Then and Now: Meet the Keets

These four Keet sisters were UConn undergrads in 1969; they gathered at Mirror Lake this summer, 50 years later, so the magazine could re-create this historic photo (in both pics it’s Nancy in the driver’s seat, then, clockwise, Mary Lou, Eileen, and Christine). (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Meet the Keet sisters. When the oldest, Mary Lou (Keet) Erardi ’69 (CLAS), ’71 MA, chose to attend UConn she not only found the perfect spot for herself, she started something of a family affair. Nancy (Keet) Welsh ’70 (CLAS), Eileen (Keet) Baukus ’71 (ED), ’76 MA, and Christine Keet ’72 (HE) followed in short order. The fact that the four siblings graduated in consecutive years — and were enrolled at the same time during the 1968-69 academic year — was a first for UConn.

As it turns out, the sisters ended up enrolled for two consecutive years as Mary Lou started studying for her master’s degree in 1969. And nearly a decade later, a fifth sister started her UConn career, Betty Anne (Keet) Morrow ’81 (CLAS).

“One year our mother put almost 50,000 miles on the car, most of it from driving us back and forth from campus to our home in Waterbury or to our family’s cottage in Rhode Island,” says Christine. “We loved UConn and we also loved being with our family.”

They reminisce about their parents treating them to dinner at the former Altnaveigh on Route 195 for special occasions and of going to Kathy John’s at the Four Corners where Cumberland Farms is now, for casual suppers. And, of course, the Dairy Bar figures prominently in their stories.

Many of their memories are personal and reflect their close relationship. Christine says she still has the gold Husky charm her sisters gave her when she turned 18 in October of her freshman year, and Mary Lou remembers the opal earrings given to her by Nancy when they were the only sisters on campus. “She bought them in a little store that no longer exists — probably where Storrs Center is now ­— but I remember loving them,” she says.

In addition to the quality family time, they all made good use of their time in UConn’s classrooms as well.

News article from the Hartford Courant
Hartford Courant, July 15, 1968

Mary Lou majored in French and went on to a 35-year career as a French teacher at Avon High School. Eileen taught in elementary schools in Franklin and Hebron, and also had a home daycare business. Nancy majored in geography and became the executive director of the USDA’s New Haven–Middlesex County Farm Service Agency, and Christine used her degree in clothing, textiles and related arts (then in the School of Home Economics) to work in retail interior design services.

The four remain devoted followers of UConn sports. Mary Lou, Christine, and Eileen all claim women’s basketball star Jen Rizzotti ’96 (CLAS) as their favorite athlete of all time. For Nancy, it’s Wes Bialosuknia, who was a star on the men’s basketball team from 1964 to 1967.

“I met my future husband on a blind date and we went to a men’s basketball game. We married the summer I graduated from UConn, and we’re still married and still fans of UConn sports,” she says.

Mary Lou’s family reignited the academic tradition with son Scott Erardi ’95 (CLAS), ’97 MA, who teaches as an adjunct in communi- cations at UConn Hartford.

It’s all in the (Husky) family.

Read more of the Fall 2019 UConn Magazine.