You Make My Heart Roar: Columbia Alumni Love Stories

Happy Valentine's Day! 

All week, we've been sharing stories of love written and submitted by Columbia alumni below.

Today, we're proud to present the full collection on the Columbia Alumni Association's Facebook page - over 30+ stories of love, friendship, and the enduring ties to Alma Mater that continue to bring us together.  

Happy Valentine's Day! 



Raymond + Nada

"Dear Cupid:

We met in October 1946. We were two loving freshman. We married in March of 1950. We were together until Nada's death in 2004. Nada and Ray, Barnard and Columbia are inseparable in my mind and memories. On this her birthday, I thank Barnard and Columbia for the greatest of gifts!" - Ray S. '50CC (and Nada V. '50BC)



Micah + Cheryl

"It was the Fall semester of ’92. I was sitting next to a friend I had made during orientation the week prior- in an old musty physics lecture room in the basement of Pupin during the first real day of classes.

She started walking up the steps looking for a seat, notebooks held in her crossed arms, a V-neck white t-shirt and a simple black mini skirt. I noticed her immediately. My mouth hit the floor.

As she looked over the crowd for a familiar face and an open seat- I wished two things, one that I wasn’t in the aisle seat and two that the seat next to me was empty.

She gazed in my direction and I could swear her eyes lit up- they did. But it was my friend she was looking at and the unoccupied seat next to him that she wanted. You see they had become friends too during orientation week. I turned my legs to make space for her to walk in the row, catching a full gaze at her beautiful long black hair that stretched fully to her middle back. I was hooked!

Micah this Cheryl, Cheryl this is Micah' my friend introduced us as we shook hands. 'Nice to meet you…' I said but she was already fully in conversation with my friend and I was out of the picture.

For the next several weeks I made a point of bumping into her, walking completely across the quad if necessary, if I thought I saw her- just to have a chance to say “hi” as I passed her.

Fortunately for me we were freshman engineers (some dork love story) so we had a bunch of the same classes. I made a point of finagling my way into as many of her study groups as I could. It must have been obvious…

After a week or two of me trying my clandestine work of being wherever she was as often as I could be, she started to acknowledge me by name. Then one day it happened, we finished a class in Mudd and were with a bunch of classmates standing next to the bronze engineer trying to decide where to go next. She said “FBH”, I concurred and no one else did. So for the first time we walked and talked alone- on our way to lunch at Ferris Booth Hall. Thankfully it was literally from one corner of the campus to the other.

I’m not sure when we became official, but I kissed her on October 27, 1992. So somewhere in the middle we dated I guess???

We were engaged the summer of our Junior year on July 28, 2005. We got married immediately after our senior year on October 5, 1996.

This May will be our 20th reunion from Columbia but more important for me, this October will be our 20th wedding anniversary! We have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl- and frequently we drive them from our home in Westchester to show them where 'Dad fell in love with Mom!'"

-Micah O. '96SEAS + Cheryl '96SEAS


Rocki-Lee + Josie

"Josie and I have been together since 1985 – my first year in my Ph.D. program in the B-School.

She was in the School of General Studies; met her in the gym when I was working out. She finished her UG (as a returning adult student) in 1988 and I completed my Ph.D. in 1991 – couldn’t have done it without her. We went to Penn State in 1989 and after 12 ½ years there, moved to University of Vermont.

We’ve been together more than 30 years – and done the whole civil union then marriage thing in the great state of Vermont.

Together we raised her teenage children and now brag about our grandchildren; one of whom will graduate from high school this year while the other two are in elementary and junior high.

Where has the time gone?

Our studies at Columbia were a very important part of our lives.

I’m especially appreciative of the influences of William Newman, Kathryn Harrigan, Joel Brockner, John Whitney, Don Morrison, Jim Coen, the Reference Librarian in the Uris Hall Library, and Delores and Joy – two amazing support staff on the seventh floor."

-Rocki-Lee D. '89,'91BUS + Josie H. '88GS 



Jeff + Julie

"It sounds so dated--and it is!--but I met my future wife, Julie, partly because I came back to campus a week early in the fall of my sophomore year to go to a Grateful Dead concert in New Jersey. That’s a story unto itself, but the key point is that this landed me right in the middle of freshman orientation.

The evening after the show, my classmate Keith and I were walking along Broadway, when Keith said hello to an upperclassman coming toward us surrounded by a pack of Barnard freshmen, like a nucleus surrounded by electrons (yes, I took “Physics for Poets”). As Keith talked to the upperclassman--whose name I can’t remember but who deserves partial credit for bringing me together with my future wife--the rest of us stood around. This was right in front of the West End. I was wearing a T-shirt depicting the rainbow-over-the-earth cover art of the Dead’s album “Europe ’72,” but without any identifying text. As I stood there, one of the young women--the one who had already caught my eye--gestured toward my shirt and said, “Great album.” No, that wasn’t the reason I fell for her, but it did break the ice. When it started to drizzle, she pulled her corduroy jacket over her head. As Holden Caulfield might say, that killed me. The corduroy jacket looked like the stylized hair in the depiction of some Egyptian goddess.

The rain let up, we bought some beer at Ta-Kome, and we all sat on Furnald Lawn and drank it. Julie and I just talked to each other. Every so often, one of the others lobbed a teasing remark in our direction. We didn’t care.

We got married in the fall of 1981." - Jeffrey H. '80CC  and Jule W. '81BC


Ellen + Jim

"We met on a Columbia sponsored geology field trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Jim was freshly back from Vietnam and I had worked for several years in the mining industry after my undergraduate work.  He was a geology major in the College, class of '68 and I was in the Henry Krumb School of Engineering Master's program, graduated in '72. We were both older than the other students, had seen some of the world and got on well. After a series of adventures, we married in 1977. Happy ever since!" - Ellen H. '72SEAS + Jim H. '68CC



Jacob + Dina

"My husband Jacob '99CC’99 and I '99CC also met at Columbia.
We actually met the first day of Metropolitan Arts & Culture, a defunct orientation program that ran for a few days before the official start of freshman year (former Dean, Richard Sluzarcyzk, ran it). We didn’t hit it off. But, we did both make a very good mutual friend, Christopher '99CC.  When Christopher was trying to gather a group of 4 people together to make up a suite in Ruggles Hall for our senior year, he tapped Jacob (Koby) and me. The first day we moved into the suite, in the late summer of 1998, we became instant best friends and started dating about two months later. We married in June 2000 and have two children, 6-1/2 and 8 (hopefully, future Columbians!)." - Jacob R. '99CC and Dina C. '99CC


Lucian +Joanne

"It was 1969 and I arrived at Bard Hall at the Medical School campus at 168th St. That first weekend night there was to be a mixer with the Nursing School. During the afternoon I was at the bookstore and met some first year nursing students who had started 1 week earlier. They insisted I come to the mixer and meet one of their friends. Back in the dorm an upper classman told me that the new nursing students would want to see our cadavers. I brushed this off as absurd.

That night I was introduced to Joanne. Long red hair, very young looking face, confident, wanted to dance and yes…wanted to see the cadavers. For the next 20 nights we would meet for 15 cent pony glass beers at Tropical Garden (TG’s) bar on Broadway & 169th St.  Dated on and off for 2 years. Joanne graduated in 1971 and traveled to Europe before working at Presbyterian Hospital. I met her in Amsterdam and we decided to get married. At Trader Vics at the Plaza Hotel I gave her a ring and we married in my 4th year. We are now filled with 44 years of memories as we leave for a 3 week cruise of the western Mediterranean  and will celebrate Valentines Day in Rome." - Dr. Lucian D. '73P&S



Tamara + Geoff 

"Upon entering CUSSW, I didn't really speak with the cute, long-haired guy in the back of our research class.  

It wasn't until our second year, when we were in three of the same classes, that we began to fall in love.  I kept forgetting to purchase notebooks, so I borrowed paper from him practically every class. I remember the first time I spoke to him that year, I was blown away  by his kindness and his humor.  We quickly became classroom buddies.  We have several Columbia friends to thank for our first date. Firstly, Geoff got my number from a fellow classmate and sent me pictures from a Mets game that they attended.  Following that, another group of friends made plans to attend a play downtown, (Fuerza Bruta), and as luck would have it, there was an extra ticket.  After a fantastic night at the theater, talking in a coffee house with our classmates, and a stroll through the park near my apartment, I was smitten.  

I will always remember fondly our time at Columbia- our weekly lunches at the Teachers College, our study sessions at Low, and our walks together after our field placements, which were both in downtown Brooklyn a few blocks from each other.  Upon graduation, we moved in together, moved to Boston for a few years to start our careers, and now have purchased a home in the Hudson Valley.  Geoff and I are the proud parents of a beautiful daughter, Olivia Rose, born in September, 2014.   When I think of my time at Columbia and all of the wonderful experiences and things that I learned, meeting Geoff was absolutely the thing that I am the most grateful for. I cannot imagine life without him." - Tamara C. '13SW and Geoff S. '13SW


Henry + Carol

"My close friend and fraternity brother asked me to double date with him and a Barnard girl whom he was seeing. The girl asked her best friend at Barnard to do the same. My friend and the girl he was dating never saw one another again. My blind date is still going on  ---  over 50 years, two children and 5 grandchildren later.

Columbia and Barnard were never so close." - Henry S. '58CC ’58,  '62P&S and Carol S. '60BC


Amy + Jeremy

"We met on a blind date after finals the spring of our junior year, fixed up by a classmate of mine at Barnard and a former high school classmate of Jeremy’s from Francis Parker School in Chicago.  Jeremy was Columbia College ’67; I was Barnard ’67.  For that first blind date, we went to Butler Hall, which if anyone remembers, had white tablecloths and roses as a centerpiece on each table.  Summer came and we started dating again in the fall of our senior year.

Jeremy proposed in the spring of 1967, at about the same time that he received a letter awarding him a Kellett Fellowship for two years to study Classics at Jesus College, Cambridge.  I had also been accepted into the Master’s program at Columbia Graduate Faculties for a degree in history.  I received the degree in 1968, which you may recall coincided with the uprising at Columbia. Email and texts didn’t exist in 1967; we wrote letters to each other every day on little blue aerograms.

We were married in September 1968, and spent our honeymoon year in Cambridge.  We lived in an unheated flat owned by Jesus College.  It was a truly extraordinary experience, with long walks holding hands through college courtyards, learning how to cook British “topside” and make it edible, marveling at cultural differences, and most importantly, being together after that long year of separation.

We came back to the US and Jeremy went to Yale Law School.  I subsequently went to Columbia Architecture School when we moved back to New York from New Haven.  (We took turns working and paying the bills while each of us went to graduate school.)  Jeremy clerked for a Federal judge, worked as a federal prosecutor in the SDNY and subsequently became a litigation partner at Shearman & Sterling.  I worked as a senior urban designer for the Manhattan Office of the Department of City Planning and then started my own company making educational children’s products. Our son, Josh, was born in 1978 and our daughter, Abby, in 1983.  

Our marriage of almost 41 years ended in July 2009, when Jeremy died.

After living for most of our married lives in a brownstone in Carroll Gardens, I am back living now on Morningside Heights, auditing classes at Barnard and experiencing, in a surreal way, the memories of that Barnard/Columbia love story." - Amy E. '67BC, '68GSAS, '75GSAPP


Dyanna + Miki 

"I am '15 SIPA-CBS and my wife, Miki, is Mailman '14MPH. We met on Valentine's Day in 2013 at a "LGBT Intergraduate School Speed Dating Mixer". She will tell you that she was forced to go by friends and that it was the lamest thing she had ever heard of. I was pumped when I heard about the event and remember telling the organizer to, "Tell all the girls!" (that I would be there).

We met early in the event near the "bar" area. I extended my hand to greet her and (very geekily) introduced myself as "from the business school". She, of course, rolled her eyes and said she studied public health. I asked if her name was Japanese, and she asked me what I knew about Japan. It was a fun conversation, so I followed her around to the various stations (it was not the kind of speed dating you have seen on television). She was a little shy too, but I had won over her friend who invited me to an after party. The next two years were filled with study dates in Lehman, bites at Mel's, and weekends writing theses.

We got married the day after my SIPA graduation in May of 2015 at City Hall and celebrated with our closest family and friends (many from Columbia!). We just know this email will ensure our names end up in a special alumni fundraising list, but we don't mind. We'll always have fond memories of our time on campus." - Dyanna S. '15SIPA-CBS and Miki 'D. 14MPH


Sarah + Kevin

"My fiancé Kevin (Track and Field, '15CC) and I (Archery, '15BC) met in our sophomore year at a Leaders for Life seminar through the Athletics Department. It was pretty much love at first sight, from our second date at surf and turf night in John Jay to the tree lighting ceremonies with hot chocolate on college walk. After graduation this past may, we moved out to Vancouver, Washington and as was only fitting, Kevin proposed on a bridge overlooking the Columbia river! Columbia is where our love story began and our wedding next summer will feature many of our Columbia Lion friends in the wedding party." - Sarah B. '15BC and Kevin B. '15CC


Catch up on more submissions of alumni love stories here:

ColumbiaLOVE I
ColumbiaLOVE II
ColumbiaLOVE III
ColumbiaLOVE IV