Franciscan Way Magazine


A Match Made in Steubenville

Extras from the Spring 2011 issue of Franciscan Way Magazine

Gaston '64 and Sue (Jones '64) Gianni


Married June 1965

The year was 1960. The freshman class arrived at the campus in downtown Steubenville. The guys' residence was at the old Fort Steuben Hotel on Fourth and Market Streets, and the girls stayed at Weir House further north on Fourth Street. The main administrative and classroom building was on Market Street next to the Steubenville Diocesan Chancellery. There were other classrooms in old buildings on the North Campus closer to the Weir House. The social center of the campus was the Activities Center, an old house fondly referred to by the students as the A.C. Shack! Here in this house, the students gathered to socialize and unwind from the rigors of college life. However, as a first year day hop [commuter] freshman from across the river in Weirton, I spent many of my first semester hours between classes in the main building library trying to make the transition to college academics. It was not until the second semester that I came out of my cocoon and started to involve myself in college life activities. Here starts the love story that has lasted almost 50 years.

In the spring of 1961, I decided to run for student government. Being a day hop student, I didn’t know many of the resident students. I needed a plan. In my first year history class, taught by Frank Smith, there was a special girl that caught my eye—Sue Jones, a friendly, personable and bright-eyed English major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who lived in the Weir House. As the semester went on, I worked up the nerve to ask Sue to be my campaign manager. Much to my surprise, she agreed to help get my name around to the other students. Sue and her friend Tina Kowal did a great job because I was elected to the Student Government. How could I ever repay Sue? Freshman year came to an end with me asking Sue on a first date to the school picnic at Oglebay Park. In Sue’s 1961 Optimist, I wrote, in part, the following: “You truly are a dear, sweet, precious, and delicate girl. I will always remember you and the wonderful things about you.” Thus started a romance that would grow over the next three years of college life.

The second year at Steubie U, we moved to our new campus on top of the hill (Now, my day hop trips were longer and included walking up Stony Hollow Boulevard and up Franciscan Way to the campus. Knowing that Sue would be there when I got to the top made the trip worthwhile). I got to know Sue better as the year proceeded. Her Uncle, Lt. Colonel Albert Jones, was the new Bookstore Manager, and Clara Walsh, the Dean of Women, was a close friend of Sue’s family. I needed to be on my best behavior! I joined a fraternity (Alpha Phi Delta) and Sue joined a sorority (Kappa Psi Mu) and our social lives grew closer together. We were going steady. By the end of our sophomore year, we knew that each of us had found our soul mate and life partner.

We dated through our junior and senior years. We continued to build more memories for the “library of happy memories” with each event at the College. On Sunday afternoons, Sue would come to my house for Sunday dinner. She said something about needing a break from cafeteria food, which I could never fully understand since I had my Mom’s excellent cooking to sustain me. Sue was there so many times that my Dad would fondly refer to her as our “Star Boarder.” Summers were tough apart and we would exchange letters and I would occasionally visit Sue in Pittsburgh. We each waited for the next school year to begin so that we could spend more time together.

Graduation in 1964 meant more separation as I pursued a career with the federal government in Washington, D.C., and Sue stayed in Pittsburgh and worked for a doctor. The separation was too much and I often found myself leaving work on Friday evenings and driving to Pittsburgh to be with Sue, then returning late Sunday night to be ready for work the next morning. I guess I was finding out about the “power of love.” We were engaged that fall and were married at St Paul’s Cathedral in Pittsburgh on June 12, 1965 by my uncle, Father Renato Gianni. I now had a “campaign manager” for the rest of my life. We settled in Northern Virginia, and I continued my federal career. We were blessed with three healthy and wonderful children—Karen, Kevin and Lynn. We survived parenthood seeing our children grow to adults and marrying and are now enjoying the dividends of being grandparents to nine wonderful grandchildren. The love that started at Steubie U those many years ago is still going strong after 45 years of marriage!

 

Matt and Sam (Angeli) Swider


Married April 1970

It was 1967, the summer between my sophomore and junior years at the College of Steubenville. Bill Knickman, a neighbor, shared with me that his best buddy’s sister would be starting at Steubenville as a freshman that September, and I wrote her name on a tiny piece of paper and put it in my wallet.

Upon arriving back on campus, I participated in the Lambda Chi Alpha “Annual Girls of the Freshman Class Review” with several brothers by sitting on the lawn of Marion residence Hall and engaging the girls as they came in and out of the dorm. Sam Angeli was one of them that day and although I didn’t know it was her, I was taken with her just by looking at her. As she walked from the dorm to the cafeteria, her long black hair was banded into two pigtails, and Tom Berovich kept calling out to her as “Hiawatha” and asking her to come over and talk to us. She looked back and smiled and kept walking. That was the beginning of the end for me. I couldn’t get that beautiful smile out of my head. When I finally got to meet her one-on-one and got her name right and where she was from, I realized that Sam’s name was written on that little piece of paper in my wallet, and I showed it to her. By mid-semester, we were dating and by second semester, we were an item. In April of 1970, we married. As I tell Sam all of the time, “I’m really glad I got you.”

 

Don '70 and Bernie (Bryll '69) Fazio



Married December 1970

We met the first week of the new school year in 1966. She was a sophomore and I was a freshman. It took six months before I had the courage to ask her out on a group date to the bowling alley at the bottom of the hill. From there, we dated the rest of our time at Steubie U. We married on December 19th, 1970, 40 years ago. Throughout these years, there was military duty and living in Germany, then back to Pittsburgh to start a career and family. Today, we have three grown children and four beautiful grandchildren, and to think it all began at the College of Steubenville!

 

Jimmy Gilliland '79 and Luann (Zanke '78) Gilliland



Married July 1981

"We fell in love on the dance floor at Greek Ball in the fall of 1977." Whenever I talk about our marriage, that's the sentence I use to describe the beginning of our relationship. Jimmy was pledging the Alpha Phi Delta fraternity and I was a Delt Sweetheart and Sigma Phi Sister. Some of our friends thought it was an odd pairing at first because we socialized in different circles at the time and never had any classes together because of our different majors. But one of the blessings of campus during this time period was the low numbers—everyone knew everyone who lived in the dorms back then (not a blessing from a collegiate business standpoint, but these low numbers created a unique social bubble of an environment).

I was a bit shocked when Jimmy asked me to accompany him to this dance because I knew he had been dating a few other girls on campus leading up to this time. Little did I know that this dance would change the course of our lives forever! During one of the "slow" dances, we lightly kissed, and I literally saw stars! I know this sounds really corny, but it truly happened! That first date led to another and another. We have been together, side-by-side ever since. We will celebrate 30 years of marriage on July 4, 2011—a marriage of love, passion and commitment!

 

Bill '82 and Susie (Spencer '82) Weiss



Married June 1982

Bill and I were both active in campus ministry, and in our sophomore year, we were both on the campus ministry council (for liturgy committee and retreats). Even though we served for an entire semester on this council of about ten people, I don't really remember noticing Bill until we had our first class together in the spring—Photography! We agreed to be "dark room partners" and while we went on photo shoots and spent increasing amounts of time together, we developed a relationship that would lead to marriage after graduation in June 1982.

 

Jim '82 and Patricia (Schiazza) Gartner


I met my bride at Steubie U while still a student. I was a senior accounting and finance major, doing an internship in the Business Office, working with Bill Salmi, John and Mary Steitz, Rose DeFede, Shirley, Paula, and others—and oh, yes, one of those "others" was Patricia Schiazza, assistant to the Vice President Bill Salmi. We would chat a bit during the day and late in the day, she'd often offer to give me a ride—oh, it was such a long walk down the hill (hehehe!), but of course I would not turn down such a lovely offer.

As the months rolled by, we soon found ourselves on our first date, a showing of the movie 101 Dalmatians in the Pub of the J.C. Williams Center. Literally, what a "howl" it was, as at the intermission, a few of us started to howl and before long, I think the whole room joined in. It was a most memorable evening. Nearly 30 years later, we still have a great chuckle any time we think about that first date!

 

Kevin '85 and Marie (McCartney '85) Lillis


No, it was not "love at first sight"...far from it! Just call it "Chemistry." Little did we know that our first introduction to each other in Dr. Slater's class would result in a friendship, courtship, and marriage that is 25 years young, and still thriving.

Even after the Chemistry class officially ended, we still had many occasions to interact. We had a mutual friend, Kathleen. She and Kevin dated for two years, and Kathleen and Marie were fellow study buddies, running partners, and prayer warriors. This terrific trio could be seen at the J.C., at Mass, at Krogers... you get the idea.Kathleen and Kevin realized that their relationship was not destined to end in marriage, so their dating ended. Shortly thereafter, Kevin and Marie traveled to Toledo to spend Spring Break at Marie's parents' house, "just as friends." Their friendship over the previous two years had allowed them each to get to know the other without the awkwardness of dating, and they quickly realized their friendship was growing into something much more. As Kevin puts it, "It was like a veil was lifted and I realized 'hey, Marie is a girl!'" Over the two weeks following Spring Break, Kevin and Marie, following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, decided they would join in marriage after graduation. They even began to name their children: the first girl would be Rebekah and the first boy would be Patrick.

So here we are, 25 years later, with six children: Rebekah, Molly, Patrick, Sean, Grace, Connor. We have lived in Maryland, Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. Rebekah graduated from Franciscan in 2010, and Molly will complete her studies there in 2011. We are so thankful for the formation that we received at Franciscan in our spiritual lives, as well as in our marriage and family. We are also so thankful for the way that God used a good friend, as well as a Chemistry class, to bring us together.

 

John '87 and Mary (McKiernan '86) Recznik


Married April 1988

I met John in the line at the cafe. He was introduced to me as, “Casey Recznik” (as he was called back then). It was my older sister, Judy, who introduced us. She was an R.A. in Tommy Moore that year. John was an incoming non-traditional student that semester and, at that time, all the non-trads (as they came to be called) lived in that dorm.

I talked with John once in a while, as we held in common that we were in families who had several siblings enrolled at Franciscan at the time (I had three siblings there at the time and he had two). He seemed like a nice guy, a “brother,” and that’s all.

During the summer of 1985, we worked together at the Conference Office, which was located on ground floor of Tommy More at the time. One sunny day, John was sitting on the bench outside the dorm after lunch. He saw me from a distance, walking with another staff member. He said that God spoke to him out of the clear blue sky and said, “That is your wife.” He quickly dismissed the words, not thinking that they could possibly have come from God. He considered me a “good girl” but one who “still had some growing up to do.” I suppose I would have agreed.

When John would tell that story, and especially when he would use the word, “that,” I never liked it. It seemed strange like I was a thing and not a person (And certainly, John was no English major!). However, I was recently compelled to ask an FUS English major if “that” was correct to say in that sentence or if the right thing would have been something like, “There is your wife.” This person explained to me that to use of the word “there” in that context would have been incorrect, as it would have indicated location. On the other hand, using the word, “that” was very special. It is a restrictive word indicating possession and would be considered essential to the meaning of the sentence. On that afternoon in 1985, God did, indeed, speak to John, telling him that He had singled me out specifically, essentially, and possessively to be his wife. So it is, as always, God uses perfect grammar.

We didn’t date until the summer of 1987, two years and many more words from the Lord later. We were married in April of 1988. We are a “marriage made in Steubenville.”

 

Chris and Lisa (Telles '88) Ledyard


Chris Ledyard wasn't actually ever enrolled at FUS (his alma mater is Ithaca College of New York). However, he was attending evening classes on campus for the University of Dayton in 1988 when we met. He was lead singer for music ministry/outreach Spiritsong, which in turn gave him free room and board on campus and allowed him to join a household (I wonder if anyone else was so close to being involved in student life without actually attending our school!).

I was working for Joyce Orlando in Community Relations as an undergrad. Chris and I finally met (after having many common acquaintances) in the J.C. Williams Center while I was handing out programs for jazz artist Walt Harper of Pittsburgh. We were listening to Walt play the piano when mutual friend/drummer/roommate Jim DuBois '89 introduced us. That was it! End of story!

 

Gus '82 and Cassie (Graham '82) Riccioni


Married July 1989

We met when he came to Marian hall, knocking on the door, looking for his current girlfriend late one night, and we became friends. When they broke up a few months later, he invited me to TKE activation and we were together ever after.

He passed away July 8, 2001, on our 12th wedding anniversary.

 

Kevin '90 and Catherine (Dennis '88) Wolpert


Kevin Wolpert and I met outside Christ the King Chapel. I made an impression because of my name because his sister and his stepmother both had the name of Catherine, too. We were friends for a long time before we decided to date. Many women were vying for his attention, and I didn't want to be bothered, but our friendship continued to grow. One day, after spending time together, this great man on campus asked if he could hold my hand, and I said, "If you want to make a statement." It was at that moment our courtship began. Now, seven children and many years of growth and change later, I am still glad I am making a statement!

 

Sr. M. Immaculata (Stacey Biskner '92)


I met my husband in the Adoration Chapel, or Port, and our relationship soared from there. His name is Jesus. Heh, heh.

 

Ray and Beth (Holtzman) Good


Married January 1993

Mrs. Sunyoger's class, freshman composition. The weird girl who sits two seats in front of me and one row to the right went to high school with my roommate. He alerted me to her weirdness. A pencil drops, we both reach down to pick it up, our eyes meet. Weird. I suddenly like weird. She thought I was odd, but suddenly, she liked odd. That was 23 years ago. We have been married for 18 years and have four boys—four boys who find us odd and weird and have only an inkling of an idea how those genes are going to affect them later in life.

 

Jason ('92, '96) and Samantha (Browner '94) Negri


We met and fell in love at FUS in the early nineties. I was very good friends with Samantha's older brother and sister (Rich and Jennifer Browner) when their little sister Samantha came to visit on a Come and See weekend. I didn't meet her until the very end of that visit, but when I did, I was apparently pretty impressed. When she came as a student a year later, we started dating soon after her arrival. We had our ups and downs, but all that changed when we both went to Gaming as part of the very first semester of the Austrian Program. Maybe it was the romantic atmosphere of Assisi, maybe it was my impending graduation, but I realized that she was the girl for me. Samantha, of course, knew from the very beginning—it just took me a little longer to catch on that this was meant to be. Samantha was married her last year at the University and was expecting our son when she graduated in 1994. Still very happily married 17 years later, we will always be grateful that our alma mater brought the girl from Arizona and the guy from Long Island together!

 

Scott '96 and Kimberly (Scullard MA '95) King


Married July 1996

While attending Steubenville, I would see Kim across campus, traveling from class to class. I was captivated by her beauty and her holiness. At the time, I simply left things at that.

I was working at a local restaurant, Jaggin' Around. On one particular evening, I was told that I would be training a new server. To my surprise, in walked Kim. During that evening, I came to realize how amazing she was, and I could tell that I wanted to get to know her even more.

I discovered that she was a runner, and although I wasn't a committed runner myself, I used to run on and off. This seemed like a good time to take up running again. I asked her if I could run with her, and she said yes. So we started running together, which led to us becoming very good friends.

I continued to run and get to know her better, and it did not take long before I started falling in love.

At one point, Kim and I decided to run a race together in Weirton. For the record, I ran with her for the first two miles, until my chest was about to implode. With every ounce of strength I could muster, I told her to go on without me because I needed to tie my shoe (yeah, right). She took off like a gazelle and ended up coming in first place for women.

After about seven or eight months of a growing friendship and a growing love, we starting dating. After another six months of dating, praying, and getting to know one another, I proposed to Kim. We married in July of 1996 and have been married for 14 years. Since our marriage, we have been blessed with five children.

 

Thomas '95 and Holly (Perkins '96) Deliduka


Married August 1996

From Thomas' Perspective:

I had seen Holly around campus and thought she was kind of cute—a in fact, the one feature that caught my eye was her glasses, of all things! So when a few of my friends were talking and she was in the group with them, I went up and someone was nice enough to introduce me. She was a nursing major and I was computer science, so we had no classes together. But we passed each other on campus a lot, so every chance I got I would say, "Hi, Holly." Finally, I asked her out for a dance in October of '94 and then to the Winter Formal. We had a great time and started to date.

Over Christmas that year, I visited a friend in New Orleans and unfortunately had a bit too much to drink (which was not a normal thing for me). Well, like an idiot, I called her up during my hangover, telling her how horrible I felt. Well, that almost derailed our entire relationship! We took a "step back" for the second semester, but eventually started dating again. One funny thing was that I was taking ballroom dancing. I was in the advanced class. Holly hadn't taken the first one, so she couldn't take advanced, but I didn't want to do the basic again. Not only that, but an ex-girlfriend I took the first class with wanted to take the advanced, and I was the only partner available. So, I took the advanced class with my ex-girlfriend and went immediately to Holly's dorm to teach her the dance steps we learned.

Then, I had a former girlfriend (a different one) call me and talk about getting together again. I was torn and confused. I didn't know who I should be with, so I did a novena, asking Holly to stay away from me for nine days. At the end of the novena, there was no clear answer and I was more confused than ever. I was crying in an office cubicle in the Christian Conference Office, and I prayed to the Lord, "Please send me an angel, Lord." At that very moment, I looked up and the doorknob turned and Holly walked in. I never felt anything like it; it was crystal clear. This was the woman that the Lord had set apart for me.

I proposed the summer of '95 and we were married August of '96. After 14 years, we have seven boys and live in Columbus, Ohio. I am the director of IT for the Columbus Museum of Art and Holly works part time teaching NFP as a fertility care practitioner.

From Holly's Perspective:

Tom and I met officially the Fall of ‘94. He was friends with some of my household sisters, and we were introduced once outside the cafeteria. After that, he became known to me as “Tom D., the guy who says hi to me all the time,” when we were walking in opposite directions up and down the hill to class. He pretended to like playing euchre just to spend time with me at a Francis Hall party. He finally asked me out on a date in early November to see a play on campus and then asked me to the Winter Formal, where we had a blast because he is such a good dancer. He took dance lessons and because he was in the advanced class, I could not join him, but after each class he would run over to Thomas More and we would go dance and practice in the parking lot. I remember learning the swing step on a snowy evening in the parking lot and thinking, "If I just let go and let him lead, we have more fun." I also found Tom studying in the library a little more because he knew I would be there. I don’t know if he had stepped in there for too long before that semester.

Things started to go a little quick in our relationship by the beginning of the next semester, and I did not want to fail in my schooling or see our relationship end badly because we got too physical too fast. That is where some spiritual guidance from Fr. Gus warning us not to open-mouth kiss and to create a contract about our relationship really helped. Our contract included that we needed to study before spending time together, pray together each day, and not put ourselves in the near occasion of sin by keeping doors open and trying to do activities with friends along. It grew our friendship and relationship tenfold.

That spring, we went on SonLife together, and then when we came back, Tom had this conflict that an ex-girlfriend was contacting him to get back together. I stepped back to let him try to figure out what he wanted, and then I just got to the point that I couldn’t sit back any longer and confronted him to make a decision.

That July, he proposed to me when I came to visit him in Steubenville when he was working the conferences. Finally, we married 13 months later at Christ the King on August 17, 1996. We decided to marry there because that is where we fell in love and it was our home parish at the time.

 

Bob '96 and Jen (McInnis '96) Hickey


Married December 1996

In my last semester of school at FUS, at the end of January, I was working the equipment counter in Finnegan Fieldhouse when a young man came to the window to get some air in his basketball. The University is small, and for the most part, if you don't know everyone, you have at least seen everyone. I had never seen this person before and was so intrigued. We had the greatest, easiest conversation, and when he walked away I felt as if, instantaneously, I had met a new friend.

We started to see each other more often around the fieldhouse, as we both were very involved in intramurals. Intramural basketball season was going on, and as Bob was reffing, I did stats and found myself looking at the schedule, hoping that I would be doing stats at the games that he was either reffing or playing in.

Our conversations became more frequent, and they were so natural that it felt as if we had known each other for years. He would casually ask if I wanted to go to the Pub after games and we would sit with a group of friends and get to know each other, and without fail he would make sure to walk me up the hill to my car—what a gentleman!We started meeting at Benediction, and he started coming to a prayer group with me. We finally went on an official date to the Olive Garden just outside of Pittsburgh. Most people are nervous to eat when on a first date, but I remember feeling so at ease and never running out of things to say—oh, and eating my entire plate of pasta. It was if I had gained a best friend within a month. I had sort of decided that since it was my last semester, it would be impossible to meet someone that I could establish enough of a relationship with to marry, and I knew I would go home to Seattle and work my job at a bank and move on with my life. I was nervous to give too much to this friendship since I would be leaving anyway.

He went away for Spring Break and the next day, there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers on my doorstep. He had arranged for the delivery to come the day after he was gone. While he was away, I realized that every day I missed our conversations (this was in the pre-cell phone era).

When he came back, we started to spend every day together, and I realized that God can do anything, like have you establish a best friendship within a couple of months. I had prayed my whole life that my spouse would be ready when I was ready. Bob had come to the University with the intention of discerning the priesthood, and he also came to the realization that God will guide us in all that we do and that priesthood was not to be his vocation.

We met at the end of January 1996, were engaged at the end of June 1996, and were married December 7, 1996 at Christ the King Chapel on Franciscan University's campus. We have been married 14 years and have been blessed with seven beautiful healthy children. God is good and we couldn't be more grateful.

 

Patrick '06 and Erin (Callon) Grace


My wife Erin and I met in January of 2006 when we were cast together in the Drama Department's main-stage production, "The Curious Savage," directed by Dr. Monica Anderson. Thanks, Dr. A!

 

Greg '98 and Myriah (Roberts ‘97) Boudreaux


It was August ’95 and classes hadn’t even started yet. I was a junior who had transferred from a southern California community college; Greg was a sophomore coming from a state college in South Louisiana. Both of us being newcomers, we were attending the FUS ice cream social. And both of our roommates being newcomers, they attended with us. My roommate had recently played basketball with Greg's roommate and so introductions were in order.

Habits being what they are, I am almost certain I had a scoop of chocolate and he had one of strawberry. Despite the cool sweetness we both enjoyed that night, Greg and I were not instantly enamored with each other. I first had to show him to how to dance to good rock music, and he needed to make sure I could enjoy bubble-blowing while see-sawing. Through all that, we somehow clicked.

Greg was a computer science major intrigued with mathematical puzzles; I studied psychology and mused over what motivated people. We spent many evenings at “The Pub” sipping Clearly Canadian and munching on Twix during games of Gin Rummy, all the while discussing how God touches everything, why people are the way they are, and how there is always hope for transformation.

By November ’97 we were kneeling in a church, agreeing to share a lifetime together. We now enjoy occasional rock concerts and rides on the backyard see-saw. With five kids and homeschooling, though, we rarely ever get to play cards. But we still gather as a family to enjoy some Neapolitan ice cream.

 

Tom '97 and Mimi (Machado '98)


My husband and I met on a very cold afternoon on January 13, 1996. I had just spent the last semester in Austria and was anxious to come back to campus to see my household sisters. I arrived a few days early and we promptly got hit by a snowstorm. I was staying at Jenn Fredrick (Morson '98) and Libby Hartranft (Waters '97)'s apartment until the dorm opened on Sunday. Because of the snowstorm, Libby's mammoth station wagon was covered in snow when Jenn told me we had to dig the car out and go pick up her friend, Tom. He was arriving at the bus station later that day.

As the naive Miami native that I was, I jumped at the opportunity to dig a car out of snow, so I gleefully agreed and off Jenn and I went, cleaned off the car, and slowly made our way to the Greyhound station downtown. We sat and waited for what seemed like delay after delay, and finally his bus arrived. I even remember that I told Jenn, "This guy better be great, for all this work," and Jenn replied, "I think you'll like him." Out we went to get him and off the bus came what I can only describe as a typical Minnesota lumberjack! He was wearing his Minnesota winter gear complete with Duck boots and a full red beard! And I fell in love! It took Tom a little longer, but I guess it really was love at first sight since it will be 15 years this January since that fateful day. Every year on the 13th of January, our family says a very special prayer for Jenn and Libby to thank them for the workings of that day.

 

Doug ’99 and Anna (Lebens, '99) Longstaff


Married January 1999

Anna and I became engaged while we were students in Steubenville in 1998, but our “Franciscan love story” began several years before that. In 1992, as a high school freshman in Kansas, I attended a retreat led in part by a group of Franciscan University students from Texas. There, I met Anna, and we became very close friends through our school’s weekly prayer meetings. Friendship grew into love, and we were convinced that God was leading us toward marrying each other. At the same time, Franciscan University continued to play a huge role in the formation of our spiritual lives, through visits to friends and family there, and through other ministries that Franciscan offers the larger Church.

We found ourselves in a bit of a dilemma. We were 17 or 18 years old and convinced of our future vocation, yet we both very much desired to live the full Franciscan University experience from a student’s perspective. Our parents had given us comfortable upbringings, but we knew that we were largely on our own dime for college expenses. So we resolved to enter our vocation without the burden of financial debt, and opted to work our way through college at home through a local public university.

But the call to Steubenville never subsided. Within a couple of years, I came to view this call as being in conflict with my desire to marry Anna. Not long before our 21st birthdays, we decided to spend some time apart from each other to better discern our vocational calling. Three months later, we bumped into each other and spoke for the first time since we had parted—and discovered that we had both independently made the decision to enroll at Franciscan in the spring semester!

So I moved to Steubenville in January of 1998 with my best friend in the world. At 21 years old, we moved into college dorms for the first time in our lives! A month later, we were engaged. We married the following January and graduated that May, having spent three semesters (and our entire engagement and first five months of married life) on the hill. We left Steubenville with a manageable level of debt, a job offer in my pocket, and an experience that we wouldn’t trade for the world.

 

David '95 and "Lili" Marlene (Sternhagen '98) Wendell


Married June 1999

I met my beloved husband when he was a senior and I a freshman, eating lunch with a group of mutual friends at the cafe. Being self-absorbed as I always am, I can't remember if I asked him anything about himself, but our friendship started when Dave asked my favorite book, and I, an avid Lit major, couldn't mention one single work to the exclusion of all the others (Shakespeare, Dante, and Beowulf go without saying) so I said Longfellow's Evangleine, because it was the first thing that came to mind. It didn't seem like a life-changing conversation at the time, but I was very impressed when the next time I saw Dave, as we were passing on the way to and from class, he called out that he had found the poem and read it and loved it now too, although he hadn't expected it to be a whole book (History/Political Science meets Literature)! The poem has become even sweeter to me now, as you will see in a minute.

We became dear friends that year. He was intelligent and interesting and funny, and I could see he was a good brother to his sister Faith, who also became my dear friend. After David graduated, we wrote many letters, and visited twice during the summers. All during those years, Dave was my hope, although I didn't really think we'd ever get married, plus I was always open to the religious life. But by my junior year, the tone of his letters was increasing in tenderness and and unmistakable romantic inclination, and by the time I graduated, we'd done a long distance Total Consecration together, and I knew something was going to happen between us. And it did—I came to Oregon to visit, and with Mt. Hood as our chaperone, we kissed in an apple orchard all a'bloom. The next time I saw him clinched it—he picked me up at the airport with a wilted bouquet and Paul Johnson's History of the American People under his arm, and as I walked toward him, I knew that I would be walking toward him all my life. So I determined to move to Oregon and see what happened.

On the Feast of the Epiphany, we went to pray the Rosary after work together, and then Dave proposed to me in front of altar of the Sacred Heart at St. Boniface Church in Sublimity, Oregon. I highly recommend it as a great place to become engaged! We were married there in June of 1999, with lots of Franciscan alums in our wedding party, playing music and singing in the choir, and celebrating with us all over the world.

In 2007, after many years of prayer and hope, we named our first child Evangelyn Amor Teresa, and a year later, we were blessed with a son, David Francis Raphael. We are very happy, and thank God every day that we are together!

 

Andrew '98 and Julia (Manahan '98) Klusman


Married May 2000

I was sitting in the cafeteria with my twin brother, Thomas, and my parents and one of my sisters. We were there having lunch before our parents left to drive back to our hometown in Michigan. We were the only people in there…and then she walked in with her father. Now, all Julia wanted to do was have a quiet lunch with her dad so she could hang onto the moment, but being that her father is the shyest man I know (not), he just had to introduce his daughter and himself to everyone in the place (as I said, we were the only ones in the room). He rushed over, dragging her with him, and promptly ate lunch with us. Thomas and I were stoked to have such a beautiful girl to eat lunch with and we must have made an impression on her because she did agree to dance with us at the freshman mixer that evening. During our freshman year, we would see each other occasionally, but as she lived off campus and worked as a nanny for Margaret Weber, visits were few and far between.

It was sophomore year when we really came together as a couple. A few factors that came together also worked in our favor. The first was that Julia was now single, as she and her boyfriend back home had broken up. The second was that my brother Thomas went to Austria that semester, so she had me all to herself without having to share me with him. Our first date was a walk down to the Holiday Inn for some barbeque at Damon’s and then to the pool party at the community pool near campus. Our friendship blossomed from there and we spent hours together.

Julia says she knew I really liked her when she found me sitting behind her in the Port when she was in Adoration very early one morning. We spent many joyful hours together working for Student Activities Board and Students in Free Enterprise. The second semester we dated was spent in Austria together and our relationship “survived” the challenges that many couples face in that closeness. Our most memorable time there was when we spent our 10-day break in Ireland with Patrick Bliss.

Junior and senior years had their ups and downs; the most difficult was that Julia had to share me with Thomas. After graduation, we each went back to our home towns and eventually broke up for a little while. After reconciling, I moved down to Florida to be with her. We were married on May 28, 2000, we have two wonderful adopted boys Xavier, 4 1/2 and Felix, 2, and we continue to share our love and story when we present Engaged Encounter retreats for engaged couples in our diocese.

 

Dan '02 and Tammi (Routh '99) McCarthy


Married June 2001

When I envisioned meeting my spouse at Franciscan, I never thought that I would meet my spouse on the way "out the door" my senior year, while he was entering in as a freshman.

To provide some background, I met my future husband at the healing service for the Summer Young Adult Conference in Steubenville. I was busy praying when the Lord laid a "word" on my heart for a gentleman several aisles in front of me. As I awkwardly approached him after the service, I realized that I had met him before. He was the brother of one of the girls in my residence hall (I would later be told that he was struggling with his vocation, which he thought was to the priesthood, and my verse from Jeremiah about "God's plans not being our own" had struck a cord!). He mentioned that he was going to be a student in the fall and did I know anyone who was looking for a roommate? To his surprise, I was the Student Coordinator for the Fall Orientation program for the University. I happily (because he was cute) got his information to send him a map of off-campus housing and other information. I think he "got the picture" when I sent him the off-campus housing highlighting where I lived and where a mutual friend lived. When he came to campus that Fall of 1999, it took us all of two weeks to start dating. He truly has been the biggest gift from Franciscan. I graduated and moved away for a year while he attended Austria in 1999 and then moved back to FUS in the summer of 2000 and took on a job as an Admissions Counselor for FUS. We got engaged on the hill in front of Kolbe/Clare during an "impromptu" picnic during summer classes and were married in June of 2001. We have been happily married for almost 10 years and have four beautiful children: Shayla (6), Danny James (4), Kaleigh (3) and Avianna (1). We are so thankful for our FUS family!

 

Sean '97 and Stacy (Sandor '01) Martin


We met for the first time when I was on a Come and See weekend. The guys in our group stayed at the house (Knights' Castle) where Sean, a senior, lived. We hung out over the weekend, but neither of us was very impressed because neither of us noticed the other. We then hung out together a few more times when Sean came back to visit after he graduated, off and on for the next two years. Again, neither of us noticed the other. We do know that we spent time together because we have mutual friends, hence why we were at the same house (Knight's Castle) for Easter dinner with the same group of people. We ate Easter dinners together and hung out since we have the same mutual friends. It is funny because one of us will say, "I remember going to Francesco's for coffee that Saturday night" and the other one of us will say, "I remember that, too, and I remember hearing Justin play." It was almost as if the Lord kept saying, "Not yet."

After two years of this "hit and miss," Sean came back to campus for another visit after Crossroads during my junior year. I was hanging out with a group of our mutual friends at the same house at which I had eaten Easter dinners with Sean unbeknownst to me. We "met" again, shared some Timbits from Tim Horton's, and began dating shortly thereafter.

A year later, Sean proposed, and we celebrated with Timbits again (I do miss that place). We are now going on ten years of marriage with four kids.

 

Mark and Cassie (Dretsch '01) Starinsky


I met my husband at Franciscan University in an indirect way. I was playing in the Alumni Softball Tournament my senior year, and we were seriously beating up on the Alumni Team. My now-husband was watching his sister Mary Ohlin's kids while my team was beating her team. Mary is an alumni of FUS and also had worked in the fieldhouse as a graduate. Well, apparently, Mary's brother noticed my home run and two triples and mentioned to his sister that he was impressed.

Well, then Mary, whom I had become acquaintances with through Chris Ledyard (athletic director at FUS), somehow finagled an introduction between Mark and me following the game (who would have thought it would have led to marriage, moves, jobs, and three kids?).

As it played out, we won the softball tournament, and I went on my merry way with graduation preparation. With diploma in hand, celebrating with family and friends, Chris Ledyard found me after the ceremony and said, "Hey Cassie, can I give Mark your e-mail?"

I responded, "Mark who?"

"Mary's brother, Mark Starinsky," Chris explained.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "Sure." I gave him my e-mail and off I went, not giving it much thought.

Several weeks later, I was starting a new job, had moved again, and was trying to figure out where I fit in society, when suddenly, I get this e-mail from this guy, Mark Starinsky, and that's how our love story began. Thank you, Franciscan University, life and God are good!

 

Kevin '00 and Donella (Cotter '00) Jacobs


Married May 2002

We did not actually meet at FUS. We have many friends that are the same, that even took the same Human Embryology class with Mr. Bessler our senior year. We actually met in Memphis, Tennessee. Kevin moved there after graduation to work as a youth minister. Donella moved to Memphis after graduation to work at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital as a nurse.

Donella knew the only way to meet people was to find an active parish. That parish happened to be the one at which Kevin was the youth minister. So Donella started volunteering with the youth and met Kevin. We became friends, started dating in January 2001, got engaged in July 2001, and were married in May 2002. We have six children as of Nov 17, 2010, five boys and one girl. Though we did not meet at FUS, because of FUS we knew what we wanted and what to look for in a spouse. Thank you, FUS!

 

Michael '02 and Mary (Tredway '02) Tober


Our story was not love at first sight. We saw each other for the first time in Sacraments class. I thought Michael was a "bum" because he dressed like one and was unkempt. He thought I was a "goody two shoes" because I would sometimes raise my hand and answer the question before I was even called on. We really didn't have any occasion to talk to each other since he sat on the other side of the room. But a mutual friend of ours sat near me and my friend so eventually, we sometimes chatted after class as we headed toward the cafe. Then for one week my friend was not able to show up for class, and Michael and I started to talk more that week and ate a meal together. From there, we struck up a friendship. I began to look forward to seeing him around campus. Finally, I realized that I was truly attracted to his joy, which he radiated, even though he still dressed like a bum. Michael was not interested in becoming involved in any kind of relationship, but one day, as I was walking in the cafeteria, he looked up and was all of a sudden struck by how beautiful he thought I was. So we spent more time together, dated for a year, graduated and were engaged for a year before getting married.

 

Joseph '04 and Monica (Nelson, '06) Roderique


I had spent my undergraduate years at Steubenville in the Pre-Theologate program and was coordinator for the Living Stones during my senior year. I graduated and spent the summer visiting various religious orders and doing mission work. Although I had begun to question whether I was called to the priesthood during my junior year, I determined to stick to my discernment process to the very end. Ultimately, by the end of the summer following graduation, I felt fairly certain that I was not called to the priesthood, and my spiritual advisor (Fr. Dave Pivonka) noted that I'd had a rocky life after high school and an intense conversion process and had immediately jumped to consideration of the priesthood without ever giving marriage a serious thought. Having already begun my Master's degree studies during undergrad, I decided to return to Steubenville and complete my Master's degree.

Those who know me know that I love music. In particular, I love to sing and I really love my djembe' (a type of hand drum). The same day that I called the University to enroll in the Master's program for the 2004 Fall semester, I received a phone call from Becky Gibson '06, asking me if I'd be interested in playing on the Festival of Praise (FOP) team which she would be heading up that year! I should mention that I made the decision to return over a breakfast discussion with my dad about nine days before the start of the semester. That was the same day that I called to enroll (It helps that I knew Fr. Dan really well) and I hadn't told anyone that I was returning to school. So how the heck did Becky know I was coming back? It turns out that the switchboard operator was a good friend of mine and knew Becky very well also. When I called the University to be put through to Fr. Dan's office, he recognized my voice and asked how I was doing. I told him I was thinking about coming back, we chatted for second, and he patched me through. Two hours later, Becky Gibson is on the phone, asking me to play percussion for her FOP team. Turns out, she'd been praying for a percussionist and specifically wanted me, but as far as she knew, I'd graduated and was now in seminary. Of course, I agreed to play for her.

Two days following my re-arrival in Steubie, we met up for a FOP team dinner where I met the rest of the team. I was already close friends with everyone there except a quiet girl named Monica who was our piano player. Being the extrovert that I am, I began asking her about herself. It turned out that we were both from large families (I'm the last of 10, she's the last of 7) we both had August birthdays (mine's the 27th, hers the 29th), we both loved Ultimate Frisbee, we both had much older parents and enjoyed working out and swing dancing. We also had many of the same friends. In fact, Monica was at that time in her junior year and in the nursing program. She attended morning prayer in the chapel almost every day, and had for the past two years, but I had never seen her before! Now that I'd met her, I began seeing her everywhere, to the point that it was almost weird. At some point during the closing Mass of Orientation week and the tent dinner that followed, I decided that before things got any weirder, I needed to ask this girl out. To my surprise, she said yes.

We had a number of ups and downs during our relationship, including one or two breakups, but they never lasted long. I noticed that we communicated well and we were both willing to give and take criticism without getting overly defensive. I loved spending time with her, and indeed we had so many of the same interests that we would have spent time together whether we liked it or not! During a Sunday brunch with her family, I discovered that her sister-in-law had actually been my sister's roommate here at Steubenville. That might not seem like much except that my sister only attended Steubenville for a semester because, and I quote, "all the boys there want to be priests." Gretchen and my sister Colleen had become such close friends during their three and a half months at Tommy More that Gretchen and her husband Mark (Monica's brother) actually came to my sister's wedding right after they got out of jail from their work with Operation Rescue! How is it possible that I had met this girl's brother, had most of the same friends, interests, and activities, and yet during my previous three years at Steubenville, we had never met? Clearly, I had some serious blinders on.

Monica and I dated for that first year while working together on the FOP team. At the final FOP of the year, after benediction, I had worked out a scheme with the help of Aaron Little whereby I was able to propose to Monica on the stage and she never saw it coming. She said yes and we were married the following year in Christ the King chapel by my brother who's a diocesan priest in Newark, New Jersey. As a nurse, Monica gave me a new direction for my career and I am currently in my second year of medical school at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. As a wife (and thanks in large part to NFP) Monica has blessed me with three beautiful children: Moira, Gianna, and Damian. As a friend, Monica has helped me become a better person and walks this journey with me as we seek together to be made anew in the image of Christ and raise a new generation of Catholics who will share the risen Christ with others.

 

Andrew '05 and Sarah (Asher '05) Spellman


Married May 2005

We both lived in Trinity East during the 2002-2003 school year. We met when he stranded us between floors on the elevator. I was not amused at the time. I thought I was in the elevator with a crazy person! After that, I avoided him for months. Our second introduction was in Tommy on a Saturday afternoon. I was with a friend working on a project, and some poor girl down the hall had some guy pounding on her door and shouting at her to hurry up and get dressed. I found out later that Andrew was yelling at his sister and pounding on her door to wake her up since they were supposed to be going out for brunch. I hid from him then, too!

Then one night, we girls were watching a movie in the common room and he went out to get all of us ice cream! He even recognized the movie that was playing without even looking at the T.V. I thought, "Wow, maybe he's not so scary after all!" I was dating someone else at the time, but eventually Andrew and I became friends. We started dating in February of 2003 and surprised a lot of people. My friends thought I could do better, but then they got to know him. We were married a week after we graduated in 2005.

 

Jason '05 and Erin (Wiedenmann '04) Pohlmeier


Erin had gotten involved in Franciscan Missions for Peace. She had been a member of one of the Jamaica teams, and was set to attend Sonlife for Spring Break 2003. Another group was scheduled to do a mission in a poor rural town in southeast Arkansas called McGehee. About three weeks before Spring Break, Erin received a call from Fr. Stan Holland. The leader of the Arkansas trip had been forced to pull out, and he wanted to know if she would be willing to take charge of that trip. She said yes.

This was an interesting time in America. Operation Iraqi Freedom would actually begin during Spring Break that year, and several students had already been called away to duty. They had been reading the names of these students during the intercessions at Mass, and two of the students were named Jason. Fr. Stan gave Erin a list of those who had signed up for this trip and she saw that there was a student named Jason Pohlmeier signed up for this trip. As Erin began to call the members of the group, she believed that I had been one of the names she had been hearing at Mass and decided not to call. However, my brother, Fr. Erik Pohlmeier, was the pastor in McGehee, Arkansas. He assured Erin that I was not in the military, and that I was still planning to be part of that mission.

Erin and I had not met before the planning meetings for this trip, so we had only known each other for three weeks. It takes 16 hours to drive from Steubenville to McGehee, but that was all the time it took for Erin and I to start looking for each other whenever we had some down time. On Monday night, the first night in Arkansas, Fr. Erik took the group out for pizza, and Erin and I both kept our eyes out for empty chairs together. Things worked out, though, because it was only natural that both the leader of the trip and the priest’s brother would be expected to sit near Fr. Erik. From that point on, any time we had a chance, we would work together, eat meals together, whatever. When we got back from the mission each night, we would linger getting stuff out of the cars so that we could walk in together. As long as other people were up talking, we would stay up to have more time to talk.

By Friday night, it was apparently beyond obvious to the rest of the group that something was happening with us. Several of our friends in the group had started to give us a hard time about each other. That night, Erin was heading to the chapel, and I was “encouraged” by some others in the group not to let her be alone that late at night. Despite the fact that we had 12 hours of the 16-hour trip to drive the next day, we stayed in the church talking until 4:00 a.m. We made it back to Steubenville safely, and we have spent very little time apart since. We have now been married for five years and have three children, ages 4, 2, and 5 months. We are very grateful for all of our experiences at Steubenville, but this trip to McGehee, Arkansas outranks all the rest!

 

Eric '04 and Lori (Guidry '06) Dumas


Married June 2006

We met in the cafe through a mutual friend (thanks, Kat!) in December 2002. We "coincidentally" signed up for the same Spanish class the following semester and soon became assigned study partners. We started dating near the end of that semester after getting to know each other, playing racquetball at the Fieldhouse, eating dinners at a local Mexican restaurant (conveniently, for Spanish class extra credit), and attending the Spring Formal together. We had an amazing marriage prep program through Christ The King Chapel and were married June 17, 2006 in Louisiana.

 

David '01 and Jennifer (Senour '06) Uebbing


My husband and I are both FUS grads, but we met after college, through friends—also alumni—who were living in the Denver area. My girlfriend hosted me at her home for a weekend when I flew into town for a job interview with FOCUS, the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. She arranged for her boyfriend at the time—now her husband—to bring his roommates along to meet us for dinner and drinks. Long story short, one of the roommates—a fellow Steubenville grad and former FOCUS missionary himself—turned out to be Mr. Right. I ended up accepting the job, moving to Denver, and getting engaged to my amazing husband the following spring. Now, we need to start saving up so our son, Joseph Kolbe, (born September 22nd of 2010) can attend Franciscan one day. God is good!

 

Scott '06 and Jennifer (Schmitz '06) Hannah


Scott and I were introduced to each other our sophomore year of college in the spring. Scott and several of his household brothers (Lion of Judah) became friends with some of my close friends during the fall, while I was studying abroad in Austria. When we were introduced, Scott was dating a girl back at home, so there were no romantic prospects for us, but I was immediately attracted to him. We hung out in the cafeteria most days in our big group, and while we saw each other on a regular basis, neither of us remembers much about the other except for being there and laughing tons.

Fast forward a year, and in January of our junior year, we happened to bump into each other at the Household Fair. We ate lunch together and talked for over an hour, and I found out Scott and his girlfriend had broken up. After that lunch, we didn't see each other again until the Lambs' Singles Mingle in February. My girlfriends and I went to the dance every year and always had a blast. This year was no exception. However, after spending two and a half years of going to dances and having only a handful of young men actually ask me to dance, I was determined that I'd be bold and ask them. Soon after we arrived, a slow song came on and I looked for the first male face that was familiar and friendly to dance with. That happened to be Scott. What I didn't know was that he was working up the courage to ask a Lamb to dance and possibly go to the Lion of Judah date night a week later.

I walked up and asked Scott to dance and he immediately said, "Yes." As we were dancing, something clicked between us, and for Scott, it was a sudden moment where he fell in love with me. It was like the blinders had been removed from his eyes. I had always been attracted to him, so for me, it was more of a growing attraction. We talked through that slow dance and he asked me to dance five or six times after that and, as they say, the rest is history!

 

Aaron '06 and Christine (Marcotte '94) Stimson


Aaron and I met on his very first day at FUS. We were introduced by someone he had just met, my friend and fellow Honors program student, Ron Happ '04. Aaron was subsequently invited along with Ron and his household brothers in Anawim to many a movie or fun activity, and he eventually joined Anawim. By the end of the year, we were dating—I knew he was serious about me when I asked him to meet me for breakfast in the cafeteria and he came! He asked me to marry him while we were preparing an Easter meal at my off-campus apartment. Among the first three to find out: Ron Happ, who was in the kitchen at the time. The rest is history.

 

Ken '05 and Maria (Torma '08) Baldwin


I was in my senior year and saw this gorgeous girl on campus and realized that she was either a freshman or a transfer student. When I finally got the courage to talk to her, I realized she was my worst fear: a freshman with three years of nursing school left.

As hard as I tried to not start a relationship with her, I ended up asking her to Winter Formal. Mutual friends told me that she had a dress that fit her perfectly, but nobody to ask her (which I later found out was untrue). That night at the Formal dance, I realized there was something there that I had never seen before. I was able to get a job with the Admissions Office, we were married before her senior year, and I still work for Franciscan University five years later.

 

Anthony '07 and Stephanie (Kerchinski '07) Muhs


Anthony and I met on the very first day of classes our freshman year at Franciscan. I remember it like it was yesterday...

I was a small-town girl from St. Mary's, Pennsylvania, who sat attentively in the front row of Music Theory, while Anthony, a city boy from Long Island, New York, hid in the back corner behind a rut in the wall. We laugh now, but our first impressions of each other, as you can imagine, were based only on the outer appearance of our seat choices in class and our clothes. Yes, our clothes! Anthony was wearing sweatpants and a bandana and spoke with a New York accent, so of course, I assumed he was a gang member from the mean streets of NYC! I was wearing pigtails, overalls, and a great big smile, making me look like a hippie from the '60s, or at least that's what Anthony thought. Despite our differences in where we grew up and our fashion sense, we were intrigued by each other and drawn into a friendship with its foundation on faith and music.

We found out very quickly that we both played the piano and guitar and loved to write our own music! I can't even count the number of times I would walk through the J.C. instead of around it just to check every piano in sight, with the hopes that he would be there playing some Billy Joel or his original songs that I loved. He had such a great sense of humor and a child-like faith that attracted me to him very early on—especially the night of the October Parents' Weekend Talent Show! That was the night my heart skipped a beat. He sang lead with his Barbershop Quartet and looked so cute in his hat, bow tie, and suspenders! Oh, how I wished he was singing to me! But it wasn't until the end of our freshman year that Anthony initiated a deeper relationship and we actually started dating. And wouldn't you know it, he did sing to me in the cafe on Valentine's Day one year! You can check it out on YouTube under "Cafe Serenade on St. Valentine's Day."

It was exciting then, and is still exciting every day as we continue our journey of faith and making "Muhs-ic" together.

 

Gregory '07 and Laura (Tiefenbach '07) Frayser


Married June 2007

My husband and I met at Franciscan University and it was little bit of miracle in my opinion. I started at Franciscan as a freshman in August 2002. Greg transferred from the University of Nebraska as a sophomore in January 2005, but he wasn't supposed to transfer until the following August. He had been told there was no more room and had been put on a waiting list to hopefully be accepted for enrollment in August 2005. But mid-December 2004, he received a letter in the mail with his roommate and dorm information. Confused, he called FUS. They had no explanation but to say, "You must be meant to come now!"

I lived off campus and was at a household sister's birthday party the week before school started (also Orientation week). My household sister, Katie, knew Greg and invited him to her party. We met at the party and got along great. As the semester began, we continued to bump into each other at the fieldhouse, at Mass, at the cafeteria, all over! We became great friends, which turned into dating after a few months. We dated for about a year, and then Greg surprised me, dressed in a suit, down on one knee with a ring!

We both graduated in May 2007 (Greg with a Bachelors of Art in English and I with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing), got married at my home parish in Cleveland, Ohio on June 9, 2007, and then moved to Lincoln, Nebraska where Greg's family is and so he could start law school at University of Nebraska School of Law. I passed my boards and started working as a cardiac nurse here in Lincoln. Now, Greg has finished law school, passed the bar, and is working as a lawyer at a wonderful, family-oriented law firm here in Lincoln. Now, with school done, we are waiting patiently for God to grant us children if it is His will! Our faith is what brought us together and it continues to be the bond between us!

 

Robert '09 and Jenna (Eannone '09) Baldwin


On the evening of August 28th, 2007, I met the amazing Jenna Eannone for the first time. For both of us, it was our first time traveling abroad. The meeting took place in the tucked-away mountains of Gaming, Austria. Franciscan University is renowned for its study abroad program, and that was one of the main reasons we had decided to attend the University.

At the time, I was living on the ground floor of the Kartause with the great Will Peyton from Dallas, Texas (as a side note, William also met his wife during that same semester in Austria). Will and I were coaching a group of girls for their flag football league when I was introduced to Jenna Eannone. We had never formally met before this and at the time, I honestly did not think too much about it. For the majority of the semester, we came in little contact with one another and looking back, we are still amazed at the fact that things ended up the way they did. Although our time there was short, it was a period in our lives we will never forget. We laugh when we bring up the Thanksgiving dance—all 150 of us dressed in festive Austrian attire—remembering how brilliant everyone looked and trying not to feel foolish. We shared memories and laughs together as the weeks flew by, and before we knew it, we were back in Steubenville.

It was an entire year before we met again—the fall of our senior year, not a care in the world. Our paths crossed again at one of the most fantastic get-togethers of the year. Mutual friends of ours were having an Austrian/Oktoberfest get-together. From there, it seemed almost meant to be, as we never stopped talking to each other from that point on. We still debate about who starting falling for the other first, but in the end, neither of us really knows. It wasn't until then that we both realized that perhaps there was more to our relationship than we had ever imagined. Although we never knew it, God was in control the entire time, carefully working in our lives.

We both learned more than we could have ever hoped for from our four years at Franciscan University, but the one thing that we are the happiest about gaining is one other.

 

Josh MA '09 and Rosemary (Goldsmith '02) Cordonnier


Married April 2009

Rosemary and I first met when she came home with my older sister Maria from Franciscan for a visit. We live four hours from Franciscan, and Rosemary and Maria were roommates. Rosemary loved Maria and had her eye open for a brother in the family that would allow her to become a sister-in-law. Sadly, pickings were slim! "Oh, well," she thought, "we can still be friends." It didn't bother me. I was (shocking) planning on becoming a priest.

I went to undergraduate at Ohio State in Columbus, where my two sisters and Rosemary also lived. In Columbus, we became friends, but nothing more. Over the years, we kept in touch every several months. I ended up at Franciscan in 2007 to get my graduate degree in counseling. She came to Steubenville for a wedding in the spring of 2008. We had not seen each other for four years, and the timing was right. We were dating by the end of the weekend (as predicted by my brother-in-law Andrew Bremberg who met and married my sister, Maria, at Steubenville). We were engaged the following fall and married in Steubenville in April 2009. We now live in Dallas, Texas and have a 7-month-old baby boy: John "Jack" Anthony Cordonnier!

 

Matt MBA '09 and Laura (Williams '08) Smeby


Married July 2009

I met my husband, Matt Smeby, at Franciscan University. He had just started as a graduate student, and I was beginning my last semester of undergrad. We met through mutual friends and always enjoyed running into one another in the J.C. or at social events. I graduated in December of 2008, and we parted ways as friends. The following March, I returned to Steubenville for Stella Mariae's 10-year reunion. Matt and I had an opportunity to touch base once again, and we realized how much we had missed one another. We started talking on the phone very often and a month later, I came back for another visit.

We started off our first date with noon Mass in Christ the King. Matt earned his MBA in May 2009 and two months later, we were married. We are now expecting our first child and hope that if it's a boy, he will play Franciscan rugby like his dad!

 

Patrick '10 and Marina (Secord '09) Smith


Married September 2010

Patrick and I met in Cultural Anthropology class the first week of school in August 2006. We were good friends for a year, when I decided to answer the call to go to the convent to see how God wanted to use me in this world. After returning a year later to Franciscan University to finish schooling, we immediately started hanging out and became best friends. After that, we started dating and he later told me that he had waited for me, not dating anyone else and not even knowing if I would be his one day. We then let the Lord lead us how and where He wanted us. I graduated in May 2009 and moved to Jacksonville to pursue a job, where we pursued a long distance relationship, and then Patrick proposed in November 2009. We decided there was no one else we wanted to spend our lives with, and so, on September 18th, 2010, we got married in my hometown in St. Petersburg, Florida. We now live in Columbus, Ohio where God has blessed us with two wonderful jobs and we just found out we are having a beautiful baby in June 2011. We were both new to FUS in that fall of 2006, we were both from Florida but never had met, we both came knowing no one, and we were able to come away with a best friend and a love that will last a lifetime.

 

Jonathan '06 and Sara (Busha '10) Alexander


Married January 2011

Jonathan and I missed going to Franciscan together by three months: he graduated in May of 2006, and I began my freshman year in August 2006. Jonathan received a theology degree and began working as a youth minister in Sugar Land, Texas. I wanted to do ministry as well, but chose to get my degree in psychology with a theology minor. The summer after my sophomore year, I was attending a youth conference with my church, and he spotted my household T-shirt in the crowd. He had brought his youth group to the conference as well. We introduced ourselves and began talking about all of our Franciscan experiences. He was looking for a youth ministry intern for the following summer and asked me if I was interested. Nine months later, I was working in Sugar Land, doing youth ministry with him. We began dating after I had finished working there. I thank God every day for my household T-shirt that caught his eye!

 

Kelly Franklin '05 and Jessica Spinharney '08


To be Married June 2011

Kelly and I met in the weight room.

I only introduced myself to him because he was always there with the guy I was really interested in: his roommate. I was a freshman trying to find my way in a difficult semester, he was a junior who was still trying to figure out for himself why he had transferred from another small college. I was excited to learn that his former alma mater was that of a good friend of mine, a friend who had told me, "Look for a guy named Kelly Franklin. He transferred to Franciscan and he's great." I was glad to make the connection to an old friend, but honestly, there were other things on my mind: like his roommate.

Well, that very same roommate was kind enough to give both Kelly and me a ride to the Pittsburgh airport on an early, snowy December morning for Christmas break. Kelly and I had to be at the airport around the same time...because we had a flight at the same time...because we were on the same flight! In fact, our seats just happened to be next to each other! We spent the entire flight talking. We talked about our studies, our histories, our families, growing up in Minnesota...anything and everything. We both left the flight intrigued by the other and wanting to talk again next semester, but took little stock in what had just happened.

Both Kelly and I decided to give Franciscan another semester, so we returned and made an effort to at least catch up with each other. One conversation turned into another, and before we knew it, we were best friends. Unfortunately, the upcoming fall semester was to be Kelly's last, and I was seriously considering being in Austria during my best friend's final days at Franciscan. After much individual prayer and struggle on both our parts, Kelly admitted to me that he was deeply saddened at the thought of not spending his last semester with me. The day Kelly told me that was the very day I had decided to go to Austria without telling anyone...unless God made it really clear that that wasn't His plan for me. Kelly's words blindsided me. After an emotional hour or two in the Tommy More chapel, it hit me that God was moving in all of this. I felt instant peace as I realized that God wanted me to stay at the Steubenville campus, even if I didn't fully understand why...

That summer, Kelly and I started dating. We returned to Franciscan together for his final semester and tried to make a very long distance relationship work after he graduated, but to no avail. We broke up at the end of my sophomore year, and I decided I was finished with relationships.

We didn't talk for a year.

We didn't truly forgive each other for two years.

Six months later, we even entertained trying to date again. Despite our mutual attraction, neither of us felt right about it.

We didn't talk for another year.

In December of 2009, as I was writing evaluations for my high school students in a St. Paul coffee shop, in walked Kelly Franklin visiting a friend from his master's program. I was shocked, especially at the increasing intensity of the beating of my heart and the pit in my stomach that formed as soon as I realized it was him. I mustered up the courage to say hello, which produced a look on his face that easily represented the shock I was feeling. I was invited to drinks with his friends...I was invited to lunch with just Kelly...two days later, on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, I was invited to give our relationship another chance.

Five months later, in that same little coffee shop in St. Paul, I was invited to share the rest of my life with him. We are to be married in June of 2011 and we are both immensely grateful to God that we gave Franciscan University a chance. Now I know why I stayed. Now he knows why he transferred. Praised be Jesus Christ.

 

Patrick O'Mara '09 and Lynne Niemaszyk '10


To be married August 2011

Patrick and I were both biology majors from New Hampshire, but never met until a week before he graduated! A few days before Spring Formal, Patrick was trying to find a date (after a few less successful attempts), and this came up in conversation with a mutual friend, who suggested Patrick take me. However, I wasn't so sure about this, as we were in class together, but had barely ever talked with each other. Nonetheless, we went together and hit it off right away. The week following Spring Formal, we both made efforts to see each other, knowing Patrick would be graduating in just a week. Right before I left for the summer, he asked to see me over the summer. Reluctantly (and yet secretly very excited), I said yes, still unsure of how this could all work out. After he came home, we continued to see each other and call each other every night. It became clear to us fairly soon that we were perfect for each other.

After one more semester at Franciscan, I came back for a job in New Hampshire in January, and about a year and a half after we had our first date at Formal, Patrick proposed. We plan on getting married in August in the midst of earning my physician assistant degree, and right before Patrick begins his PhD studies. We are very excited to begin our lives together, and thankful for the university that brought us both together!

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