Columbia Love Stories 2017

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Did you know that more than 7,400 couples have met and found love through Columbia?

Some of you met during orientation, on a geology trip, at the bookstore, or in the weight room. Others call your extended family "one big Columbia love story" and say the University has a "permanent place in your heart."

Check out some of this year's submissions and then browse the full collection. Happy Valentine's Day!

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"My parents met at Columbia. My father, Gustav McKee W., arrived in 1930 and completed his PhD in Botany in 1935. My mother, Matilde O., was at Barnard at the time. They sat back-to-back in a biology lab for a whole semester without ever noticing each other. The following term, a mutual professor introduced them, and the rest is history! They were separated for five years due to the depression economy, then married in 1936 in Texas, where he was a professor at Texas A&M for 50 years and Dean of Agriculture. They had a great marriage for over 30 years, until she died of cancer in 1967. She was a transfer student from Puerto Rico. Their paths would never have crossed without Columbia!"

-John W. '70CC

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"Orit S. caught my eye in a place where I probably should not have been looking—during prayer services conducted by the Columbia / Barnard Hillel - Jewish student organization. Back then, in the Fall of 1989, there was no Kraft Center for Jewish Life as there is now— we prayed in Earl Hall. The community's daily minyan was hardly the place to pick up a date, and yet I found myself going every morning and many an evening in the hopes of catching a glimpse of her over in the women's section. Eventually I mustered the courage to speak to her (I was 20, and hadn't had much dating experience yet!), and then, to spend time with her. As the semester rolled on, I found myself spending more and more time with her and less and less time on my first-year law studies. But so it goes. A year and a few months later I proposed to Orit in her Barnard dorm room—filled the whole room with helium balloons and sat behind them, waiting to be discovered, ring in hand. (That day, of all days, Claremont Avenue was repaved, and therefore completely closed, making it difficult to get a large helium tank up to her room!) We got married two months after her graduation from college in 1991, and by the time I graduated from the Law and Business Schools in May 1993, we had a son and another on the way. The whole crew—five sons, four daughters, one daughter-in-law (the blonde) and one future daughter-in-law (in the white dress)—can be seen in the attached picture from two weeks ago, at our second son's engagement party. Go Columbia! P.S. Both my siblings met their spouses at Columbia too!"

-Jan W. '93BUS, '93LAW + Orit W. '91BC



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"He was wearing a white bandana, aviator sunglasses and chanting really loud; she was rehearsing airplane moves on Amsterdam Avenue outside of the 118th Street gates—this was Orientation Week at the Business School and we were both in Cluster A, aka the Aviators. During this week, we started to notice each other. It was really easy, considering we were in the same Core classes our first semester, and because we had a secret crush on each other. We would casually chat during social events and on our Cluster's fall break trip to the Dominican Republic. But it was during the annual ski trip that we bonded, talking next to the fireplace and learning how much we had in common, like we're both the youngest of three. When classes resumed after winter break, we decided to cross the yellow light and began dating. We went on our first couple trip one month later to Bermuda, and two years after that, we went back and got engaged on the beach. We're excited to celebrate our wedding this summer with many of our friends from Columbia!"

-Deborah L. '09BC, '15BUS + CĂ©sar E. C. '15BUS

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"I grew up in Maine. Margie grew up in Brooklyn and was attending Barnard and we met at a Freshman Week mixer. I was there with my roommate, John H. and she was there with her roommate, Juanita B. We enjoyed the dance and afterwards went to Tom's (more recently of Seinfeld fame) for ice cream sodas and apple pie. However, she ended up sitting next to John and was clearly interested in him. That next week, Margie left a note in my Furnald Hall mailbox saying she was having problems with calculus and could I help her, but if I was too busy would I ask John. With memories of the early pilgrims, I decided to 'speak for yourself Bill,' and said I would be glad to help, which I did for a few sessions. Then, miraculously she no longer needed help. I kept calling to see if she wanted to get together, but Juanita said she was not there, or had just gone out to the library, at which point I would rush over to see if I could find her. Finally, she said she would go out and I took her to the world's first trivia contest (October 14 pitting Columbia against Princeton—Columbia won), and by late November I asked her to go steady, pinning her with my Sigma Alpha Mu pin. Later that year, she brought me to meet her parents in Red Hook, Brooklyn. She parked me at the library while she prepared her folks for this 'Anglo' she was bringing home. Her mother prepared a wonderful meal of pernil (roast pork) and arroz con gandules (yellow rice with pigeon peas), and her father grilled me on how important it was that we did well in school (Margie was the first in her family to go to college). We would visit her grandmother in Spanish Harlem and Margie would converse with her in Spanish as her grandmother did not speak English. The first semester of my sophomore year I took Spanish 1, which I referred to as my 'defensive Spanish course,' so I could get some understanding as to what they were saying, especially if it concerned me. Later that year, Margie made me an Honorary Puerto Rican! We were engaged at the end of our sophomore year and were married at the end of our junior year with Rick P., my fraternity brother and roommate as best man, Juanita as the maid of honor and John as master of ceremonies. We had our first son in November following graduation, Billy '90SEAS (I believe the first Columbia attendee from our class) followed by Jonathan, Christopher, and Meghan and now have seven grandchildren. I have many wonderful memories of our times together at Columbia—taking the 104 bus to the Cloisters, hot cider at the Post Crypt (under St. Paul's Chapel) football and basketball games, and finally graduation with both our parents beaming! But, my best memory is meeting my love and life partner. Happy Valentine's Day mi querida!"

-William S. '69CC + Margarita S. '69BC

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"My husband and I met in a small tile store when we were both renovating our apts. He asked me for my advice on tile colors as we were both looking at the overwhelming number of choices. He was wearing a Columbia sweatshirt, which made me at first more comfortable to talk to him. After e-mailing about design and picking paint colors, we went in a lunch date and within a year we were engaged. Now those tiles are my tiles and we're working on a new renovation project together. Our 9th wedding anniversary is coming up this year and we have two beautiful boys, 4 and 2."

-Sheethal S. '02CC, '06SPS + Tokumbo S. '99SIPA

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"Although I met my wife well after both our respective stints at Columbia University, our common Columbia backgrounds played a significant role in establishing an initial connection between us, which has since then blossomed into a loving and growing family. I met my wife, Jenny K. ('08TC) online. At the time, we were both not specifically looking out for fellow Columbians, but when we both realized on our first date that we had strong ties to the community, that we both have benefited so much from, continue to stay in touch with, and cherish as a whole, it paved the way for an even smoother and relaxed interaction between us. Our chemistry was there from the start, strengthened by our campus connection and sharing our memories of our time at Columbia. It doesn't hurt to know too that as fellow Columbians, we belong to the same mold —driven, unafraid, and forever curious— setting as perfect a stage as possible for us to get to know each other better. We've been dating since 2012 and got married in 2015. Last year, we welcomed a most special arrival to our family (and hopefully a future Columbian), Adrian. Attached is a recent photo of our growing Columbia family."

-Edmund T. '04BUS + Jenny K. '08TC

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"After Tim spent time searching for Mrs. Right in a number of different ways and Aiting was, well studying or working, the two met in line on a chilly winter day at the annual Columbia Alumni Winter Wonderland event. They bumped into each other in line, waiting to get access to warmth and other friends. The two hit it off immediately, only to be separated by poorly placed misidentification later in the evening. One of Aiting's friends said Tim was trouble and to stay away from him. Needless to say, she was discussing another young man in the room. After an icy goodbye the two went about life, only to be reunited via Facebook a few weeks later (ok, so online did save the day). Aiting and Tim met in Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a first date that led to many others, and now to the momentous wedding day in June of 2017."

-Tim H. '08SPS + Aiting Z. '13SEAS

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"Katie and Vinny met at a Law School mixer thrown by Professor Philip B. during orientation week in August of 2012, at the Beekman Beer Garden. Vinny was standing at the bar, when Katie approached and asked, "Aren't you the one who used to work for the Cake Boss?" That was the start of a great friendship that would last through their Legal Methods class and for the rest of the semester, until early 2013 when the two began dating. On their first date, Vinny made Katie homemade lasagna and tiramisu. She knew he was a keeper! It did not take long for each of them to realize they had found "the one"! On October 18, 2014, Katie and Vinny went to Yankee Stadium for a group tour. When they arrived, they noticed that no one else showed up for their group tour (Katie found out later that Vinny had bought all the tickets for that particular tour so it would be private). The tour guide explained it away as a happy accident and lead them to Monument Park. While standing in the center of Monument Park, Vinny got down on one knee and asked Katie to marry him, right there, surrounded by baseball's greats in Katie's "favorite place in the world." Katie and Vinny graduated from Columbia Law in May of 2015, Vinny as a Stone Scholar. They studied for the bar exam together while planning their wedding and were married in Nashville, TN, (Katie's hometown) on August 22, 2015. They are now loving life together in New York with their puppy, Harry. Vinny works as a corporate real estate associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver, and Jacobson, and Katie is an Assistant District Attorney for the Brooklyn DA's Office."

-Katie S. '15LAW + Vinny S. '15LAW

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"On Friday evening, September 22, 1972, the Business School held a mixer in Uris Hall. A young woman attending the School of Social Work was just leaving when a young man in his second year at the Law School started talking to her. An hour later, they shared a cup of coffee at Chock Full o' Nuts on the corner of Broadway and 116th Street. The next night he treated her to a pizza at the V&T and a double feature at the now sadly missed Olympia Theater on Broadway and 105th Street—J.W. Coop and Fat City. About eleven months after that, he made her a tender offer. After conducting customary due diligence and negotiating—with trusted advisors—a term sheet on the time, location, and participants at closing, she and he merged at Temple Emmanuel in Newton, Massachusetts on May 19, 1974—four days after their respective Columbia graduations—and are happily still in 'business' today!"

-Richard L. '74LAW + Rise L. '74SW

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But wait—there's more! Check out the complete collection of this year's submissions, including SIPA alumni who met in Burkina Faso, a couple who got engaged in front of Alma Mater, and a Public Health alumnus who gained a lifelong friend at Columbia.


Catch up on previous years' Columbia Love Stories here:

ColumbiaLOVE I
ColumbiaLOVE II
ColumbiaLOVE III
ColumbiaLOVE IV