2017 Wilkes Sweetheart Stories
Each February, we feature the stories of Wilkes Colonel couples who lived here, laughed here and loved here. This year, we chose Dave ’76 and Gina O’Brien ’77 Davies to feature th
eir photo in the email banner for the Alumni e-Newsletter, our Facebook cover photo and our alumni website homepage. Thank you to all of our 15 alumni who submitted their Wilkes love stories
Aaron ’93 and Sabeth Ryan ’95 Albert
Aaron was known as being a kind and sincere person. Though we were different years and had different majors, we met through mutual friends and he was always the nicest person in the room. Returning to campus for Homecoming in 1996, we struck up a conversation through mutual friends and realized we were both from New York (he is from Long Island, I'm from Manhattan). From that day on, we never went a day without speaking even though he was working in NYC and I was attending graduate school at Bucknell University. On Christmas morning 1997, we got engaged, flew to London to celebrate, and were married in October 1999 with Wilkes friends in the wedding party and in attendance. Two children and 17 years of marriage later, we are grateful to Wilkes for bringing us together.
Dave ’76 and Gina O’Brien ’77 Davies
Just over forty years ago, four Wilkes undergraduates were in a rowboat on Harvey’s Lake, collecting samples for our ecology class. When one oar broke, we were literally “up the lake without a paddle.” One of those students was Gina O’Brien ’77. Her calm demeanor and sarcastic wit about our plight attracted me to her immediately. As president of the senior class, I had to appear before the Student Government to request funds. The SG President, Gina O’Brien, gave me quite a grilling about the need for these funds. I should have known then – we started dating in January of 1976, were married in August of 1977, and are approaching our fortieth anniversary. We are forever grateful to Wilkes for our education and for having given us the chance to meet.
Kevin ’89 and Erica Simshauser ’91 Gaffey
I met Kevin in my junior year at a rugby game at Kirby Park. He was on crutches due to a knee injury in a previous game. He was so funny and knew girls in my dorm, Catlin Hall. A few days later I walk into Catlin after class and see Kevin sitting with 10 girls watching Days of Our Lives. Kevin and I were great friends through his graduation that spring. We kept in touch and by fall were dating, in a long distance relationship. We were married 3 years later. It will be 24 years this October. We have 3 children, 1 out of college, 1 Junior in college & an 8th grader. Wilkes will always be a part of our lives and we are happy to still be a part of it today.
Alex ’14 and Megan Clementson ’12 George
Alex and I first met in 2010 when we both arrived at Wilkes for preseason. Alex was a freshman playing football and I was a junior playing soccer. We casually would talk here and there about our love for the Redskins because it was hard to find many other Washington fans at Wilkes. The following year Alex's friends began telling me that he liked me. When I decided to try giving him a chance, he accidentally stepped on my laptop and shattered the screen. That was my sign to move on, graduate and never see him again. Thankfully, Alex's plan was a little different. Following graduation, he began texting me daily. All of my roommates in college were a year behind me so I went back frequently to visit them. After big wins from the Washington Nationals or Redskins Alex would text me requesting that I save a copy of the Washington Post for him since I lived in Maryland. This forced me to visit him whenever I'd make the drive up. I was too oblivious to figure out that he already had copies of the newspapers. In the spring of 2013, Alex drove down to my house in Maryland and we went to a Nationals baseball game. My family loved him and it was an easy decision to accept that we were more than just friends. On June 25, 2016 Alex and I got married! Not only did Wilkes bring us together, but it also provided us with 12 bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as many other friends to share in on our big day that were able to contribute to and witness our love story from the beginning. Just when we thought our love story couldn't get any better, we found out that we are expecting our first baby in July 2017!
Kendall PharmD ’14 and Brianna ’12 Hinz
Brianna and Kendall met the first week of classes in the fall of 2008, during their freshman year. A group of friends had arranged a pick-up game on the sand volleyball court near Evans Hall. On the same team, Kendall obstructed Brianna's view of the serve and the volleyball hit her in the face. Brianna turned to Kendall and said, "I thought you had it!" After a few group dates and a little matchmaking from their friends, the couple started dating in December. Kendall was a basketball standout for the Colonels and Brianna found herself at every game. In 2012, Brianna graduated from Wilkes and began graduate school at Misericordia University while Kendall remained at Wilkes to complete his pharmacy degree. The couple became engaged June 2013 and graduated with their degrees in May 2014. On August 30, 2014 the couple wed in the presence of 43 Wilkes Alumni. Then on December 1, 2016 the couple welcomed their daughter Selah Rose Hinze to the world. The couple hopes that Selah will decide to attend their alma mater, as a part of the Class of 2040. Wilkes will always be like a second home because for Brianna and Kendall, it's where their story began.
Manny PharmD ’14 & Julia ’12 Isherwood
Manny and I met in our freshman year at Wilkes, when both of us lived in Evans Hall. At the time, we were both pharmacy majors and had some classes together. At the end of our freshman year, we started dating and have been together ever since. On August 6, 2016 we got married in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Wilkes University will always be a special place for us.
Brian ’96 and Jill Fasciana ’98 McCoy
We met my freshman year in Evans dorm where Brian was the Resident Assistant for my good friends' floor. I spent a lot of time in the dorm of Amy Blake ’98 and Tara Wilson ’98, so I ran into Brian a lot. We started dating in March of my freshman year. Our first unofficial date was sleigh riding in Kirby Park on cafeteria trays. The next week we went for dinner and a movie. We dated the next 2 years until Brian graduated. Then he moved to Baltimore to get his master’s degree in computer science from Johns Hopkins University and we dated in a long distance relationship for 2 years. We got engaged my senior year at Wilkes. He finished his degree and we both moved to Philadelphia where I went to medical school. We were married on June 17, 2000. We lived in Philadelphia for 5 years and then when I finished my pediatric residency we moved back to the Wilkes-Barre area. We will be married 17 years this June and have three children. Every year we get a valentine from Wilkes in the mail wishing us a Happy Valentine's Day from where it all began...
Alan ’68 and Joan Cole ’70 Melberger
Introduced in the dark, downstairs hallway of Conyngham Hall in March of 1966. Alan was enrolled in an Accounting class at Parrish Hall; Joan, in Mr. Hardie's English 102 class. I laughed when I heard his funny last name never dreaming it would be my own 4 years later. Alan acquired his CPA license; Joan, her BS in Business Education. We moved to Northern Virginia where we pursued our careers in Accounting and in Education. Alan practiced it; Joan taught it. We will celebrate 47 years of marriage this June. Raised two fine children; one is a Marketing Executive; the other is a veterinarian. Alan was graduated in 1968 with a BS in Commerce and Finance; he went on to earn his CPA license; Joan was graduated in 1970 with a BS in Business Education.
Bill ’97 and Stephanie Pastewait ’01
Bill and I met in October 1996 at Wilkes. I was a sophomore and Bill was a 5th year senior. He sat behind me on a fan bus to an away football game at Albright University and shamelessly flirted with me for nearly the entire bus ride. Wilkes lost the game that day, but Bill and I ended up dating throughout his last year at Wilkes. In May 1997, Bill graduated and became an officer in the US Air Force. We kept our relationship going despite 4 years of long distance separation while I was finishing my pharmacy degree at Wilkes. We would see each other on my breaks. I graduated in May 2001 and we were married on the Wilkes greenway in June 2001. Bill is still in the Air Force today; this year he reaches 20 years of service. Since 2001, we've lived in 3 different states and have spent a total of 5 years living in Europe. We've also been blessed with two children, now ages 9 and 6. Our life together has certainly been exciting, and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Zach ’10 and Lia ’09 Pizarro
Zach and Lia met at Wilkes in 2006 and history was made! Both originally from the Lehigh Valley and met through Zach's brother also a Wilkes student at the time. October 2013 they married, November 2014 we had our daughter Alaina and June 2017 we will be expecting our second child. At Wilkes Zach was an all-American wrestler and Lia was a cheerleader all 4 years. Lia graduated with nursing degree and Zach a business major. We now live in Bethlehem, PA.
Greg ’09 and Beth ’08 Pstrak
My senior year I had the opportunity to attend the International Business trip to London, England. I expected it to be a great experience that I enjoyed with some of my closest friends from Wilkes, but it became our story. After four years at Wilkes, I never once ran into Greg, but thousands miles away brought us together. I remember the first time I 'tried' to talk to him at Piccadilly Circus; failed attempt! I finally had his attention at dinner when I convinced him to hang out with us that night. We were hitched that day forward and made it official at our wedding in August 2012. We have to thank Dr. Taylor for the wonderful trip that brought us together!
Steve ’90 & Martina Petrosky ’91 Schannauer
During my sophomore year, Martina's freshman year, I noticed her at the cafeteria, as she had a field hockey ball tied to her shoes. I assume it was some type team / freshman tradition. She sat down to eat lunch with her friends a few tables away from me. Soon after she sat down the person sitting aside me, Ray Ott was hit by a flying tater tot, which Martina had thrown. For the balance of my sophomore year and a few months into my junior year I would see Martina around campus at the sports fields. Back then the wrestlers would paint the lines on the football, field hockey fields and others for work study money. “They weren’t always the straightest lines”. I always had an excuse to be at the fields, either to paint lines for one of the sports, or for working out with the other wrestlers (jogging, frisbee football, etc.). Finally in the late fall of my junior year we went out on a few dates, mostly to movies or to eat at Nedoff’s diner, Vic Mars and the Chicken Coop. We became close friends. Marley sealed the deal. I had always had dogs growing up and wanted to get another. During my senior year, Tom Doughty, Dave Rogers “Spanky” and myself lived in an apartment 363 S. River St. I decided to purchase a dog, which we named Marley. Martina never had a dog growing up and she loved Marley. Today, Martina and I have two fantastic daughters, Sarah and Rachel, along with our dogs Clancy and Ziggy who recently passed. Martina and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this December. It’s funny how I became so fortunate by a painting some lines on fields and a friend getting hit by a tater tot. We recently made it back to Wilkes for the Hall of Fame ceremony, which I am very grateful and humbled to be honored. It was a great event and we were so pleased to see so many friends and former coaches who all played a part in our lives.
Russell ’67 and Diane Wynne ’67 Shallcross
Diane and I entered Wilkes Collage as dorm students with the freshman class of 1963. We had a class or two together during our freshman year and struck up a casual friendship. Late in our freshman year, the men of Slocum Hall had a party planned for which I had a date. However I also had a male high school friend visiting the weekend of the party for whom I felt obligated to find a date for the part. My casual friend Diane was willing to be my friend's date for the party. So much for my match making. Our party was at a bar and grill at Harvey's Lake named, as I recall, Kearns. My friend very much over imbibed in the liquid refreshments and wound up passed out in my car's back seat during the return trip to Wilkes. I believe Diane had to use my friend as a back seat cushion. Needless to say I had a lot of apologizing to do. Well while trying to make amends, our relationship grew to something greater and more wonderful then casual. We were engaged our senior year, graduated in 1967 and married in August 1967. Our Wilkes degrees helped us to have successful careers in business (Russ) and education (Diane). We have two children, Nicole and Brian, and we 5 grandchildren. 2017 looks to be a fantastic year. We celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary and 50th year Wilkes reunion. Thank you Wilkes!
Jason ’01 and Joyce Sorrentino ’01 Waterbury
It was the end of freshman year in 1998 and both of us attended a party on Franklin Avenue. We had known of each other through mutual friends but had never spoken to each other until this night. After meeting at the party it was finals week but we still spoke to each other every day and ate in the cafeteria together. Summer came and Jason went home to CT and I went to NJ. We continued to speak every day and saw each other some weekends. It was after the summer that we both realized this was something special. We remained dating throughout our next 3 years at Wilkes. We were fortunate to land apartment housing our junior year right next door to each other (thank you residence life). Senior year we were both RA's on campus but on opposite ends: I was in Weiss and Jason in Slocum Hall. Graduation left us each going back to our home states. It was that August following graduation that Jason proposed. I moved to CT after the summer of 2002 and we were married in July of 2003. We have been married almost 14 years and have 2 children. Alysa is 8 years old and Ryan is 5. Every summer we gather with our group of friends from Wilkes. Adults and their spouses and children. We rotate our location every year but we share fun times and recall great memories with lifelong friends. A couple of years ago we stopped with our children to show them where it all started when we were passing through Wilkes-Barre.
Stan ’90 and Linda O’Boyle ’91, M ’04 Zaneski
I met my future husband in Chemistry 101 at Wilkes University. (so I'm sure it was good chemistry after all!). Our first official date was the freshman-sophomore dinner dance (see photo). We spent every day in the SUB eating lunch and planning our weekends. Stan became my best friend and was by my side when I became Miss Pennsylvania and competed in the Miss America Pageant. We were married in 1993. He even escorted me on stage when I was crowned Mrs PA United States and is my biggest fan. We have 2 amazing children- Becky (21) and Stanley John III (18). Becky also entered the pageant world supported by her dad (the expert now in pageantry advice) and Stanley is an awesome swimmer. (athletic ability from dad who played one year of football at Wilkes). We have fond memories of being at Wilkes together and often reminisce of the Biology club trips and studying in the library. I have more photos- my favorite is in the Wilkes gym when I received my MHA and Stan and the kids are with me.