On a visit to New York City, Marina Netto Grande Campos’s 5-year-old daughter, Amanda, fell in love with a dollhouse at Toys“R”Us. The dollhouse wouldn’t fit in the family’s luggage for the return to their home in São Paulo, Brazil, so Grande did the next best thing. She bought the dollhouse online from a seller who wouldn’t ship internationally—but who would ship to the home of Patrice Franko, Grande’s former economics professor.
Within days, parcels containing dollhouse parts (some assembly required) started arriving on Franko’s doorstep in Maine. “The boxes started coming, and I’m saying, ‘Oh, my god,’” Franko said, laughing. A few weeks later, Franko, an expert on Latin American economies, was traveling to Rio de Janeiro for a conference. She packed the parts into her biggest suitcase and took them to Brazil—just in time. Grande was hospitalized prior to the birth of her second child, and Amanda needed a diversion: “It’s been a lifesaver,” Grande ’94 said.
Franko, the Grossman Professor of Economics, and Grande, who has been an investment banker and telecommunications executive, met as professor and first-year student. Grande became Franko’s researcher, working on a book Franko wrote about the defense industry in Brazil. Collaboration on a book about Latin American economic development followed, then consultation as Grande went to work at an investment bank and attended business school.
The dollhouse? It’s emblematic of relationships that germinate on Mayflower Hill.