just reading and research and discussing teaching. I was teaching and learning from teachers all the time. Looking back, I’m so grateful. I miss Windy Hill every day. I didn’t realize then how lucky I was to have such an experience in a top-notch facility.”
Ask David what his Colby-Sawyer education means to him, and he has a simple answer: “It means everything.”
“Every professor knew my name and wanted me to succeed. If I needed extra help, they’d welcome me into their offices any time,” he said. “I wasn’t just a number. I formed all these relationships with professors and students; we were so interactive, and that built the foundation of how I interact with people, how I got this opportunity. I can definitely thank Colby-Sawyer for my business foundation. I learned you never know who you’re going to meet, so always be ready to present yourself in a professional manner. Shake people’s hands, look them in the eyes, have your elevator speech ready. That’s how I fell into the banking world.”
Falling is one way to put it, but really, David adjusted his goals to accommodate extraordinary opportunities.
The reality is, David concedes, that jobs like the one he once envisioned with a professional sports team can be hard to come by. Accepted to graduate school, he decided instead to work for his future father-in-law’s excavation and property management business back in Vermont. He spent quite a bit of time at a property whose owner worked for Credit Suisse and, as David says, “one thing led to another.” Through that connection, he landed a six-month gig in the chief operating office (COO) at Credit Suisse’s North Carolina location. The offer meant a major decision: to leave Lindsey and New England.
Lindsey, reprising her tour-guide role, nudged him in what appears to have been the right direction. “He wasn’t sure what to do, but I said, ‘Go for it,’” she said. “I told him, ‘You don’t have to stay; just see what it’s like.’”
In the COO, every day was different and expanded David’s knowledge about the bank and the industry. He turned permanent within three months and worked there until Lindsey graduated. Her sense of direction extends well beyond a map, though, and she had a plan. With an ill grandmother, Lindsey knew she didn’t want to move to North Carolina. “I told him, ‘I’ll get a job outside of New York City, and you’re going to go to work at Credit Suisse there.’ And he was like, it’s not that easy.”
But sometimes, if you make it so, it is.
While apartment hunting in Connecticut, Lindsey got a call for an impromptu interview at the Cowan Center that turned into a job offer the next day.
“I was like, ‘All right. I’ve got the job and picked out an apartment you haven’t seen, but your mom and I like it, so now you have to get your transfer,’” Lindsey said. “It worked out.”
The following year, they married in the state that holds their hearts, on the 250-acre farm Lindsey’s grandmother grew up on in East Dover, Vt. No one had lived in the 19th-century farmhouse for 30 years, and given the choice between buying a place in Greenwich or bringing the old place back to life, the newlyweds opted for the latter.
Woodchucks used to run from the house when they pulled into the drive, and there was a memorable candle-lit Valentine’s Day dinner before they installed wiring, but two years later, the couple revels in the heat and light and running water.
“It’s finished and we just love it up there. It’s our escape,” said David, who was in Colby-Sawyer’s first sugaring class and now helps with the family’s syrup production. “The city life is awesome and amazing, but it can be a lot. I love to fish. We like to be outside, so it’s nice to go up every weekend.”
Lindsey’s found a way to bring Vermont back to Connecticut, using the farm setting to teach her students about everything from farm animals and pollination to ice cream production and the logistics of transporting produce. While early childhood education is her passion, she can also imagine a future in a kindergarten or first-grade classroom where she can use even more of her literacy skills and focus on project work and curriculum development.
She can imagine another life for David, too, who last year won a Supervisor of the Year award for his work mentoring the high school internship program in his division at Credit Suisse.
“Whenever he’s done with this crazy banking life, he would be a really good basketball coach or teacher,” she said. “He’s really good at connecting with high school students.”
“Do I see myself in banking in 20 years? I don’t know,” David said. “I don’t know if New York will ever feel normal because it is so different from what I’m used to, but it’s definitely comfortable now. I’ll do it until I wake up one day and quit to become a Christmas tree farmer in Vermont.” He’s joking … maybe.
Whatever the future holds for Lindsey and David, Colby-Sawyer will be part of it, with Friendsgivings and new memories, such as of the alumni event they attended in Greenwich this fall where they met President Susan D. Stuebner. “It was fun to meet others who had gone to Colby-Sawyer, and to meet Sue and hear about the direction the college is going in was nice,” said Lindsey. “When you leave school, you feel like you’re ready to go, but now I’m realizing I have this life because of my college experience, and I have more of an appreciation for Colby-Sawyer.”