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Meet Michael Banic ’87 and Elizabeth Johnson ’87

DEPARTMENT(S): 
February 10, 2021

Meet Mike and Beth, one of the WPI community’s many alumni couples. Mike is vice president of marketing for Lookout, a recognized leader in enterprise mobile security. Mike and Beth are also avid supporters of WPI, giving of their time, talent, and treasure. They host receptions for incoming students and their families, and Mike has also been a speaker for alumni and student events. Here they share the story of how they met and what they treasure about their shared WPI experiences.

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Mike and Beth at Commencement in 1987

 
Q: How did you meet? 
A: Beth “We met in 1984. I lived in the large basement apartment of Trowbridge House. Mike lived in Ellsworth-Fuller and had a work-study job with Plant Services. We would chat when our paths crossed on the days his work brought him to the house. I discovered that every time Mike laughed he would get the hiccups, so naturally I did my best to make him laugh!”

Q: What is your favorite memory from your college days?
A: Mike “Junior year, I was fortunate to be selected as one of the students to work for Carol Hebert, Director of Higgins House which included the coveted opportunity to live in the house. With three other students, we set up for functions and kept an eye on the house. Beth would come often to spend time with me, study in the sunroom, play the piano in the great hall or just explore the architecture and grandeur of the house and gardens. Sometimes we snuck some leftover desserts from the faculty dining lounge.”

Q: What does WPI mean to you?
A: Mike and Beth "In some ways, WPI was the beginning of everything that would come. You leave home for university and it seems like everything you experience is a 'first'. Then you are lucky enough to meet someone who has similar 'first' experiences and it creates magic. It is the simple things like great conversation over Boynton pizza, listening to piano music, talking about architecture, drinking black ’n tans at Ralph’s, surviving TKE sewer parties, discovering the party room in Higgins House and more. The fact that WPI is intertwined in every memory makes it part of who we are, individually and together."

Q: What about WPI is special to you and why do you support it?
A: Mike “The WPI motto Lehr und Kunst says it all to me. The plan taught us to be self-directed and projects taught us teamwork. As a result, WPI prepared me for life."

A: Beth “WPI is synonymous with Respect, Integrity and Acceptance. It is where we learned about the greater world by respecting the perspectives of others. WPI graduates are highly rated for their integrity because succeeding in The Plan requires teamwork, collaboration and problem solving. The WPI experience transcends classroom learning by accepting and meeting the challenge of offering different learning approaches for students. As a result, it serves the full range of our community."