As Valentine’s Day was approaching three years ago, we at BU Today had an idea: a photo essay celebrating some of the many couples who met—and fell in love—at BU and went on to marry. They shared their stories of how and where they met, what drew them to each other, and the secrets to a good marriage. It was an instant hit: we heard from students, alums, and staff from across the globe who had met their spouse at BU and were eager to share their story. An annual tradition was born.
So for Valentine’s Day 2019, we bring you the latest addition to the series we call “Love on Comm Ave.” Some of the couples featured in our photo essay are relative newlyweds, others have been married for decades. Their stories are a celebration of love. Take a look.
Sushma Devi Agam Hallock met her husband, Kevin Hallock, crossing paths in the School of Medicine’s anatomy and neurobiology department. She was earning a master’s and he was working as a postdoc. “Kevin was running the MRI scans for our study ‘Psychophysiological Measurement of the Cognitive Effects of Levetiracetam on Attention to Novel and Target Stimuli,” Sushma says, “and I told him I was going to take night classes for chemistry.” Kevin offered to tutor her. “The poor guy didn’t know he would end up being my tutor for not only one graduate degree, but now for my second one.” Sushma is currently working on an MBA in health sector management at the Questrom School of Business. The couple, who will celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in May, attribute the success of their relationship to “communication, honesty, and trust,” as well as to their complementary personalities. “He knows who I am and allows me to be me,” Sushma says. Kevin notes that their wedding invitation, with a volcano covered by a glacier, was a perfect metaphor: “I tend to be very stoic, and she’s much more passionate.” Perhaps most important, they make each other laugh, both say. They live in Boston.
Morgan (Perry) Whitten and Ryan Whitten were both transfers to BU (she from the University of Pittsburgh and he from SUNY Oneonta), and they met during transfer student orientation in summer 2012. They found they were in several classes together and started dating at the end of September as juniors. “She had an air of intelligence about her,” Ryan recalls, “and she had her act together.” Morgan says she was attracted to Ryan’s passion for his hobbies, which include music (he’s a guitar player), videography, and photography. They were married this past October. There was “a sense that he knew what he wanted in life,” says Morgan. Ryan’s response: “It was you.” Morgan works in digital advertising, Ryan is a software engineer, and they live in Charlestown, Mass.
Scott Mays and Megan (Barron) Mays met when they were training to become resident assistants, he at Warren Towers and she in South Campus. “We locked eyes during training,” Megan says “and we each realized we’d never met. We did the ‘I’m too cool for you’ thing for a bit,” but when their mutual friend Rebecca Love (CAS’01) set them up, the two really hit it off. “We became fast friends and discovered we had a lot in common,” says Megan. “We were both very goal-oriented and shared our dreams and goals. We both wanted to see the world, too.” The two married in 2005 and have three children. Scott is an attorney and Megan is a nurse practitioner. They live in Dedham Mass.
Maddie (Kamin) Murphy met her future husband, Mike Murphy, a month into her freshman year, hanging out with friends in Rich Hall, where they both lived. Even though Maddie was dating someone else at the time, she felt an instant connection with Mike. She still remembers the date of that first meeting: October 6, 2006. “It’s a night I’ll never forget,” she says. They stayed up talking the whole night and began dating shortly thereafter. “BU gave me a million things to be thankful for, but by far the best thing that ever happened to me was meeting Mike,” she says. Maddie is “very fun and outgoing. I’m a little more reserved, so I think it was a good fit,” Mike says. “We grew up together,” Maddie adds, “and I think that helped develop a strong foundation.” The two dated long distance after graduation, when Maddie moved back home to New York City and Mike stayed in Boston. But in 2012 Maddie returned to Boston and Mike proposed on campus the following year—on a bench outside the South Campus apartment Maddie had rented one summer. They celebrated their engagement with a meal at the West dining hall, where they’d spent a lot of time as undergrads. “They have the best brunches,” Maddie says. Maddie currently works as a realtor, and Mike works in marketing. They reside in Canton, Mass., and are expecting their first child in April.
Ever Hanna and Ariana Katz met in a Feminist Theories Class taught by Kilachand Honors College director Carrie Preston, Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor and a College of Arts & Sciences professor of English and of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. (“I claim to have seen it happening before they did,” says Preston, who was part of the couple’s wedding ceremony in June 2015.) “We got to know each other in that gender studies class during our last semester, and fell in love while organizing with fellow students to establish a rape crisis center on campus,” Ariana says. “We had already crossed paths at the Center for Gender, Sexuality & Activism, where I was the codirector for two years, and knew we shared a passion for gender and sexuality advocacy. Working hard together on a shared project attracted me to Ever. Their work ethic is really attractive to me, and I liked how they bring their full self into the projects they work on.” Ever, who identifies as trans/genderqueer, says that Ariana “has the most amazing heart. When you’re with her, you feel like you’re the only person in the world. She is brilliant and fiercely kind. She is an incredible listener and a brave leader. She knows how to make space for people to feel safe and loved, and she brings that joy for life and compassion to others to everything she does.” The two live in Baltimore, where Ariana is the founding rabbi at Hinenu: The Baltimore Justice Shtiebel. Ever is an attorney and the campus policy manager at End Rape on Campus, a Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit.
Joe Austin and Samantha (Craig) Austin met as freshmen through the BU Catholic Center and dated all through their Terrier years. After graduating, they moved to Washington, D.C., but broke up a year later. Fast forward three years: both were living back in Boston and volunteering on a project for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. “We started hanging out one-on-one a lot,” Joe says. When her grandmother was hospitalized and died a few months later, Samantha says, “Joe was really there for me.” They began dating again in July 2016 during a trip to Ireland. The next March, Samantha and some friends went on a scavenger hunt around the city, ending at St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in the Back Bay. Joe was waiting there to propose. The two were married that September. “I like his sense of humor and his passion,” says Samantha. “He’s really bold in his faith.” Joe works in marketing for the Archdiocese of Boston, and Sam is the Archaeological Institute of America membership and governance manager. The two live in Newton, Mass.
Andee Wilcott and Rudy Dominguez met as members of Stage Troupe, BU’s oldest extracurricular performing arts group for non–theater majors. Their first date was on Valentine’s Day 1998. They had several friends in common, and since Andee hadn’t told any of them who she was going out with that night, they came to her place to find out who her mystery date was. When Rudy showed up, they all cheered. Rudy hadn’t made a dinner reservation, and he scrambled to prepare a special dinner at his apartment. On his front door was a sign that read “Chez Rudy’s,” and he had created a special menu. “There was one thing on the menu,” Rudy says. “He played waiter, maître d’, and date for the whole dinner,” says Andee. “He never broke character,” and she was “swept off her feet.” Andee and Rudy continued dating, got engaged 9 years and a day after that first date, and have been married 11 years. They live in Lowell, Mass., and have their own web design firm, A+R Media Studio.
Sy (Steve) Yuan Chin and Jane Soo Wong-Chin met while attending the International Church of Christ campus fellowship as undergraduates and became great friends. Sy was born and raised in Taiwan and immigrated to Brookline when he was 14. Jane was raised in nearby Jamaica Plain. They both attended BU on a full scholarship: for Jane, a Boston Scholar Scholarship, and for Sy, a BU Trustee Scholarship. “We both had a common vision to go back to Asia and impact the lives of people there instead of living the ‘material American dream’” Jane says. The couple moved to Hong Kong in 1987, where they founded the Greater China Mission Council of the Hong Kong Church of Christ. They serve as mission coordinators there, and have three grown daughters. Jane says that for her and Sy, the key to a happy marriage includes “a shared dream and passion that is greater than day-to-day issues of life; our common vision to impact people’s lives keeps us outward-focused and calls us higher to continually reflect and devote ourselves to personal growth, which in turns feeds into a healthy marriage and family life.” She also credits spending “consistent one-on-one time each week, clear boundaries and honest communication, giving each other forgiveness and more grace when we encounter friction, and lots of laughter.”
Punit Shah and Carla (Porta) Shah met when he was a senior and she a freshman, and they began dating right away. Punit was “immediately attracted to her smile and her intellect,” he says. “She exudes a sense of warmth and sincerity, and I thought she was incredibly beautiful the moment I saw her.” Carla says she “loved how confident, positive, and outgoing Punit was from the moment we met,” adding that “it helped that he was so handsome.” They credit their successful relationship to “a sense of mutual respect, humor, spontaneity, and genuine love for one another.” The active BU alums are past recipients of the School of Hospitality Administration’s Young Alumni of the Year Award. They were married in 2009 and live in Tampa, Fla., with their four-month-old son, Dev. Punit is CEO of hotel development, investment, and management firm Liberty Group and co-owner of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, and Carla is Liberty Group corporate director of revenue management.
Are you a couple who met at BU and would like to share your story in a future BU Today Valentine’s Day photo essay? Do you know of a couple you think we should profile? Email John O’Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read previous “Love on Comm Ave” pieces here.
Cydney Scott can be reached at email@example.com.