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Sweetheart Stories 2013

This year, we received more alumni Sweetheart Stories than ever before! The times may have changed (Bob '67 & Norine Vanderoef were called to the Dean's office for holding hands, a violation of school policy!), but these couples have one thing in common - Wilkes is the "where" in their love story. 

Bob '67 & Norine (Williams) Vanderoef
"It was very unusual in 1964 to think of anything much good happening in the cafeteria, but that was where I first saw Norine Williams. It was truly love at first sight. Our dorms used to dine together often in the "caf"(she was in 36 West River, I was in Hollenback), so I slowly got to know my blond little beauty. Sadly, she had a high school boyfriend, so she really wasn't too interested in my advances.  One snowy night, a group from our two dorms borrowed some trays, and headed to the park for some "tray slideing".  It was there I stole my first kiss. After that, the high school boy friend was history! We were soon dating, pinned, engaged and then married. When I graduated, we moved to Framingham, Mass to begin my business career. Unfortunately, Norine never did get her degree, but we raised three sons and now have three beautiful granddaughters. This May, we will be married for 47 years. I can still remember the first time I saw her. She is just as beautiful now as she was then. I am grateful for my Wilkes degree, but nothing has had a more significant impact on my life than my "Little Blonde Bombshell".

Jesse "Tiny" '95 & Amy (Vitucci) '95 Gross
"The year was 1991. I was 19 years old and a sophomore playing football and working on my engineering degree. It was the first day of classes in late August and I had already been at school for 2 weeks for football. The class was Psych 101 with Dr. Charnetski and I was sitting third row, second seat. That is when I saw her, Amy (Vitucci) Gross '95.  At the time, I did not know her or her name but knew deep down that was the girl I was going to marry. I can still remember saying in my head “WOW”!  She was beautiful with dark hair, green eyes and a great smile.  After that day she dropped Psych 101 (hopefully not because of me) and I got to know her  over the next few years. After college we went our separate ways and then reconnected in 2000, married a year later and have been married ever since. This November it will be 12 years, 2 kids and 5 houses together. They have been the best years of my life so far! I love you Amy." 

Lindsay Behrenshausen '11 & Chris Hopkins '11
"Chris and I met our sophomore year at Wilkes (fall 2008) in one of our communications classes while working on a group project together. As two communications majors, we had many classes together and the same group of friends. We remained simply friends until our senior year when we began to spend more time together. As a sports reporter for the Beacon, Chris covered the softball team, on which I was a pitcher, and I began to notice a familiar face in the stands at my home games during my senior year. We thought we had a good thing going and wanted to see where it would go, so we made our relationship official - exactly 2 days before graduation. Things couldn't be better, as we were just engaged in December and planning a fall 2014 wedding! Wilkes will forever have a special place in our lives!"

Dave '83 & Jennifer (Ogurkis) '83 Carey 
"Once upon a time on the campus of Wilkes College, February 22, 1981 to be exact. I was studying for a Dr. Bellas Physics 203 exam on the second floor of the Eugene Sheddon Library. While trying to comprehend the theory of relativity, in walks this girl Jennifer Ogurkis, in denim farmer pants and her hair tied in a ponytail. She sat at the single cubicle next to our table and proceeded to copy notes from the Physics 202 folder placed in the reserve desk by Dr. Hostler. As fate would have it, the photocopier was not operational that evening and she had to hand copy the lecture notes. She said hello to one of my study companions, Keith Liansi. Keith introduced us and we proceeded to have a conversation while she copied her notes and I forgot all about studying for my exam. After she was finished i walked her out of the library and left for home. Two weeks had passed and I had not seen her again.

I am back at the table in the library studing for something else with Keith and in walks Jennifer. She sits at our table. At that time Wilkes would have various dances and parties at the local hotels. A dinner dance was scheduled for Friday March 27. I said I wanted to go but did not ask anyone as of yet. He asked Jen if she was going and she replied that she wanted to but was not asked. Keith then told me to ask her to go. So I did. She thought it was a setup. It evidently was, since Keith set the entire thing up.  So, our first date was on March 27 at Genetti's for the 1981 Spring Dinner Dance.  The rest is history. We have been married for 29 years and have 2 Wilkes alumni as children. Oh yeah, I aced the Physics 203 exam.  They all lived happily ever after...."

Donna (O'Toole) '85 & John '87 Sedor
"I met my husband John at Wilkes.  I was the editor of the Amnicola and he was the photo editor.  We spent a lot of time at the student center, then the Conyngham Student Center, on the third floor at the Amnicola office.  As commuters, it was a home away from home.

His friend and business partner JB Earl '86 is married to fellow Wilkes grad Lori Bracey Earl '84.  His brother, alumnus Dr. David Sedor '85, was married to Wilkes grad Lee Ann Earl Sedor '80.  And  two of our best friends are Wilkes grads Mark Dudek '87 and Fred Lohman '76."
George '71 & Barbara (Roman) Knezek '71
"My wife, Barbara (Roman) Knezek and I met at the incoming freshman dance behind Weckesser Hall. We dated on and off from then until making it steady our sophomore year. We were engaged during our senior year and married in December 1971. We have been married for 41 plus amazing years."

Jay MS '04 & Elaine (Kerchusky) Tucker '83
"I was the  Director of the Student Center and Assistant Director of Housing at Wilkes from June 1981 until June 1983.  I just began working at Wilkes when I met the then Vice President of Student Government, Elaine Kerchusky at the summer meeting of SG. She later told me that she said to the girls in the dorm that fall semester that she was going to marry me after seeing my picture in the Beacon, and we hadn't even had a date yet! The girls teased her about it and tore my picture out of the Beacon and taped it to her dorm door. Later on in the semester there was a "Time Warp" party at the Student Center on Friday November 13. We spent the night dancing and talking. The rest is history. We started to date and got married in September 1984. We have 3 great kids and will celebrate our 29th anniversary this year." 
Jim '71 and Mary Ellen Fischer '71 Butkiewicz
"Mary Ellen Fischer and I met in September 1967 as first-semester freshmen in English Composition taught by Warren DeArment. We were the two most vocal members of the class, typically disagreeing. In spite of our differences, our first date was February 9, 1968.  Mary Ellen was a member of the TDR Service Sorority, so we went to the sorority’s Valentine Dance. We continued dating and often took classes together. One of our literature professors, Joan Roberts, likened us to the lovers in Dante’s Third Circle of Hell.  We were engaged during their senior year and married on August 14, 1971.  

Mary Ellen and I have two daughters and two grandchildren.  We enjoy traveling and spending time at our home in Lake Harmony.  We are often in the area visiting our families, skiing in the Poconos and recalling our happy years as Wilkes College students, remembering our first date forty-five years ago this month. 

Kyle '09 & Amanda (Lenig) PharmD '11 Riedinger 
"We first met in November of 2008 at the admissions office, where we both had work study jobs. Amanda was a telecounselor with some front desk duties and I was a student ambassador. I would often share some sarcastic humor in passing and Amanda would roll her eyes at me. She thought I was a total player. Little did she know, I was a nerd at heart with "confident, college boy swagger". I found her to be the strong/silent type with good morals and a life plan. She always called things the way she saw them which made it difficult to get to know her. She certainly had no time for "dating a boy like me". 

It was February of 2009 when I summoned the courage in somewhat of an awkward manner and said "Hey, the psychology majors are doing a compatibility test at the SUB, lets just do it and see if we are a match. What do you have to lose?" The results proved less than compatible, but we managed to build something special off of our friendship. After a few months, we finally became an item. After I graduated and Amanda was still working towards her PharmD, we maintained a long distance relationship across 121 miles, 3 rivers, and a state border for 3 years. After Amanda graduated pharmacy school in May 2011, I took her on a "celebration vacation" to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic where I asked her to marry me on the beech at sunset. We got married on October 6, 2012 in the city we found love - Wilkes-Barre."

Loretta ’84 and Ken Martin-Halpine ’81
"I always said I would never date anyone long-distance. My first date with my husband was his graduation dinner dance. Since I was a freshman, the long distance dating began with that. After 4 years of dating and 28 years of marriage, we’re still going strong!" 

Courtney Malast ’13 & Brian Switay ’10 MBA 12
"It all started when I visited Wilkes on a tennis retreat.  The girls I stayed with were friends with this really funny guy who was very sweet.  I crossed paths with him again when I was a senior during a student development trip to Dorney Park and he was the advisor for the trip.  Finally, I crossed paths with him once again at Wilkes Snow Ball dance.  Later that night he posted on facebook that he could really go for a cup of hot chocolate and I decided to answer this particular post... and the rest is history. This amazing guy I kept crossing paths with was Brian Switay! Brian and I started dating soon after our hot chocolate night and have had a pretty sweet relationship ever since.  Thanks Wilkes for my sweetheart!"

Lauren '00 & Aaron '99 Sherburne
"I met my husband, Aaron Sherburne '99, at RA training in the summer of '98. We moved to NJ after I graduated in 2000 and we were engaged in 2001 and married July 2002. Our wedding party consisted of many Wilkes University alumni,  including Abby Sherburne Stroud '00, Andria Biagiotti Kennedy '00, Rick Seipp PharmD '01 and Chris Dickenson '00.  Many of our friends from Wilkes attended the wedding and we still keep in touch with many of them. We have three beautiful children Jason (5) and twins Matthew and Nicolas (2). We just celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary and this summer will be 15 years since we met at Wilkes."

Dan '83, MBA '85 & Michelle (Liddic) Schilling '85
I met my wife, Michelle, near the end of her freshman year and my junior year.  My roommate, John, was seeing Kathleen (his future wife) from Minor Hall and they said there was this girl from Williamsport that I might be interested in meeting.  After scoping her out at the cafeteria (despite a considerable height difference), I told them I was interested in meeting her and they introduced us the next weekend at a dance over at the gym.  Not sure how to break the ice, I remember asking Michelle to dance.  Wouldn’t you know it, two seconds after we got on the dance floor the music switched to a slow dance song.  (How awkward for her; how lucky for me.)
After that, we dated casually that spring and I tried to keep the relationship going during the summer months.  My friends and I stayed at Wilkes that summer and Michelle even came for a visit and I took her to a fancy restaurant.  By the end of the summer, however, I could tell her interest was waning.  Upon our return to school in the fall, we took long walk to Kirby Park the night we got back (how safe was that?) and I was promptly dumped at the swing sets, which were located pretty deep into the park at that time. I asked her years later why did she take me so far away just to give me bad news?  I guess the awkwardness was some type of cosmic payback for how we first met at the dance.
After that, I still had feelings for Michelle and never quite understood why it didn’t work out.  I hadn’t seen her for a few weeks then we crossed paths on the Saturday of homecoming  weekend.  My brother and sister-in-law graduated from Wilkes and asked me to watch my nephew that weekend while they met up with their old college friends.  Not knowing what to do with a 4 year old, I decided to take him over to Boscov’s to get some ice cream and that’s when we ran into each other.  Weeks later, desperate for a date to a wedding for one of our college friends, I caught up with her on the way to Parish Hall which was a long walk down by the bridge.  I explained to her that Jeff Surovi was getting married (she had met him a few times) and wanted to know if she’d be interested going to the wedding with me and a few other couples.  I think I stunned her when I asked, but she had a dress and she finally said yes.  After that, our relationship blossomed.  
I graduated in ’83, but stayed at Wilkes an extra year and a half to get my MBA so we could be together.  Due to the timing, we even got to graduate together in ’85.  We were married in September that year.  We’ll be married 28 years this September.  We have fond memories of Wilkes and try to return as often as we can.  Last year we visited several times as Wilkes was on my oldest daughter’s short list of schools to attend.  We even told her if she chose Wilkes, that we’d pay for the bus to have the Colonel and crew come visit her at work to welcome her to Wilkes!

Andrea (Templar) '66 and Keith '65 Ackerman
It was June of 1965, and my friend Grace Jones asked me to come down to yearbook office with her to tie up some odds and ends before the sending The Amnicola off for publication.  Keith Ackerman had been the editor, and she would be assuming that position come fall when we would be seniors.  Keith had already graduated earlier that month, but being made of German grit, and having the work ethic for which the The Valley is so renowned, he would not shirk his duties over such a minor point of fact.  That's how we met.  Our first date was on June 18th, and we were married one year later on that very date.  On the 18th of every month for forty-six years, we celebrated our "anniversary,"  and on the 18th of November of 2012, the Lord took my "Cutie" to be with Him, and a greater gift of comfort, no one could ask.

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