"Relationships keep us connected to W&J"
--Alumni Couple Jepthah Orstein '04 & Kara Eaton '04
Call it fate. Call it destiny. Call it a W&J coincidence, but Washington & Jefferson College alumni couple Jepthah Orstein ’04 and Kara Eaton ’04 never actually met while on campus. While Jepthah was a wandering English major and Kara was a firm accounting and political science double major, both had mutual friends well within the six degrees of separation. Yet, they never met on campus. In fact, they did not meet until they enrolled in law school at Duquesne University and the rest is history. For the newlywed couple, the relationships that they formed at W&J and afterwards have a huge impact on why they stay connected to the College.
Jepthah, who grew up not too far from campus and whose father coaches at W&J, always knew he would go to W&J. In fact, he was so certain that upon his acceptance Jepthah’s father, W&J swimming and diving coach Mike Orstein, simply walked across the street to deliver his tuition deposit. On the other hand, Kara grew up not too far from Pittsburgh and didn’t know W&J was the school for her until she toured campus. “I loved the campus and I loved the people. I knew it was where I wanted to be,” she said.
After college, both enrolled at Duquesne University to pursue a law degree, which is when they finally met through mutual friends. “It really is the connections that we made personally and professionally that have shaped our lives today,” Jepthah said. Connections, including Dr. Joseph DiSarro of the political science department and alumnus Dianne Wainwright ’86, have helped the young professional couple in their careers.
“My first legal job was in Ms. Wainwright’s office in Pittsburgh. It is where I received my professional start,” Jepthah said. “We still have a lot of contact with and still see Dr. DiSarro all the time. We know he would do anything for any of his students, to help them in their career,” he continued.
Dr. DiSarro helped Kara find an internship with Matt Herron ’97 who, in return, helped her while she looked for jobs during law school and afterwards. “One thing that I think is special about W&J is that so many of the professors really care and go out of their way to get to know and help their students,” said Kara.
The personal connections that they found at W&J isn’t the only thing that keeps them connected. “We stay connected to W&J largely due to the fact that we both had very positive experiences at W&J” said Kara. “We both attribute a lot of our success to W&J.”
“We give back and stay connected to W&J because of the things it has given us. I was looking through old pictures and it made me want to go back to that time and place, said Jepthah. “It doesn’t take much for that feeling to happen and I want to make sure future generations can have the same feeling when they look at an old stack of W&J pictures. That is what I hope our giving and involvement does.”