Many GOLD alumni can probably recall Dean Nolan professing to them during their first freshman orientation meeting or even before that weekend during an on-campus tour that an abnormally high number of young Ursinus alumni marry or date each other. What’s in the water at Ursinus that makes couples so likely to get together? Did the LOVE statue, not-so-obscurely placed behind Wismer, host your first kiss? Were you two stuck in the same chemistry class that you both needed to fulfill the core science requirement? Did your now-girlfriend force herself next to you in the GOLD Alcove in Upper Wismer to hide from the professor whose class she chose to skip just an hour before? While common consensus from alumni points towards sharing extracurriculars, classes or mutual friends on a very small campus being primary contributing factors, I interviewed couples, both married and dating, for some personal input to see what makes love at Ursinus so special.
Steve and Rachel Malagari (nee Nagourney) ’06, became Bio 101 lab partners after finding each other in Gen Chem I on the first morning of classes freshman years and they rapidly went from being friends to being boyfriend and girlfriend. In the 15 years that they have been together they have been present for many of their classmates’ weddings.
“We have had several friends, also Ursinus couples, get married in Bomberger – getting to see our friends get married in the place where they met and fell in love was pretty special,” said Rachel. The two have been happily married for six years and cherish the love they found in each other since the beginning of their Ursinus days.
Many current GOLD couples have gotten married or engaged in recent years, and many other alumni have had the privilege to participate in their special days. Over the past holiday season alone, at least 15 Ursinus couples in my field of reference have gotten engaged, and within the past year, at least five couples I know have been married. That’s a lot of weddings!
Many Ursinus GOLD couples remain happily dating, however. Safiena Amzad ’16 and Giovanni Waters ’14, for example, have been going strong for four years in a semi-long-distance relationship. Both credit the foundation they built while on campus as one of the primary reasons for their success, as well as patience and adaptability. While on campus together for two short years, both Gio and Safiena were extremely busy between Gio’s football and Phonathon schedules, Safiena’s time as an RA and student assistant in Corson, and mutually massive amounts of school work, but both made sure they made “Gio-Fiena” time. Now, the two see each other as much as possible around work schedules, primarily on weekends.
On the other hand, some Ursinus couples like Katie Faust and Alex Lowe, both class of 2016, have taken the initiative to move in together. Katie and Alex moved to Ashville, N.C. together within months of graduating from Ursinus for Katie’s new job, something that they would have never been able to do had they not learned how to face and embrace the challenges that came with varied schedules, living apart, etc. Both highly involved on campus, especially as RAs, the two had radically different schedules between tending to their residents, managing their shifts, job searching, student teaching and studying abroad within the two years on campus that they were together. Now at the tail-end of year three, both Katie and Alex have gone through a lot in the past year to make ends meet, but they still reminisce on the simply beautiful times they had together on campus frequently and still love each other dearly.
It’s no mistake that many Ursinus couples succeed the way they do. The GOLD couples I spoke to alluded to the comfortably close-knit atmosphere of the campus, the foundational lessons learned through constantly being within arm’s reach of their significant other and the support of fellow alumni that contributed to their lasting success. Many other Ursinus GOLD couples have gotten together after college through an alumni event or gathering of mutual friends or still have one half currently enrolled as a student, having acknowledged that without being at Ursinus at one point in time, they would not have been together. So while there seems to be nothing in the water, it’s accurate to say that Ursinus GOLD couples have been bitten by the same love bug (or should I say bear?).
- Emily Cooper