Alums Celebrate Kean Firsts and Forevers
College includes lots of firsts. For alumni Olivia Triano and Alex Lopes, some of their fondest firsts were together, including the first time they met while working in Kean Athletics.
Triano was a student-athlete and the manager for the men’s lacrosse program, and Lopes was an assistant coach for the lacrosse program. The couple eventually experienced their first date and, more recently, enjoyed their first dance as husband and wife during their wedding at Kean’s STEM Building.
Kean plays such a significant part of their lives together that Triano and Lopes had a blue-and-white, Kean Athletics-themed wedding cake. The cake topper was a bride holding a field hockey stick and a groom with his lacrosse stick sharing a high five.
“Sports is what brought us together and our lives revolve around these sports so much that it was a no brainer to include this in our wedding,” said Triano.
The two met in 2012 when Triano was in her senior year and Lopes was in his first year of graduate school. Triano was pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health at the time, and Lopes was pursuing his master’s degree in early childhood education. On the sports front, Triano was playing basketball and field hockey with the Cougars and was named First Team All-American, and Lopes had been a standout Division I lacrosse player and four-year starter as an undergraduate at Saint Joseph’s University. She was a two-time winner of the most prestigious honor bestowed to a Kean student-athlete, the D'Angola Award, and he ranked second in games played and ninth in assists in his program's history.
The couple’s first date is a perfect example of how Kean and sports are entwined in their lives. The two met at the Union train station and had breakfast at Rock 'n’ Joe Coffee Bar before heading to New York for the Giants Super Bowl parade.
When it came to planning their wedding day, the couple chose to hold their reception at the New Jersey Center for Science, Technology and Mathematics, commonly referred to as the STEM Building, for sentimental reasons. Triano says Lopes wanted to get married where they met.
“Kean University is very special to me,” confirmed Triano, who also earned her master’s degree in special education at Kean. “We are happy with our decision to get married at Kean. The staff and personnel we worked with helped make our special day exceptional. We are grateful to all.”
Fittingly, the couple said their “I Do’s” in front of numerous Kean faculty, alumni and staff who shared in the spirit and special occasion of their wedding, including the field hockey coach, men's lacrosse coach and members of Kean’s sports teams, both past and present.
While Lopes has moved on to coach elsewhere, Triano is not yet ready to let go of her Kean connection and is now the assistant coach for Kean’s field hockey team. No matter where the next period of their lives takes them, the two Kean University alumni look forward to many more firsts as Mrs. and Mr. Lopes.