Meet the Alumni Couple Who Got Engaged in Warren Towers—More Than 12 Years Later

Photo: Two people, a white woman with blonde long hair and a white man with a blonde beard, celebrate as they just got engaged in the common room they met in.

The happy couple: Kelsey Wilkins (Sargent’16) and Gus Thorkildsen (ENG’15). Photo courtesy of ResLife


Meet the Alumni Couple Who Got Engaged in Warren Towers—More Than 12 Years Later

Gus Thorkildsen popped the question in the 12C common room, where he and Kelsey Wilkins first met

February 12, 2024
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There are certain locations on this Earth that are more romantic than others: Paris, for example, or just about anyplace in Italy. Here in Boston, we have spots like Fan Pier, the North End, and Beacon Hill.

But Warren Towers? Uhhh…

Okay, hear us out. Or rather, hear Gus Thorkildsen (ENG’15) out: the 12C common room in Warren Towers is where he met his girlfriend, Kelsey Wilkens (Sargent’16), in 2011. In January, the common room was the spot where he popped the question to Wilkens. She said yes.

“It felt like a circle of love thing to go back where we first met each other,” says Thorkildsen, who worked with Residence Life to coordinate the proposal. Plus, he says, “I thought it was kind of a funny idea.” (Fun fact: this is not the first proposal to take place in Warren, according to ResLife.)

So how’d he pull it off?

Thorkildsen and Wilkens live in Albany, N.Y., but visit Boston regularly to see her sister Chloe (SPH’25), who’s working on her master’s in epidemiology at the School of Public Health. While on a Boston visit, Thorkildsen suggested they visit Warren for nostalgia’s sake, saying he had contacted ResLife ahead of time to okay a tour. Once they got up to 12C, an engineering floor—Wilkens started as an engineering major, but switched to nutritional science, graduating a year later than Thorkildsen—the couple took their time looking around before making their way to the common room. (Students were still away for intersession).

That’s when Thorkildsen proposed, with a wedding ring that belonged to Wilkens’ mom.

Photo: A group of people congratulate their friend on their engagement. They are wearing light coats and standing on BU's campus sidewalk.
Thorkildsen had family and friends hidden outside to greet the couple as they left Warren Towers. Photo courtesy of ResLife

Wilkens wasn’t exactly surprised by the turn of events—“Gus isn’t super good at keeping secrets,” she says, laughing—but she was thrilled nonetheless. “I loved it,” she says. “It was such a nice moment, going back to where it all began. Having all those memories come back was really cute and special.”

As the newly engaged couple were leaving Warren, their family and friends popped out from where they’d been hiding to greet them and shower them with congratulations.

“That was a shock. I didn’t see that coming at all,” Wilkens says.

So what does a love story that started in Warren Towers look like?

Wilkens had a crush on Thorkildsen from the start. (“I guess it’s just ongoing,” she says.) The two lived across from each other on the floor and spent a lot of time together their freshman year. “That time was just all about him for me,” Wilkens says. Thorkildsen liked her, too: “I always thought Kelsey was really cool and attractive,” he says. Despite their mutual attraction, however, nothing ever panned out.

Photo: Four people pose for a photo as the man, on the furthest right, just proposed to his girlfriend, middle right, in the common room they met in.
Thorkildsen and Wilkens in Warren Towers with Wilkens’ sisters, Chloe Wilkens (SPH’25) (far left) and Mandy Wilkens (center left). Photo courtesy of ResLife

In fact, they wouldn’t get together until after college, when Wilkens was living in her home state of Minnesota. Thorkildsen, who was living in Albany, was going to be in town for a family wedding, and messaged Wilkens. That’s when things started to rekindle, they say. After a fun weekend of boating, getting drinks, and having dinner with his family, Thorkildsen, an associate manager with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, invited her to New York for his company’s holiday party. She accepted. He then returned to visit her in Minnesota, and Wilkens, a nutritionist, started looking for jobs in Albany.

They got serious as soon as she moved East. “We were seeing each other almost every day,” says Wilkens, now a public health nutritionist with the state of New York.

That was 2018. Six years later, their love story—or the “latest and greatest of Kelsey and Gus,” as Thorkildsen puts it—includes a house they bought together and an ongoing hunt for a dog to join them on their adventures. And, of course, a wedding to plan.

Does that mean we should expect to see a reception in the GSU Ballroom?

Wilkens laughs: “Probably not.”

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Meet the Alumni Couple Who Got Engaged in Warren Towers—More Than 12 Years Later

  • Alene Bouranova

    Writer/Editor Twitter Profile

    Photo of Allie Bouranova, a light skinned woman with blonde and brown curly hair. She smiles and wears glasses and a dark blue blazer with a light square pattern on it.

    Alene Bouranova is a Pacific Northwest native and a BU alum (COM’16). After earning a BS in journalism, she spent four years at Boston magazine writing, copyediting, and managing production for all publications. These days, she covers campus happenings, current events, and more for BU Today. Fun fact: she’s still using her Terrier card from 2013. When she’s not writing about campus, she’s trying to lose her Terrier card so BU will give her a new one. She lives in Cambridge with her plants. Profile

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There is 1 comment on Meet the Alumni Couple Who Got Engaged in Warren Towers—More Than 12 Years Later

  1. I dated my now husband long-distance while I attended BU. We are celebrating our 25th anniversary next month. Love this story. Well done, Alene. Congrats to the couple!

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