It Started at Saint Mary's

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we asked alumni who met their spouses at the College to send us their stories, and we were overwhelmed by the outpouring of love — and nostalgia.

Answered Prayers

Sam Hutkins '68

While attending the all-male Saint Mary's, I met my wife, Laura, at summer classes at Vallejo Junior College. She attended Cal Davis, and later Stanford.

On the traditional after-dinner walk to the post office for mail, I would often drop in for a short prayer from the back row of the dimly lit and empty Chapel. "Lord, I am working hard to pass this exam. I am studying, but the material does not seem to make sense or stick. I do not know what plans you have for me, but I will do my best to serve you (when I pass this exam and eventually graduate)."

Well, I did pass many of those exams and I graduated, and two years later, when we were planning our marriage, I insisted that we be married at the SMC Chapel. After so many prayers had been answered from there, I am convinced God definitely lives there. He has continued to answer our prayers and bless us. We are as madly in love as we were during my years at Saint Mary's, and our names are on the Chapel's plaque of alumni who were married on campus. Just like after exams, I say, "Thank you, Lord."

Heavenly Spuds

Steve Gizzi '79 & Judy Gizzi EE '92

We met over the mashed potatoes!

I was standing in the SAGA line and she was on the other side dishing up mashed potatoes. She was blonde and most attractive. It was a month before graduation and, after four years at SMC, I wondered why I hadn't noticed her before, particularly when a friend told me she was a senior, like me.

I saw her again working at the Brickpile when I'd come back late after working in the City and we started talking. I learned she was a senior — in high school! That ended that, for a while. We started dating later that summer; she started college and ultimately graduated from SMC. The years are a blur, but we just celebrated 27 years of marriage and have two wonderful kids.

Winning Charisma

Brooke (Runnells) '00 MA '04 & David Giordano '00

David was running for freshman class president in 1996, and I found him really charismatic. We were friends throughout college, always noticing each other but recognizing that whenever one was single, the other … wasn't. Both of us went straight to grad school at SMC after graduation in 2000, he for his teaching credential and I for a master's in marriage and family therapy. Long story short, we ran into each other in Dante, went on our first date later that week and have been together ever since. We are still madly in love with each other and with our little boy, almost 2. We live in Concord, where David is a teacher in an alternative high school, and I am a therapist at an elementary school in Pittsburg.

Secret Admirer

Monika Larsson '96 & Steve Caltagirone '95

We met in March 1995 in a science class. I was eyeing Steve for weeks, but he didn't know I existed. I learned he lived on campus above one of my women's soccer teammates, and got her to deliver something to him — 16 tissue-paper roses and an anonymous poem.

Days had passed and I didn't hear anything. My friend told me he was impressed, even though he didn't know who wrote the poem or made the flowers.

One night, I asked her to tell him that the "mystery" person was downstairs. She told me that he wanted me to come up, and when I went to his room, he said he knew who I was from class. We talked until the wee hours of the morning.

That was almost 14 years, two children and 11 years of marital bliss ago.

We were married at Saint Mary's on Nov. 1, 1997. We are madly in love and enjoy visiting the campus and telling our boys the story of how we met there.

A Co-ed Proponent

Bill Dobert '72 MBA '82

In 1970, SMC had its first class of women students. This was a very controversial subject on campus. Many thought that abandoning the all-male tradition would ruin the school's reputation. (Needless to say, I did not share that sentiment!)

In that freshman class was Lynn Harding, whom I first noticed coming out of Aquinas Hall. I was on my way to Oliver Hall to pick up some food. Lynn was a very attractive blonde, which caught my attention.

Over the next two years we became good friends and shared the same circle of friends, activities and some classes. After graduating, I followed Lynn to Santa Clara where she transferred. She then transferred to USF, where she graduated. I once again followed. On Aug. 16, 1975, we were married in a small church in Fresno. I returned to SMC in 1980 to complete the graduate MBA program. Lynn became an elementary school teacher. Our children, Carrie and Jason, attended my MBA graduation in the SMC Chapel. We have since had one more boy, Jeff.

Lynn and I live in Danville. And yes, she's still a cute blonde who turns my head every day.

From Neighbors to Couple

Al Locy '81 & Karen (Dahl) '80

We met in 1980 when we lived in dorm rooms next to each other in Aquinas and dated the next year and a half. We were married in the Chapel on Aug. 15, 1981. We've been married 27 great years and put many miles of fun in our lives. We always visit Saint Mary's when we travel to California and try to catch anything we can dealing with our alma mater. It's a very special place for us.

Late Again

Megan (Bartleson) '04 and Dan Quinn '04

As always, I was late to my first day of classes during freshman year. I took the only available seat, next to Dan. From that meeting, we exchanged glances in professor Ken Parker's English class, which developed into lunch after class and then, that November, we went on our first date, to Mandarin Flower in Moraga.

We quickly became inseparable. Some of our favorite activities included bowling with Brother Glenn Bolton, taking professor Ronald Olowin's astronomy class, having ice cream at Loard's in Moraga and eating at Mandarin Flower.

In July 2005, Dan proposed to me near his hometown of Petaluma. On Aug. 26, 2006, we were married near my hometown of Fortuna, Calif. We purchased a townhome in Martinez in May 2007 and are living there happily ever after.

No Glasses Needed

Paul Forney '61

I was a senior in April 1961, and was at Art's Bar in Moraga when a friend came in and suggested we go to a mixer in the gym. I was content drinking a few beers but finally relented. Upon entering, I found that I did not have my glasses with me, so I asked someone standing nearby to point out which girl in a group of five was the prettiest. I asked her to dance, and then danced the night with her. It was love at first sight, but I had already joined the Navy and went on duty in July. I left active duty in November 1964 and asked her to marry me in January 1965. Last October was our 43rd anniversary. Cecelia and I owe a debt to SMC, but repaid it some with our son graduating from SMC in 1993.

Grow Old with Me

Kelly Morris '82 & Carolyn (Daly) '84

We met in 1982 when we had a creative writing class where the teacher paired us to create a dialogue between two old people on a park bench.

This was the first of many a note-passing between us in classes, but the most memorable. I guess we envisioned being together in old age pretty well, as we married in the SMC Chapel in 1984 and just celebrated our 25th anniversary on Aug. 13, 2008, on a cruise to Alaska with our children Cally, 17, and Sam, 15.

Carrying on the Lasallian tradition, my husband is an elementary school teacher in Antioch and I joined the Kalmanovitz School of Education in 2008 as an assistant.

It was Fate

Roberta Hernandez '81 & J. Richard Tapia '81

We met in February 1978 in DeSales Perez's bilingual seminar class, which was in the evening — not the preferred time to take a class. Prior to this class, I had never seen Richard on campus, which is surprising since enrollment might have been a total of 1,200. It must have been fate. The next three years, Richard and I were active in MEChA and painted the mural in the Gaol.

We recently celebrated our 25th anniversary with our four boys. The second, Robbie, is in SMC's Class of 2012. I've warned him about the girls in Seminar!

Answered prayers

Sam Hutkins ’68

While attending the all-male Saint Mary's, I met my wife at summer classes at Vallejo Junior College. She attended Cal Davis, and later Stanford.

On the traditional after-dinner walk to the post office for mail, I would often drop in for a short prayer from the back row of the dimly lit and empty Chapel. “Lord, I am working hard to pass this exam. I am studying, but the material does not seem to make sense or stick. I do not know what plans you have for me, but I will do my best to serve you (when I pass this exam and eventually graduate).”

Well, I did pass many of those exams and I graduated, and two years later, when we were planning our marriage, I insisted that we be married at the SMC Chapel. After so many prayers had been answered from there, I am convinced God definitely lives there. He has continued to answer our prayers and bless us. We are as madly in love as we were during my years at Saint Mary’s, and our names are on the Chapel’s plaque of alumni who were married on campus. Just like after exams, “Thank you, Lord.”

A Bad Start

Jacob Stansky ’00

Before a Jan Term class my freshman year, I went to a classmate’s dorm room to hang out and immediately caught eyes with a girl I've never met before. I heard, “Jake, my new roomate, Ashley.”

She had started at Saint Mary’s several months late, after being broadsided in Los Angeles the day she was to move to the College; she had pretty serious leg injuries, and after three months of healing she finally was at school.

I was so nervous when I met her, I knocked a candle over, spilling hot wax onto my friend’s $100 leather shoes. Ashley made fun of me so sharply that all I could think was “who is this girl?” I immediately fell for her.

We spent the rest of freshman year together, and 11 years later, I took this one-of-a-kind woman to be my wife on a private terrace overlooking the lake at the Bellagio Resort in Las Vegas.

Crazy Start

Sarah (Parides) ’05 and Ray Carroll ’03

We met at the Jamaica-Me-Crazy dance in the Soda Center in February 2003. As Ray loves to say, the crowds parted and he spied a girl in red (his favorite color) dancing across the room. He asked me to dance, I said I would and we danced together for the rest of the night. He was wearing a Rastafarian wig so I couldn't tell exactly what he looked like. We exchanged phone numbers, and he called me the next day while I was studying at my apartment. We arranged to meet at Safeway in Moraga to grocery shop. We got together again on Tuesday for lunch after class, and then again that Friday. He asked me out “officially” that evening, and the rest is history. After my graduation we commuted an hour to see each other until he proposed in March 2006. We married in July 2007. Without Saint Mary's, we never would have met our life partners.


Dax Johnson '00 and Catherine (Hird) Johnson '01

Dax Johnson and I met at the Luau in 1999, when he was a senior and I was a junior. It was love at first sight for me. I asked a mutual friend to set us up. We met the following week at the Round-Up for a beer. After that we were inseparable! I studied abroad in Paris in the spring semester 2000. Dax visited and we toured southwest France villages and fell in love. I didn't want to miss Dax's senior ball so I flew home the night after finals, and went straight from SFO to the S.F, Marriot for the dance. Dax proposed on a Mendocino sea bluff in July 2004, and we were married a year later. We live in Oakland, are expecting a baby girl and couldn't be happier. We love SMC for bringing us together.


Dining together

Matt Collopy ’95 met Karen Gizzi ’95

In sophomore year when they literally bumped into each other in line at the cafeteria. Karen had heard of Matt because she grew up going to school with his cousin, but this was their first official meeting. They had friends in common and got to know each other by sitting at the same table in the dining hall. As they later attended events like Jamaica Me Crazy and the Boat Dance, they knew what they had going was very special. They dated throughout their years at SMC and got married in 1998. Karen and Matt live in Castro Valley with their kids, Carli, 8, and Kyle, 5 ½.


It started in Soc.

Renee (Kerr) Peterson ’02

My husband, Joseph Peterson ’03, and I met in a sociology class when he was a freshman and I was a sophmore. We started dating, and we were married the August after Joe graduated. We just celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, and welcomed our first child Lucas James Peterson in March 2008.

Baseball buddies

Stacey (Coleman) ’03 and Tom Carroll ’04 MAHPER ’07

We met on the first day of classes in September 2000. Stacey was a sophomore and Tom was a freshman, both in Introduction to Anthropology. We had a mutual friend, Mark Teahen, who introduced us before class and we became friends immediately. We stayed friends throughout the year and studied together for our mutual classes. We discovered we were both the same major, Sports Management. Tom played baseball and Stacey would go to the games to cheer him and his teammates on.

After the summer break, we returned to campus in September 2001. We had a few classes together, one being badminton with Randy Farris. We teamed up on the court and decided we were more than just friends. We've been together ever since.

Over the years at Saint Mary's we had many classes together and made wonderful memories. Our first date was to the rugby team's Boat Dance. There were plenty of baseball games, dances, late-night outings, game nights in the dorms and even more. We loved our time at Saint Mary's and are still drawn to the campus and community.

Tom still works for the college and we are at most sporting events. When we decided to get married, we knew we couldn't have our wedding anywhere else. We were married in the Chapel on November 4, 2006, with some of Tom's teammates as the groomsmen; and we couldn't resist taking some pictures on the baseball field.

It Started with a BBQ

Brandyn Coleman ’99 and Alison Uebner ’00

Brandyn Coleman ’99 and Alison Uebner ’00 met in fall 1998 when their Guerrieri Hall West suite mates held a BBQ on the balcony between the girls’ and guys’ suites. Ten years later, they have been married for more than four years, live in Concord and are expecting their first child in spring 2009. Saint Mary's holds a very special place in the Coleman's lives. Many of their friends are SMC alumni and people who share the same Lasallian education.

From Being Friends to a Becoming a Couple

Pinthip Suvanasarn ’06

David and I met on freshman move-in day in August 2002. I lived on the third floor and him on the second floor in De La Salle. I looked like a mess from moving in all day and was still trying to arrange my things when he walked into the room with two other guys, his roommates. They introduced themselves and the first thing I did was check him out and thought to myself, WOW this guy is really hot! From then on we became quick friends. He asked for my dorm phone number and I gave it to him, not expecting a call. As soon as I got back from class one day, he had left me a message saying we should hang out and just to say hi. I was surprised and excited. We started to hang out as friends and through another friend I found out he actually had a girlfriend from high school (he never told me). She went to a different college.

I was super bummed out, but nonetheless, we still hung out as friends. It was one of those things where I liked him a lot but kept it to myself. Eventually everyone in De La Salle caught on and knew that I was in love with him because I was fairly obvious. Everyone, especially my friends knew that eventually we would end up together and I actually found out after we started dating that Dave had secretly liked me too.

After we came back from winter break, he told me that he had broken up with his girlfriend. Pretty excited we still hung out as just friends and soon became more. We have been inseparable ever since. We both majored in business administration and even took some of our business classes together.

We moved in with each other after we graduated in 2006 and set a wedding date for 2009. We are getting married at Saint Mary's and wouldn't even dream of getting married anywhere else. Saint Mary's has very special meaning to the both of us. What is even more funny is that we both didn't even want to go to SMC to begin with. We had different schools we wanted to go to, but due to whatever reasons we had, ended up at SMC and loved our time there. We truly believe that us meeting at SMC was fate and we are meant to be together. We hope to send our children there one day. My younger brother is currently a sophomore there and maybe will find his true love too.

The Play’s the Thing

My name is Genevieve Kinsey (formerly Flock), and I walked at graduation in May 2005. I came back for the fall semester of the 2005-2006 school year to complete some research I had been working on with Dr. Margaret Field, and I signed up for a couple extra classes while I was there. One of these classes was Barry Horwitz's Play's for Modern Times class, which he had mentioned to me in the spring before when I was working in the Office of Academic Affairs. I had always enjoyed literature and theatre, so I showed up on the first day of his class and was excited to discover that the course was not yet full.

My husband, Marty Kinsey, walked at graduation in May 2001, but he still had a class he needed to complete for his degree. He had a great job arranged to begin after graduation, so he had not previously completed his final course. However, he was considering the possibility of switching careers and wanted to complete his degree requirements, so he enrolled in a course at Saint Mary's in the fall of 2005: Plays for Modern Times.

We ran into each other on and off campus, and before long we started dating. After the fall semester, we parted ways briefly as Marty decided to move to Athens, Ga., and I spent one month in South Africa. When I returned, I helped Marty drive cross-country from California to Georgia to set up his new home, and throughout the course of the trip, we knew we had found something very special in one another, something we may never find again, something we were not willing to let go of. I had been accepted to Creighton University's School of Medicine in Omaha, Nebraska, and I knew I would be moving in August, but until then, I decided to join Marty in Georgia and work there until I started medical school.

Over the next several months we met each other's families, including my sister who was teaching in Thailand at the time. As we continued to learn more about each other, we knew that we were meant to be together. We had worked out a schedule in which we would fly to see each other at least twice each month, alternating between trips to Omaha and trips to Athens once I began medical school. On Sept. 1, 2006, I flew back to Georgia for a long weekend, and Marty proposed.

I accepted and we spent the next 21 1/2 months planning our wedding. On June 21, 2008, Marty and I married at Saint Mary's church and celebrated our reception on a four-hour cruise around the San Francisco Bay. Half of our wedding party was comprised of Saint Mary's graduates, and Dr. Margaret Field and Barry Horwitz, whose courses contributed to our meeting, were both in attendance as well.

An Attractive Visitor

Jill Brusco Fox ’86

Although my husband, John Fox, was not a student a St. Mary's, we did meet at Saint Mary's. In 1984, John came to visit his friend, Steve Lahey, Class of 86. John was attending Santa Clara and came to SMC for Mayfest. Steve and I were friends. Steve introduced us. The rest, as they say, is history.

We dated for eight years before we got married. We now have two kids (our oldest just started as a freshman as Christian Brothers High School in Sacramento). Each year, we take the kids to the Santa Clara v. SMC basketball games. My daughter is already talking about going to St. Mary's while my son wants to get a golf scholarship to Santa Clara!! Needless to say, St. Mary's has played a big role in our lives. With any luck, our daughter, Chloe, will get to meet the man of her dreams at SMC!!

Mutual Memories

Valerie (Zamora) ’00 and Steve McCarthy ’99

Steve and I knew of each other while we were both attending Saint Mary's. He was a year ahead of me and dated someone whom I befriended my freshman year. As it turns out, we both ended up knowing many of the same people and have a blast sharing the stories we have relating to them...often it'll be things like, "... I was there too!"  In 2005, we both attended the wedding of another mutual friend; my life-long buddy at Saint Mary's and Steve's old roomate. It truly was "love at first sight." We talked what seemed like hours upon hours on the wall overlooking a sunset at Boundary Oaks Golf Club, apparently missing the bride dance on a table while her husband's band played the roof off the place!

Steve and I got married at Saint Mary's on May 12, 2007 and have two children; Gabriella and Alexander.

Scavenger for Love

Erin (Hamer) '01 and Geoff Allen '01

I'm Erin (Hamer) ’01, and I met my future husband, Geoff Allen ’01, on the first day of orientation. We started dating a week later, and Sept 5, 2008, marked 11 years of being together. We were married in ’05 in Oakland and live in Baltimore, where Geoff is finishing his general surgery residency at Johns Hopkins and I'm a speech pathologist working with special needs children.