F&M Stories

Class of '89 Couple Finds Vibrant Community in Lancaster

When Claudia Mandarano Pace and Peter Pace ’89, P’20, P’22 graduated from Franklin & Marshall, they never would have imagined that their lives would bring them back to Lancaster years later, but that’s exactly what happened.

Claudia and Peter met during their first year at F&M and began dating toward the end of their time on campus. They married in 1994 and spent time in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia while Peter completed a residency and fellowship and began work as a pulmonary and critical care doctor. 

Eventually, the couple and their two young sons settled in Madison, Conn., where they lived from 2005 to 2018 while Peter worked at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, Conn. 

The Paces’ older son, Andrew, began considering F&M during his college search after meeting the College’s tennis coach at the time, Sean Kelleher. He enrolled in 2016 and was eventually joined by his younger brother, Justin, also a tennis player.

Visiting Andrew when he began attending F&M gave Claudia and Peter a chance to reconnect with the place where they’d first met.

“We enjoyed coming down to see him and marveled at how far the city of Lancaster had come since we left so many years ago,” Claudia said.

With Justin about to graduate from high school, Claudia and Peter began planning to move out of the suburbs and to a small city. Drawn to the vibrant, welcoming community they had witnessed while visiting Andrew, they decided to move to Lancaster.

“Peter accepted a position at WellSpan York Hospital, but we planned to live in Lancaster City in order to take advantage of small-city living,” Claudia said. 

"We have wonderful memories of a life built together and it’s bookended by our time in Lancaster. We enjoy living here, love our community and our neighbors."

Claudia Mandarano Pace '89

While both Andrew and Justin have since graduated from F&M, living in Lancaster still means Claudia and Peter are only a short distance from their sons; Andrew is an investment research analyst in the Philadelphia area, while Justin lives and works as a derivative operations associate in Washington, D.C.

“Peter and I love our location here, midway between our sons and between the starting points in our lives as a couple,” Claudia said.

Since moving to Lancaster, Claudia said she and Peter have reconnected with F&M, befriending other alumni in the area and faculty and staff at the College. They are also actively involved in the broader Lancaster community. Claudia volunteers at Hospice and Community Care and serves on the Board of the Lancaster Public Library, while Peter supports local food pantries.

They also take advantage of everything the city has to offer. “We support local businesses, love to shop at Central Market, and attend shows at the Fulton and Zoetropolis,” Claudia said.

“We could have never imagined that life would have brought us back to Lancaster and F&M,” Claudia said, but it has ended up being a perfect location—filled with cherished memories and opportunities to make new ones. “We have wonderful memories of a life built together and it’s bookended by our time in Lancaster. We enjoy living here, love our community and our neighbors.”

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