About one out of every 10 Ohio Wesleyan alumni is married to a fellow graduate.
The numbers don’t begin to tell the story, but lucky for us, you did. Some alumni couples met their freshman year, some met a world away, and at least one needed an assist from public safety.
A few had only to look next to them, thanks to the University’s old practice of alphabetical seating, like Edith Weisman ’57, who didn’t have to change her name when she married David Weisman ’57, after they met sitting next to each other in Gray Chapel. Then there are the couples who really paired up, like Caleb Douce ’08 and Jaime Scharf Douce ’08, who are one of five married couples in their circle of OWU friends, including Dustin Rudegeair ’08 and Kelli Lester Rudegeair ’08. (Hopefully they rotated bridesmaid dresses.)
Some OWU couples didn’t meet during their time on campus, like Melvyn Magree ’60 and Janet Smith Magree ’62, who were already dating when they came to OWU; and Irwan Sie ’07 and Anna-Britt Mahler Sie ’02, who met at an alumni event in Los Angeles. There are also multiple stories of parents who met at OWU whose children followed in their footsteps and met their own soul mates on campus — legacy loves.
While there’s no way to include every OWU love connection, we invite you to add yours online. Here are just a few from throughout the decades. (Submissions have been edited for length and clarity).
Janet Lynn McCoy ’44 and E. Jason McCoy
Jason: In 1943, I was a V-12 student (Navy unit for future deck officers) sent from Kenyon to OWU. I took a chemistry course, and Janet Lynn was an assistant under Dr. William Manuel. We dated off and on. I was sent to Harvard Business School. Later she followed me to Boston. We were married March 3, 1945, in Cincinnati on my way to a destroyer in the Pacific.
The McCoys had three children. Their daughter, Marjorie McCoy Mapes ’70, and son, Rick McCoy ’72, both attended OWU.
Editor’s note: Mr. McCoy sent in this note but passed away March 1 at the age of 93 – two days before what would have been their 72nd wedding anniversary. Learn more about the V-12 program at OWU.
Elva Pickwick Dunham ’52 and Bill Dunham ’51
Elva: When a freshman from Kenmore, N.Y., named Elva Pickwick met a junior U.S. Army veteran from Covington, Ohio, named William Dunham on campus in May 1949, it was the beginning of a great romance! We dated for two weeks, then were pinned for three years before marrying right after graduation, on June 21, 1952. … Ohio Wesleyan is the reason for everything good that has happened in our lives. … We are thankful for our many OWU friends and lots of happy memories that are the result of our Ohio Wesleyan connection.
Bill and Elva both went on to careers in education and had two daughters, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on June 21. Bill was the youngest of three brothers who all went to OWU, as did all of their wives.
Peggy Stiles Breese ’54 and Claude “Cap” Breese ’53
Peggy: We met in 1954 when I was a freshman bell girl at Stuyvesant Hall. (A “bell girl” was a person hired by the university to run a real “plug-in-the-cords switchboard.”) At that time, Stuyvesant Hall was female only, with calling hours ending at 10 p.m. If you had a date for the evening, or anytime, that person would go to the switchboard girl and ask her to ring the room number and tell the date that he was there to pick her up in the downstairs living room.
After two years of meeting other men whom I also enjoyed, I started a strong relationship with Cap when I moved from Hartupee Hall to Hayes House. He was a Kappa Sigma and I a Tri Delt, but he was a year ahead of me. However, in his senior year he proposed to me one night right out back of Hayes House next to the garage! The next year was filled with bouquets from him as he attended Columbia Law School in New York. The girls at Hayes House all enjoyed them, too. …OWU surely brings back many fond memories. The Lord has been good to us for many years!
Peggy and Cap married after her graduation. Cap joined General Electric as an international attorney, and they lived many places while raising three sons: David, Stephen, and Mark. Peggy taught music in the public schools of New Jersey, Oklahoma, and New York and also built and conducted several Methodist Church music and choir programs.
Janet Wallace Lapp ’55 and Robb Lapp ’54
Janet: I met Robb on my first Sunday in Delaware on a sidewalk in front of the Beta Sigma Tau house. All the fraternities were having open houses for the incoming freshmen women. Though we’re the same age, now 84, he was in the class of ’54 and I was a ’55 graduate. (He started grade school early.) We did not date until a year later because he was too shy to ask me out. We were engaged right after Christmas in my junior year.
Robb was a Beta Sig and I was in Cosmodelphia, a non-Greek women’s group to which many of the Co-op girls belonged. Both organizations focused on interracial, interfaith, and international relationships, a great foundation for our lives.
On the Sunday of my graduation week, Robb was ordained as a Methodist deacon in Rochester, N.Y. I graduated on Monday morning in Delaware. On Saturday, we were married by my father in Littleton, N.H., in the Methodist church he served. Three weeks later, we were in Western Springs, Ill., where Robb, a second-year student at Chicago Theological Seminary, was part-time youth minister and I was full-time director of religious education.
Life since has been a wild ride!... We are grateful to Ohio Wesleyan for all it has meant to us.
The Lapps had three children and Janet became a social worker. After Robb’s ministerial standing was terminated by the Methodists for being “too liberal,” he became a Congregational (and later UCC) minister, also leading a civil-rights open housing nonprofit in Denver. In May, 60 years after his first graduation from CTS, he received his second master’s.
Joanne Hlavin Ritter ’59 and Jerry Ritter ’56
Joanne: Jerry was a senior and captain of the Battling Bishops football team when I was a freshman at OWU. I knew who Jerry was because he had a weekly bridge game with a fellow that I was dating. Time passed, Jerry graduated, and I pursued my fine arts major. In the summer of ’58 I was traveling throughout Europe with the OWU Women’s Glee Club under the direction of Robert Bowlus. This was the summer of the Brussels World’s Fair, and the Glee Club was singing in the American Pavilion on July 4.
Meanwhile, Jerry had been drafted into the Army and was serving in the Counter Intelligence Corps, later the C.I.A., in Frankfurt, Germany. While reading The Stars and Stripes, he noticed that the Glee Club would be singing at the World’s Fair and he managed leave to travel to see us. We literally walked into one another on the plaza at the World’s Fair and have been connected for 57 years and counting.
The Ritters have three children and live in Bellefontaine, where Jerry worked at Doral Packaging for more than three decades.
Judith Davis Tippett ’60 and Mike Tippett ’59
Mike: It was late fall in 1956, my sophomore year. I was working on the current play as head of the prop crew. It was the first night of rehearsals for Bell, Book and Candle, directed by professor Don Eyssen. I had gathered my new crew members in a circle in the back area of the quonset hut on Euclid Avenue. To get to know the crew, I asked, “Are any of you taking Theater Appreciation?” (I had to know because I had to give them a grade at the end of the play’s run). A small, dark-haired freshman girl piped up: “Why do you think we’re on this crew?” That was the beginning of what has become a 60-year partnership. Not long after this first encounter, I was walking her back to Stuy each night. We were pinned on the playground of Boardman School one evening the following April.
Mike and Judith were married in August 1959. Their daughters Meg ’83, Kathy ’85, and Brooke ’88 all attended OWU, as did Mike’s father, W.B. Tippett ’35.
Diane “Dutch” Mulvihill Millard ’59 and Bob Millard ’60
Diane: We met on a blind date arranged by good friends during the winter of 1956. Diane was a freshman and Bob was a prospective student who decided to enter OWU that fall. Next came the pinning (Bob a Fiji and Diane a Theta), engagement, and marriage on June 4, 1960, the day before Bob’s OWU graduation. What started as young love has endured for over 60 years, all due to lessons learned at OWU: Firm Foundations Fuel Faithful Friendships!
Carol Glomset Bard ’64 and Dave Bard ’63
Athens, West Virginia
Dave: In August of 1960, Dave and Carol met in astronomy class. Carol was a freshman, Dave a sophomore. It was a dark, starry night for the introduction to telescope viewing at the observatory on campus. As the professor was trying to keep the attention of the class on viewing techniques, Dave was paying attention to the girl on his right. This girl wasn’t responding to his jokes, but he did hear laughter on this left. As the class ended and the lights came up, Dave turned to his left and saw Carol. He decided, “That’s not bad.” Carol accepted his invitation for a cup of coffee. Pinning, engagement, and marriage ended the year.
It wasn’t until several years later that Dave was told that Carol wasn’t laughing at his jokes but at the funny sound of his heavy New England accent to her Midwestern ears. Dave and Carol have been married for 56 years.
Phyllis Dunn Yuen ’68 and Jonathan Kum-Leh Yuen ’66
Katonah, New York
Phyllis: The first time I saw my husband he was squatting on top of a table at the front of the auditorium, Beatles haircut flopping in sync as he bounced up and down. I was at an International Student Association (ISA) meeting with my Nigerian friend Folu. Kum-Leh was the strangest, funniest guy I had ever seen.
The second time I saw my husband I was walking behind him on the sidewalk leading to Stuy. He had his arm at the waist of a girlfriend, while he looked up at her. “Look at that,” I said to my friend. “She’s taller than he is!” (Yes, we actually worried about such things in the ‘60s.)
The third time was a charm — we actually met. It was an ISA bike ride. On the way back to OWU, a group of us sang Peter, Paul, and Mary songs. Kum-Leh got a leg cramp and had to slow down, so I stayed back with him. By the time we reached Delaware, it was pouring rain, and we were belting out Blowin’ in the Wind. As we passed the TKE house, an old family friend evidently saw us. My parents heard all about my new friend long before I said anything.
He planned to go home to Singapore and marry a Chinese girl. I planned to find a proper American. But he was very interesting, and we had so much fun. Besides, my girlfriends adored him.
Some 50 years later, he’s still interesting, and we still have fun. Somehow my few extra inches of height never seemed to matter.
What is Pinning?
Until the 1970s, pinning was a pre-engagement ritual in which a man gave his intended his fraternity pin. This was typically followed by a serenade outside the woman’s residence by men from one or two fraternities.
Nancy Seiwert Williams ’72 and Tom Williams ’72
Tom: She wore long, straight blond hair, an intricately embroidered vest, and I remember her blue jeans were spotless and pressed! Soon thereafter, I hosted a campus visit from my sister, Susan. On an evening walking tour, I saw the very same, now slightly more familiar, face through a window in what was at that time the sculpture annex. I actually told my sister: “I think I am going to marry that girl.”
I accidentally saw her again driving down Sandusky Street in a magnificent blue MGB-GT, and she pulled into a parking space inches from where I was walking. I just about had a coronary thinking I’d have to say something to her. Thankfully, she leapt out of the car and walked the opposite way to class, so I wrote down her license plate and student parking permit numbers and went promptly to the campus police seeking her identity. It must have been quite the scene as I actually told the female officer in charge that I had just seen this girl and I had to know who she was.
All I remember was the ladies in the office were squealing and I was quickly given her name and her room number in Austin Hall. That was enough to locate her roommate, whom I did know. I was able to get some facts and discovered she was going out with another guy. With this reality, my life was over. I was crushed. There was nothing more to live for.
Anyway, soon after the Christmas break as I was walking from class in Gray Chapel toward the MUB, there she was again walking toward me, I think in the same pressed jeans as the first sighting but shrouded in a long red winter coat. Somehow, I mustered the courage to introduce myself. It was one of the more gut-wrenching moments in my life. Within about two minutes I asked her out to a concert featuring Gentilly & Dunbar, a folk group from NYC and, for reasons still unknown, she accepted.
I would or could be arrested for stalking in today’s world! Nancy still laughs that the ladies were so compliant and came to my rescue so quickly.
The Williamses have three children including a daughter, Carrie Williams Schlegel ’05, who also met her husband at OWU (her story is below).
Sandi Aker Drake ’75 and Tim Drake ’74
Sandi: My husband Tim and I met at OWU, though we were from towns right next to each other in the Cleveland area — Bay Village and Rocky River.
We met at the campus radio station, WSLN. He was a DJ, and I showed up to do a Tuesday night news broadcast as part of my journalism major. He remembered that I had said I’d be back on Friday to do the 5:30 p.m. news. When I came back on Friday, he asked me out for a date that night.
The Drakes’ daughter, Alison Drake Burciaga ’03, also went to OWU, as did Tim’s parents, M. Richard ’43 and Nina Drake Drake ’43, where they sat next to each other, alphabetically, in a psychology class.
Amy Anderson McClure ’72 and Rusty McClure ’72
Rusty: I sat at the “late table” — the table set aside for Delt athletes who, because they were coming in from team practices, could not get to dinner on time — exhausted, my legs aching, wanting only to eat, get to the library, finish up two chemistry lab write-ups I had due the next day, and be done for the night. But our house manager had just announced that all Delt pledges were to stay and host the class of incoming pledges from the Theta sorority. Attendance, he declared, was not optional.
“Anyone absent this evening will be found and brought back to the house to clean the kitchen,” he said, smiling. “And remember... we know where each of you live.”
So, I had no choice. I finished dinner, and stayed at the table, a sullen, reluctant participant in the evening’s festivities. I vaguely remember the Theta girls arriving, Motown playing on the jukebox, the dining room becoming a dance floor...
“Hey Rusty.” I looked up to see three of my buddies staring at me. “Come over here and dance with this nice girl.” Not a chance, I thought — and almost said no. But then, across the room, my “not-me” look found the eyes of a statuesque brunette beauty, Amy Anderson.
Two weeks later, we went on our first date, and two months later became a couple. Five years later we were married. In a lifetime of fortunate occurrences, that shared gaze remains the most fortunate of all.
Amy and Rusty have been married 43 years. Rusty recently funded a renovation of the Delt house that included the renovation of the dining room floor and installation of a mosaic heart (right) marking the very spot where they met. Amy is the Rodefer Professor of Education at OWU.
Karen Steuver Schwaid ’76 and Steve Schwaid ’76
Karen: I met Steve in September 1972 at freshman orientation. He was standing in front of Smith Hall holding a volleyball, asking everyone who passed by if they wanted to play. I was not very athletic and scurried on with a mumbled, “No thanks.”
After this encounter, Steve found my picture in the “Look Book.” For the next few months, whenever he ran into me on campus, he always asked if I wanted to play volleyball. My friends kept asking, “Who is that?”
Finally, in January, he got up the nerve to actually ask me for a date by leaving me a note at my dorm, Austin Hall. Unfortunately, I was in Washington, D.C., at the time with a group of OWU students protesting Nixon’s second inauguration. By the time I returned, several notes had accumulated in my message box, even though my roommate had told him I was out of town. (Steve always leaned toward overkill.)
A week or so later, we finally went on our first date. We went to see the movie Slaughterhouse Five at the Bijou. We dated throughout the rest of our college years and were married on June 19, 1977, a year after graduation. This year we celebrated our 40th anniversary.
We have had a wonderful life, complete with two sons. But we have yet to play a single game of volleyball.
Kelli McNairy Winston ’93 and Thomas Winston ’92
Kelli: Twenty-eight years ago, in August of 1989, during a freshman orientation in the Stuyvesant Cave (now the Willa B. Player Black Resource Center), we each met the person who would become a best friend, a spouse, and a parent of our two children.
It was during this freshman orientation that we shared with one another our love of baseball and unwavering support of our home teams - the Chicago Cubs for Thomas and St. Louis Cardinals for me. Our conversation quickly turned into a friendly Cubs vs. Cardinals rivalry, which immediately held an attraction between us and connects us still today.
In the days following orientation, Thomas came to my dorm room in Welch Hall (dressed in a suit following his fraternity’s business meeting) to separate the bunk bed in her room. No easy feat, but nevertheless successful in accomplishing his task, Thomas had made an impression on me and decided to ask me out on a date.
On Sept. 18, 1989 we had our first date at the Little Brown Jug and spent what seemed like hours learning about each other’s families, interests, and dreams for the future. We began dating shortly after we met, and, looking back on our time at OWU, fondly remember meeting each other for lunch in the MUB Pub, walking to the Strand to catch a midweek movie, and taking late-night strolls to UDF for ice cream sundaes. Ohio Wesleyan will always hold a special place in our hearts because it is where our love story began.
The Winstons were married on July 28, 1996, and have two children, Thomas, Jr. and Maya.
Carrie Williams Schlegel ’05 and John Schlegel ’05
Chevy Chase, Maryland
Carrie: John and I met during the fall of our freshman year at Ohio Wesleyan. We quickly became friends but nothing more than that; I was still attached to my high school boyfriend and he to his high school girlfriend. As the year went on, so did life… we were both student athletes with busy schedules. Practices, games, study sessions, nights out, wins, losses, college life ensued.
Fast forward to the beginning of our sophomore year. I had arrived early for soccer preseason and I was desperate for “Schlegel,” (as I still called him at the time), to get to school. Our friend status was still intact, but I think we both knew that it was about to be more that that. We “coincidentally” crossed paths that first night he arrived on campus, and a few short weeks later we were spending almost every minute together outside of class and practice. The same holds true to this day except class and practice has morphed into work and kids. I wouldn’t change a second of it!
John: My first day back on campus my sophomore year, I headed over to a party at the SAE house. I recall seeing Carrie for the first time that year, and much to my delight she came and sat in my lap and was as eager as I to catch up on the summer, and it felt as though we had already been dating for months! I hoped then (and felt) that our friendship was soon to become much more. Soon after that night we began dating, and as they say, the rest is history! We were lucky enough to have found each other early on in our time at OWU, and we were able to create and enjoy so many fond memories, which is why OWU will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Carrie and John were married May 22, 2010. John is in Commercial Real Estate with Transwestern and Carrie is starting teaching preschool in the fall.
Kelli Lester Rudegeair ’08 and Dustin Rudegeair ’08
New Albany, Ohio
Dustin: Kelli and I met as freshmen early on. She played volleyball and basketball and I played basketball, so we met simply through our teams socializing with one another.
We were pretty good friends for two years before we began dating in the late fall of our junior year. We were engaged shortly after graduating in 2008 and married on June 26, 2010.
We have a daughter, Reese, who will turn 2 in November, who is a huge OWU volleyball and basketball fan.
Kelli is a first-grade teacher in Whitehall, and Dustin was, until recently, director of facilities and summer camps at OWU. He is now assistant athletic director at Capital University in Bexley.
Taurey Overturf ’12 and Kyle Lemke ’12
Taurey: We met at the Zook Nook one morning my freshman year when I left the dorm super early. I was sitting by myself and wanted some company. Lucky for me, two guys walked in. One was Kyle and the other was his friend Raphi Fratkin. I was just like, “Hey, would you sit with me?” I think they took pity on me. Kyle remembers seeing how eager I was and that I had my sketchbook with me, which made him smile. We hung out a couple times but lost touch. Then the summer after our junior year, I was elected treasurer of the senior class and Kyle won class president. He texted me “congrats,” and we started talking over the summer. It was like two years had not gone by, we immediately picked back up again and started dating in December of 2011.
Fast forward to 2017. Taurey skipped her graduation from Case Western, where she completed her master’s in arts education, so they could return to OWU for Reunion Weekend in May. Taurey did not know that Kyle had secretly visited her parents to ask permission to marry her.
We got to campus super late Friday night and Kyle insisted on going to the bathroom in Ham-Wil on the way to the bar, which I thought was super weird. Then walking up the stairs, he led me to the Zook Nook. But the door was locked! Then he gets down on one knee near the Coke machine and he asked me and I was shocked like, “What?!” Of course I said yes! After calling our families we immediately headed down to the Backstretch to celebrate.
Taurey is looking for a position teaching art at the high school or college level and, after earning his MBA from Franklin University, Kyle is working at Jarrett Logistics in Orville. They’re planning a summer wedding in 2018.
Whitney Weadock ’16 and Shane Gorbett ’15
Shane: I met Whitney on the first day of classes in 2012, her freshman year and my sophomore year, in Welch basement playing a group party game called Mafia. The next day we also ran into each other at a CRU Bible study. From that moment on our friendship continued to grow and then blossomed into a lasting relationship. Our first date involved a movie at The Strand and participating in the “Stuy’ing Up All Night” party to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated Stuyvesant Hall.
Shane works at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and Whitney is an elementary teacher. They were married June 24 in Gray Chapel.