And baby Cain Wroxton makes three

A recent family portrait shows Caterina, Eric and Cain Wroxton Cook nestled together.

By Kenna Caprio

What’s in a name for Caterina and Eric Cook? Quite simply: the embodiment of a relationship. When the Cooks, both Fairleigh Dickinson University alums, welcomed their first child in April 2012, they named him after the place they met — Wroxton.

“I think that it is a rather nice touch — remembering the place that they met in that way,” says Wroxton College Dean Nicholas Baldwin.

Caterina Chiaravalloti and Eric Cook, now ages 29 and 34, talked for the first time in Newark Liberty International Airport in 2003, while waiting to board the plane to Wroxton, says Caterina.

Eric invited Caterina and Antoinette Barriga to grab a drink before the flight and the group quickly became friends, remembers Caterina. “Eric and I started out as friends. He made it easy for me to be away from all that was familiar.”

The way Eric tells it, as the Wroxton travelers settled into the waiting area, he “did what came naturally” and “asked the prettiest girl if she wanted to have a drink with me. She obliged.”

Caterina’s take is a little different. “I always joke that it was slim pickings because we had a small class,” she says.

Originally a student at Northeastern University, Caterina transferred to FDU after her first year to be closer to home. By 2003, she realized that time was running short to go abroad, so she applied to go to Wroxton.

“I did not know anyone that was going on the trip. I had plenty of friends, a social life and job in New Jersey and I dropped it all to visit a college thousands of miles away from everything that I know.”

For Eric, the decision to go abroad had little to do with advancing his degree — he was all but finished by the time he left, remembers Director of Study Abroad Brian Swanzey — but everything to do with wanting to visit Europe for the first time.

The couple ended up visiting the sites in England and traveling to Europe together.

“We traveled to Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands in Spain) on break and it was amazing,” she says. “We had our official first date there.”

Besides jetting to Spain for travel break, the two spent any time they could get away from the group visiting Banbury, eating Thai food and frequenting the pub and clubs.

“When Cat and I have fun together, we dominate fun,” says Eric.

Still, Caterina couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to the couple once they left the bubble of Wroxton. “I always thought that our relationship would diminish once we left the Abbey and was unsure of what would come once removed from the environment,” says Caterina.

Luckily, the two found that they could rely on each other to handle the culture shock of returning home.

“Wroxton is a unique and intense experience on its own and you add in meeting someone — sparking up a romance just adds to the mystique (of studying abroad),” Swanzey.

Eric agrees. “Wroxton is magical fire and unless you know, you don’t know,” he says.

The couple became engaged in July 2008 at Walt Disney World and then married at The Crystal Plaza in Livingston on January 8, 2010. “We were lucky enough to celebrate with family and friends, and even some of our classmates from Wroxton,” shares Caterina.

Thinking back on the day, Eric refers to it as the best day of his life, until recently, of course, when Cain was born. At the wedding, “She was so beautifully perfect that I don’t think anyone even took the time to notice how perfectly average I was in comparison,” he says.

Cain Wroxton Cook made the duo a threesome on April 25, 2012 at 4:51 P.M. at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and 19 inches long.

The name came somewhat easily to the Cooks. Eric long favored the name Cain for a boy and Caterina suggested incorporating in Wroxton.

“Wroxton, to us, is not just a college, Abbey or small town in the English countryside. It’s an all-encompassing experience of all those things and more,” says Eric. “Wroxton means an incredible amount to us, and it just felt like our son was the culmination of that miracle and he deserved to own a name that embodies that.” 

FDU's Wroxton College is a fully modernized 17th century Jacobean mansion that was once the home of Lord North, England's Prime Minister during the American Revolution. Located in the heart of England, Wroxton's campus is just minutes away from Oxford and Stratford-Upon-Avon. Since FDU opened its British campus in 1965, Wrxoton has been chose as the overseas study site for students from more than 250 colleges and universities nationwide.

During travel break, while visiting the Canary Islands, things went from ‘friendly’ to ‘romantic’ for Caterina and Eric Cook. Here, they take in a sunset on their first date.

Feature Story from the FDU Newsroom

FDU Office of Public Relations

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