Whether it was in class or at a dance, during a football game or in the bookstore, love blossomed in every corner of Dickinson’s campus. More than 1,400 Dickinson couples met, courted, fell in love and are spending their lives together, and it all started inside these limestone walls. Here are 10 tales of true devotion written and submitted by these college sweethearts.
September 1952, perhaps three days into my freshman year, in Dr. Iorio’s English class—“and my heart stood still”—I was smitten by the gorgeous, incredibly preppy, crew-cut blond. I told my roommate, Nancy, that I had just seen the man I was going to marry. She thought I was crazy, and I don’t think he even noticed me. However, a few days later I made up a story that gave me a reason to talk to him. I was definitely the aggressor! He seemed only mildly interested in our conversation, and so my hope was waning. I wasn’t even sure of his name!
Several days later someone called to ask me out for that Friday evening, but the name didn’t sound familiar at first. Then it dawned on me: It was him!
We were pinned and then engaged freshman year, but we broke up sophomore year. He left for the Korean War, and I took off for my junior year in France. Though we had not been in contact for more than a year, he called on the day of my return from Europe. The next day we were re-engaged and were married before graduation.
We were meant to be together—Thad Hoppe and Carolyn Menin. Two wonderful children, pets galore, travel far and wide, some rough spots and then suddenly, it was over. Thad died shortly before our 38th anniversary. It was a great love affair that started in Denny Hall and has left me now with so many cherished memories.
—Carolyn Menin Hoppe ’56 and
Thad Hoppe ’56 (deceased)
Edna and I met on a blind date in October 1948 arranged by my “big brother” when I was a pledge at Phi Kappa Psi. It was a ranch dance theme, and I made the mistake of stopping in at the fraternity house before I went to Old East to pick her up. A brother sent me on a journey through the restaurants in Carlisle to find a chef’s hat. I found one at the Jimmy Wilson but was an hour late arriving at East. Not an auspicious start. In conversation at the dance, we discovered that we had both grown up in the Methodist Church and its youth programs and had a lot in common. Edna was planning to be a missionary, and I was planning to enter the ministry. From then on it was dances and dating and falling in love and spending time together every day.
On May 18, 1949, we were secretly married in a Methodist church in Maryland. We could not afford to live together, so we went to our homes for the summer to work and then, in the fall, Edna lived in Old East, and I lived in Conway Hall. On Edna’s graduation day in 1950, we put on our wedding rings. We spent the summer working on the Jersey Shore and then returned to a small apartment in Carlisle for the next two years, until I graduated in 1952. In 1951 our first child, David Jr., was born and sported a “Dickinson 19??” T-shirt.
I went on to Temple University School of Theology in Philadelphia and served a student church in Morton, Pa. During that time, daughters Doris and Denise were born. After graduating with a master’s of sacred theology in 1956, we came to New England and served churches in Uncasville and then East Hartford, Conn. Here another son, Don, and a daughter, Dawn, were born. Edna went to Central Connecticut State University to earn a master’s in education.
We moved to Rhode Island to serve a church consisting of three merged parishes and to oversee the construction of a new church in Lincoln, R.I. Edna began teaching while we were there and taught for 23 years in elementary school. We moved to a historic church in Newport, R.I. Edna retired in 1990, and I retired in 1992 (after 39 years as a pastor) because of serious heart problems. Our children are all married, and we have six grandchildren. We have enjoyed travel when in good health and have been going to a summer home on a lake in Maine for 45 years. We now live in the winter in a United Methodist retirement community in East Providence, R.I. On May 18, we celebrated our 58th anniversary. The picture shows us in 2006 in front of the new addition to the little church we attend in the summer in Vienna, Maine.
—Edna Ferguson Ripley ’50 and
David Ripley ’52
Bill Houpt and Ann Lemkau met at Dickinson in the fall of 1955 in French class. He was a junior and a BMOC—director of the Glee Club, Kappa Sig president, accompanist for the college choir—and she was a lowly freshman. They began dating in the second semester—she finagled a page-turning assignment so she could be close to him in the choir—and the rest is history. They were pinned in February 1957 and married a week after Ann graduated in 1959.
Bill began working for Western Electric after graduation and was with “Ma Bell” in many capacities until he retired in 1991. His second career in music began then and continues today. Teaching piano lessons, directing musicals, accompanying soloists, substituting as an organist and choir director, shepherding his Larks (a junior league singing group) as they entertain in nursing homes and teaching hard-of-hearing kids to sing are among his many activities.
Ann spent the early married years raising their three girls (the eldest is Ginger Houpt Hildebrand ’83) and doing volunteer work. She earned a master’s degree in counseling and worked for 24 years as a community-college counselor. In 1998 she retired, resumed her volunteer work and is on the board of Homefirst, an organization providing shelter and transitional housing for homeless families, and on a child placement review board making recommendations to the courts concerning children in out-of-home placements.
Dickinson has always been a part of their lives. Both have served on the Alumni Council and were active in the alumni club when it was flourishing in their area. Ann served on the board of trustees from 1990 to 2002. They have both been on reunion committees. Bill’s 50th was in June.
Bill and Ann love to travel and have been all over the world, but each journey leads to more unexplored (for them) places. Bill has scrapbooks and a wall of pictures, which he is proud to share.
The Houpts have lived in Summit, N.J., since 1961 and were presented the Keeper of the Dream Award at the Martin Luther King Day of Service on Jan. 15.
Who would have thought that those walks through Carlisle, kicking leaves or shuffling through snow and sharing dreams all those many years ago, would have led to a lifetime of love, fulfillment of many of those dreams and a continuation of the attachment to the place where it all began?
—Bill Houpt ’57 and
Ann Lemkau Houpt ’59
This romance started in the Kline Life Center—actually, in the pool during daily swim team practices. Nancy, a sophomore, was an accomplished swimmer assigned to work out in the fast lane—lane three. Karl, a freshman, was a little slower (OK, maybe a lot slower). He was assigned to the infamous lane one, where Coach McEvoy kept a close eye on the typically less serious swimmers, occasionally spraying them with cold water for motivation. It seemed at that time too much of a distance for romance to blossom. How could a person from lane one date someone from lane three? Unthinkable.
However, fate has a way of overcoming obstacles like the gap between lane one and three (we called it “lane two”). At an away Franklin & Marshall meet, Nancy and Karl ended up beside each other on the bleachers cheering for fellow swimmers and getting to know one another. Amidst the smell of chlorine, the humidity of the natatorium and the sound of the starter’s pistol, the first inklings of romance developed.
After the meet, the two began to hang out, meeting at the Sn’ar for snacks or the HUB for dinner, but the romance did not progress until one night at a quad party. In between laughs, jokes and flirting, their eyes met, and they briefly kissed. Following was a Dickinson romance of Kappa Kappa Gamma formals, the Phi Psi beach party and picnics in Thornwald Park culminating with Karl presenting a Phi Psi pin to his bride-to-be at a toga party amid the cheers of everyone.
After college they got married and invited many Dickinson swimmers to the wedding, including Coach Joe McEvoy, who helped bring them together. Today the couple lives in Danville, Pa., with two wonderful boys—neither of whom swim.
—Karl Kapp ’89 and Nancy Jaeger Kapp ’88
On Oct. 14, 1989, at the Homecoming football game our sophomore year, James and I had signed up for the same time slot to staff a fund-raising booth selling pizza for the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society. Although we both lived in Morgan freshman year, worked in the dining hall and sang in the college choir, we had never met. We hit it off and spent the whole time goofing around as if we’d known each other for years. This was unlike me, and it made an impression on both of us. From that day, we started going to our shared classes and activities together, and by finals I was studying in his Malcolm dorm room. We departed campus for winter break as a couple and have been inseparable ever since. We married three weeks after our 1992 graduation and moved to Virginia, where James went to graduate school and I went to work. In 2001, Ph.D. in hand, James took a teaching job at Middlebury College in Vermont, where we now live with our son Jae, 2, and the dog and two cats that we collected while in Virginia.
—Elizabeth Beaver Davis ’92 and
James C. Davis ’92
My wife, Rebecca Darter Marquis ’95, and I met during the fall of my senior year at Dickinson and got off to an inauspicious beginning. Turns out that she initially met me at Activities Night (I was manning the Cultural Affairs Committee table), and I invited her to a party we were having in the suites the following weekend. During the party, she got the (I hope, mistaken) impression that I was a big jerk. Fortunately, about two weeks later I participated in a Native American sweat-lodge ceremony as part of a class on Native American religions.
The morning after the sweat, I woke up and crawled out of my tent and came face to face with a fawn. That was pretty cool, but not that surprising, as I was camping in the middle of a forest. What was surprising was that this little deer approached me and let me pet its head. I was so blown away by the encounter that, upon returning to campus, I immediately wrote an apparently moving article for The Dickinsonian about the experience and how it had changed my outlook on life, which Rebecca happened to read (without looking at the byline). After she finished the article, she decided she had to meet the person who wrote it, then realized (to her amazement) that she already had. So she sat on the porch of Montgomery (then the Spanish house) and waited for me to walk by. The rest is, as they say, history.
—Justin Marquis ’93 and
Rebecca Darter Marquis ’95
I arrived on campus with the football team two weeks ahead of the rest of my freshman class. Lonesome and homesick, I met Laura, who was working as a cashier at the bookstore. She told me that she lived in town and also was joining the freshman class. She also said that she was disappointed, because she was supposed to be in Hawaii joining her father on a business trip, but the trip fell through, and she was working instead. I walked out of the bookstore that day knowing that I had just met someone special. During freshman orientation, we ran into each other at a party in the quads and strolled through the campus getting acquainted. As the days passed, we spent more time together, and the moment she did my laundry, she stole my heart. Three years after graduation, we were back on campus, this time getting married at Allison United Methodist Church. Fifteen years have passed since the day we met. Our dorm room has become a house in the Lehigh Valley, and a night partying includes watching G-rated movies with our two boys, Evan, 4, and Niko, 2. Looking back, it may have been fate that she was in Carlisle as opposed to Hawaii when I arrived on campus. In any case, I owe my “happily ever after” to a T-shirt purchase.
—Spyro Karetsos ’96 and
Laura Otten Karetsos ’96
Bid Night, September 1995, love must have been in the air. Or was it the Ping-Pong balls soaring across the table at the Delta Sig house? Either way, somehow that fateful night, Ben and I managed to overlook the drunken stupor of the party-goer who yanked us together and yelled, “You two should meet!” In a classic tale of romance, Ben walked me home that night, and we’ve been together ever since.
In our 12 years of partnership, we feel like we’ve seen everything—the lows transcended by the highs of life have given us great perspective as we’ve grown together. We’ve traveled to faraway places like Australia, Korea and Aruba but make our home in Silver Spring, Md., near family and friends (most of whom are from Dickinson!). We’ve dealt with chronic illness, military separation and juggling multiple jobs. We’ve repainted the inside of an entire home in less than 10 days—and we still moved in together. The greatest part of our union has been the birth of our daughter, Abigail, 4. She reminds us daily that the greatest gifts in life are big hugs, sloppy kisses and belly laughs.
It’s hard to believe that our Dickinson years are so far behind us. “More than a third of our life has gone by,” Ben said the other day. Those short four years taught us some of life’s biggest lessons and helped shape us to be the people we are. Not a day goes by that something doesn’t trigger a Dickinson memory, and what a gift it is to have my husband be able to say, “I remember that!”
—Megan Garrett Wilson ’97 and
Benjamin Wilson ’96
When I think back I can see her in my mind’s eye approaching the library circulation desk as I talked with our mutual friend. She was charming and funny, and I was pleased to meet someone like her. As she walked away, I realized that she was also tall and blonde and beautiful. I felt fortunate that someone like her would bother talking to a football player from New Jersey who was very rough around the edges.
But somehow, we found ourselves spending more and more time together, as we soon discovered that we had a few other mutual friends. Then, on Good Friday in 1997, during a Dickinson Christian Fellowship meeting in the Weiss Center, we suddenly found ourselves with something in common that brought us closer than any mutual friend could—a common faith.
The weeks that followed found me falling in love with Laura, and late one night in Althouse, I worked up the nerve to tell her how I felt. What I thought at the time was a one-in-a-million shot ended up being the winning lottery ticket, as she realized that she loved me, too. We have been together ever since.
As our time on campus waned, Laura and I experienced many of the ups and downs of college life together. I supported her through oral exams, and she attended just about all of my football games. We struggled through grad-school applications and job searches and felt the thrill of graduation together. We took our first steps into the real world by taking our final steps within the limestone walls together, and I think for that reason, Dickinson College will always be tightly intertwined with our relationship.
—Philip Joyce ’98 and
Laura Davison Joyce ’97
Shawn and I both lived in Davidson our freshman year when it was still a small dorm. We became close friends the first week of school and started dating officially midway through our sophomore year. We were both psychology majors. We have stayed together through summers when Shawn was away at camp for ROTC, studying in Washington, D.C., and Spain, senior theses, graduate school, first jobs and apartments and deployments to Iraq and Germany. We were married July 15 at Kent Island, Md., and live in Germany, where Shawn is stationed with the Army. We loved our time at Dickinson and were excited for a chance to get our Dickinson friends together again.
—Lisa Trader ’04 and Shawn Giacobbe ’04
THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF THE ROMANCE FEATURE THAT APPEARED ON PAGES 33-37 OF THE PRINT EDITION.
Catherine Friend and I met Sept. 2, 1974, in the middle of Route 11 [High Street] crossing between the Spahr Library and Morgan Hall. We got stuck there and started talking about this and that and have been together ever since. We’re still speaking. Our 29th anniversary will be July 1, but Sept. 2 will always be “The Day.”
—Richard White ’75 and Catherine Friend White ’78
Freshman year, I lived on Adams 2nd East. Dan Mistichelli lived on 2nd West. I first saw him when he and a friend burst into my room, looked around, and said, “No sign of intelligent life here, captain!” In spite of that, we started dating in April (during Springfest—that year the theme was Incognito in Carlisle). We became engaged a year later and married a month after graduation in June 1980. We’ve had our ups and downs but have a nice old house (the money pit), challenging jobs that we love, good friends and neighbors and two daughters. Danielle, 22, is a nationally registered paramedic who just purchased a house, and Cara, 18, is a volunteer firefighter. I guess we did something right! Now, after more than 26 years of marriage, we look forward to the years ahead. However, the jury is still out on that “no sign of intelligent life” thing.
—Barbara Grewe Mistichelli ’80 and Daniel Mistichelli ’80
John and I both lived in Morgan Pit our sophomore year. We first met when I wandered down the hall looking for a hammer to hang a picture. We started out as good friends and started dating the following spring. We survived a very long-distance relationship our junior year while I spent the year at the University of East Anglia in England and he remained at Dickinson. Senior year—together again—was great. After college, we survived three more years apart when John went to graduate school at Rutgers in New Jersey and I headed home to work in Boston. We put a lot of miles on our cars during those years. In 1991 I moved to New Jersey, and we got married in 1992. We have two beautiful daughters, Elizabeth, 11, and Emily, 7, and live in West Orange, N.J.
—Karen Gogolin De Jong ’88 and John De Jong ’88
I met my future wife, Susan Phillips Weber ’89, in September 1986. We both lived in Quad 6, which was the Whole Earth House. Susan invited me to a Kappa Kappa Gamma dance that fall and, by spring, we were dating exclusively. On rainy spring nights, we would take a bag of peanuts and sit on the steps of Bosler Hall throwing empty peanut shells into the puddles. Susan and I both sang in the choir, and we would walk together from Quad 6 over to the Weiss Center for rehearsals. Susan spent her junior year in Toulouse, France, which was just about the longest nine months of my life. We were engaged in the fall of our senior year and married Oct. 20, 1990.
After Dickinson, Susan and I moved to Baltimore. It was midway between both of our families, and we stayed there for six years. We got a golden retriever puppy and promptly named him Bosler. I worked for the Boy Scouts of America, and Susan worked for Maryland National Bank. One weekend, Susan and I decided that the Gingerbread Man was the only place that would do for dinner, so we drove two hours to Carlisle to enjoy some good food and cold Rolling Rock beer. In 1995, we moved to Maine and have lived in an old farmhouse ever since.
Susan and I now have two children (hopefully future Dickinsonians) and still have wonderful memories of our time at Dickinson. We also are frequently surprised at how small the world has gotten, despite how far we have moved. Several years ago, Susan went into a local jewelry store and ran into a woman who also graduated from Dickinson in 1989! The last time we were in Carlisle was for the retirement of Truman Bullard. We both keep in touch with friends from our college years, and I am sure we will get back down to Carlisle in years to come.
—Ed Weber ’89 and Susan Phillips Weber ’89
Nichole and I met my freshman year in the quads through a floor mate of mine whom she had met at a mixer sponsored by the Baltimore Alumni Club. We began dating in September 1992, I proposed to her on the steps of Old West in September 1994, and we were married at the same spot June 21, 1997. Her father, a Methodist minister, performed the ceremony.
Dickinson holds a special place in our hearts. We proudly display a framed picture of Old West with Nichole, our entire wedding party and myself at the foot of the steps of the beautiful building in our foyer for all of our friends to see when they visit our home just outside of Charlotte, N.C.
—Robert Finger ’95 and Nichole Zsittnik Finger ’95
My husband and I started dating the first day back from winter break our freshman year. We lived in Cooper Hall (Quad 3). We dated all the way through our years at Dickinson. On a visit to Dickinson two years after graduation, we became engaged. We have been happily married since July 2000.
—Amber Scholvin Gentile ’97 and Marc Gentile ’97
Ryan McGirr ’00 and I met in my junior year in an Anthropology of Religion class. I needed this class to complete my minor in anthropology, but I signed up late, so I needed to get notes from someone in the class. We started out as friends and realized we both lived in Adams. We began dating seriously my senior year, and then he proposed during the millennium in Oregon. We have been married now five years.
—Marcelina Sosa-McGirr ’99 and Ryan McGirr ’00
Karen Oster and Matt Weber met on move-in day in fall ’97. They lived in Wilson Hall and shared their freshman seminar with Professor Morgan. A week later they started dating—Mandy’s coffee house, the drive-in theatre, the Carlisle Theatre, bowling, California Café, Market Cross Pub, the Sn’ar, the G-man and more. After just one year together, a psychic at a Campus Activities Board event predicted that Karen would never marry Matt. After staying together for the next two and a half years, Matt proposed to Karen at the winter formal Feb. 26, 2000, in front of the entire school. With flashbulbs popping throughout The Depot like strobe lights at an ’80s dance, she said “yes” … twice (the first “yes” wasn’t into the microphone). Their future together cemented, they moved to Arlington, Va., after graduation and were married June 23, 2002, in Pennsylvania. They have since bought a house in Alexandria, Va., where they are very lucky to have good jobs and many friends and relatives around them. This June, they celebrated their five-year anniversary. Can children be far off? Only time will tell …
—Karen Oster ’01 and Matt Weber ’01