Josh & Aurora (DiRocco) Bonner ‘Sweetheart’ Story

by Aurora Bonner.

When I first saw Josh walk into my typography class, I wanted to know who he was. He had headphones on and his head down, but I could hear the Deftones blaring and liked the fact that he could look so cool and collected when the rest of us were giggling like nervous children. It was the first day of our freshman year at Penn College, and everyone was trying to get to know each other and themselves. I remember nervously approaching a group of people Josh was standing amongst, just to find out who this curiously quiet person was, only for him to walk away! I moved on, and was soon whisked away into the excitement of the first few weeks of class.

Josh & AuroraAs soon as the opportunity presented itself for us to meet, we became great friends. We liked the same music, we dreamed about traveling to Europe, we hoped to someday move out west... we could talk art, history, politics. We shared the anxiety, awe and inspiration every student has felt from sitting in a class with Patrick Murphy. We aspired to be precise enough to please Brian Flynn and creative enough to interest Keith Vanderlin. Experiences like watching Advertising and the End of the World in Joe Loehr's class, learning about Native American culture through David Sims, and environmental instability opened our eyes and forced us to challenge what we thought we knew. Our education at Penn College chipped away to the core of who we were and helped us define ourselves, individually and collectively.

Josh & AuroraAfter a few months of our infatuation being obvious to everyone but myself, Josh asked me on a real date... We had a great time, but I had heedlessly declared that I was not interested in having a boyfriend and left it at that. By the next semester, Josh had convinced me otherwise. We became inseparable. We met up every day and walked to Color Theory class together, always arriving hand in hand. The late great Carol Schwartz referred to us as the "Mr. and Mrs."

That summer, we embarked on our first great adventure together and traveled with fellow PCT classmates to work at Yellowstone National Park for the summer.

Josh & AuroraIn the following years, we had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, and Herculean, Italy, together and study art history under Mark Mahosky through Penn College's study abroad experiences. This ignited a sense of wanderlust in us that has taken us all over the country and many parts of the world seeking out different cultural lessons.

From Penn College on, we have been at each other’s sides. That was fourteen years ago. We still like the same music. We travel the world. We have lived out west. We still talk art, history and politics.

Upon graduating, Josh worked in advertising at a local agency for many years until returning to Penn College once again to pursue a degree in Multimedia & Web Design. He now is Associate Director of Marketing and Web Communications at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.

After working in advertising for a few years, a job at the Art Institute of Colorado, in Denver, prompted me to pursue higher education. I went on to receive my Masters in Academic Advising through Kansas State University and currently work at Keystone College as their Coordinator of Academic Engagement.

We have two children who we adore, Eliana, 3, and Julien, 10 months. We own a beautiful home in the Endless Mountains and still go on adventures together, many times reflecting on the adventure that started it all: One College Avenue.

[Press release - Newly Chosen ‘Alumni Sweethearts’ to Be Feted in Valentine’s Visit]
[Press release - Alumni Couple Enjoys Belated (but Still Sweet) Visit to Campus]

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