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Playing her cards right

  Alumni Profile  

Val Johnson Covalciuc ’68 and her husband, Rick, own the
second-largest bridge club in North America. The club is in Fort Myers, Fla.

When Valerie Johnson Covalciuc ’68 began playing bridge in high school, she had no idea the game would grow from a hobby to a passion and eventually into a career and way of life.

These days, Covalciuc (co-VALL-check) spends much of her time running the second-largest bridge club in the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL), along with her husband, Rick. They have made friends throughout the world while directing bridge cruise programs to Australia, Russia, and the Panama Canal, with an upcoming trip to Alaska.

Covalciuc learned the game from her parents while in high school, and then honed her game at the “reserved” bridge table at Cornell—the first table to the left in The Commons grill—where a game could almost always be found.

“People came and left in the course of the afternoon, but the bridge game went on,” she recalls.

After graduating, Covalciuc went to work in the publishing and newspaper industries, but continued to play competitive bridge on a national level. Along with her husband, who is also her bridge partner, she achieved the second-highest ranking possible for American bridge players.

She also served in the ACBL “as a way to give something back to the game,” and was its president in 1999, a position that called for quite a bit of traveling and organization with local bridge clubs.

Owning a bridge club has been “like a dream come true for Rick and me—we can work together and combine our vocations with our avocation,” she says.

They have three children, Tina Maranville, Chris Kotulski, and Jennifer Kotulski ’94.

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