WRITTEN BY MARK HOUSER
Years ago, the two business majors shared a room with their pet hamster, Felicia, and played in co-ed mud football games in the field where Sewall Center now stands.“But probably my favorite memory,” Dee Ann says, “was coming back early in the morning after a night out with all our suitemates, and I would make ultimate PB&J sandwiches that we would pass around in a circle and eat.”
They were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings, went on to successful careers in their fields, and remained close friends as they raised families. Diane is a wealth management advisor and a co-founder of Legend Financial Advisors in McCandless, while Dee Ann is chief financial officer of specialty steelmaker Ampco-Pittsburgh. Now their kids, sophomores Haley Johnson, a nursing major, and Alex Pearson, a double major in accounting and finance major, along with freshman marketing major David Pearson, are legacies on the same campus their moms once called home.
Hockey is what first got Robert Morris on the boys’ radar. The Pearsons are avid fans, and the boys watched the Colonials play at the RMU Island Sports Center and at Consol Energy Center. Alex came to campus for a tour, and was impressed with the School of Business; his brother equally so. “It’s comforting that they’re this close to home, yet they’ve got their own sense of independence,” Diane says. “Robert Morris is so completely different from when I was here, so it’s hard to compare what I went through to what they’re going through because there are just so many opportunities now that weren’t there when I was here.”
Dee Ann says she wanted to steer Haley toward her alma mater. “I was excited, and the funny story about that is I suggested Robert Morris to her, but sometimes you want to find your own way. Something about going to the same school as your parents.” Haley looked as far as Louisiana, but in the end she decided her mom was right, and chose RMU.
So to the delight of the two old friends, sending their children off to college turned into a reunion. “We moved them in together at RMU, and then we all went to Primanti’s and had lunch. Then we came back and dropped them off,” Diane says. “We watched the two of them walk off, and it was like, OK. So we both high-fived and went home.”