In Love at UT

UT engagement
Photo courtesy Ashley Hayes, B.A.'10, who shared her engagement story: "He already had the ring for me and planned to propose after football season but just couldn't wait. So in the miserable hot sticky August weather, we dressed up in burnt orange and went to the tower. I honestly knew it was coming! Sure enough, he proposed in the middle of the main mall, right in front of the tower. My sister, also a UT grad, took pictures from afar, hiding, until I said yes and then she rushed up to capture the moment!" 

The University of Texas at Austin is one of the world's leading research universities, populated by some mind-blowingly smart and accomplished scholars. But that doesn't mean we're not in tune with matters of the heart as much as the mind.

In honor of Valentine's Day, this week we're celebrating love at UT. We've gathered alumni and student love stories (including two proposals caught on camera), the best campus date spots and a roundup of love-themed research. Because, as the saying goes, smart is sexy.

Longhorns in Love

"Scott proposed in what was then CBA 3.214 during a Business Council meeting my senior year in February of 1997. We were married in 1998 and are very happily married, raising three little Longhorns. My great-aunt and great-uncle also became engaged on the UT campus. Gerry proposed to Lou behind Littlefield fountain. They were married for 40+ years."

 Nicole Stonehouse, BBA '97

"After talking for a while, Dan invited me to be his date to Bill's wedding, which was held at the UT Alumni center. At the reception, we went for a walk outside and had our first kiss right by the Bevo statue. After three years of long-distance dating and five total years of dating, we got married on July 5, 2013. I now teach in the math department at UT, and we're hoping to stay in Austin for a long time."

Alisa Havens Walch, M.A. '08

"My husband and I met on the UT campus in the fall of 1967. He was a sophomore living in Brackenridge. I was a freshman, living in Littlefield. There was a mixer at the very beginning of the fall semester at Littlefield, and the guys from Brackenridge were invited. I decided to go (even though my roommate demurred). When I went into the living room where the mixer was being held, I saw another girl I knew talking to two guys. So, I went over and introduced myself. One of those guys was Jim. He and I chatted for a while, then he invited me to the next football game. Two years later (1969) we got married. One daughter (B.S. '01) and 44 years later, we're still married! Jim says the invitation to the mixer said there'd be food. When the guys got there, the "food" was Popsicles! He says, 'I went for food and I got you!'

And a note about my roommate who wouldn't go to the mixer: after Jim and I started dating, we introduced her to one of his friends from Brackenridge Dorm. They got married in the fall of 1968 and, several kids later, are still married!"

 Mary, B.S. '70, M.Ed., '76, and Jim, B.S. '72, Milner

"With many of Sadie's friends in town for the game, tickets in hand and ring in pocket, we made our way to Darrell K Royal Stadium. When the band started playing 'The Eyes of Texas' (five minutes before Matt had anticipated), it took just a bit of scrambling on his part to tell Sadie how much he loved her, find the ring buried deep in Matt's pocket and bare down on one knee. Before she knew what happened and it took her a while, as she was so confused about all of this stimuli she had gladly said 'Yes!' Shortly after the proposal Matt was accepted and offered a fellowship to UT's LBJ school where he graduated in May 2013. They were married 9/10/11 (yes, during a UT football game) in Kansas City, Mo., with burnt orange bridesmaids."

Sadie, B.S. '05, and Matthew, M.P.Aff. '13, Cornelius

"I was a graduate student in music and human learning, and my wife was an undergrad English student with a minor in Asian Studies. We worked together at the Starbucks on 24th and Nueces. Not long after she was transferred to my store, I asked her out on a date. We used to meet up for lunch at the stadium twice a week we loved Hat Creek Burger so much that we requested their food truck deliver handmade burgers to guests at our wedding!"

Jay, M.A. '12, and Beth, B.A. '12, Carlin

Best Campus Dates

The love-struck commenters at /r/UTAustin compiled the most romantic spots on campus. A few of their suggestions:

* The Blanton Museum of Art free for UT students, staff and faculty

* The top level of the Manor Garage "great view of downtown Austin at night."

* Waller Creek behind the Alumni Center

* Evening stroll to the Capitol and back

* Comedy clubs Gigglepants and Snafu

* Butler School of Music classical concerts, like this Valentine's Day show

* Tower tours

Gigglepants UT improv
Lisa (Levine) Rubin's "House Divided" wedding cake. 

"We dated a year and he proposed at the top of the UT Tower on March 26, 2011! We just celebrated two years married and had our first baby in August (definitely a future Longhorn)!"

 Katie Landin, B.A. '06

"As members of Alpha Phi Omega, we've had great times running the world's largest Texas flag with our friends, taking pictures with Bevo, and getting our horns up. We both love UT nearly as much as we love each other!"

 Betsy Roche, senior English student, and Colin Christ, B.S. '13

"Me and Justin met our freshman year in 2008 when we tried out for the marching band together. We became best friends very fast and in 2011 we started dating. We are still happily together. This past fall we attended our first Longhorn Band Alumni game and we are excited to go every year. We couldn't be more proud of our time at UT, and we are very thankful for meeting at school and falling in love."

 Victoria Hurley, B.A. '12

"I met my husband as we both ran on UT's intramural marathon team in '03 while training for the '04 marathon. We are still running after each other and now our two children! Love and Hook 'em!"

 Emily Garrison-Grigsby (B.S.N. '04, M.S.N. '07) and Will Grigsby (Ph.D. '08)

"[My husband and I] started dating in 2010 during Texas-OU weekend and knew pretty quickly that there would be wedding bells in our future. On April 15, 2012, we went to the Tejas House where we had first met years ago, and suddenly several of the Tejas Braves circled around me, just as they do on March 2 for Texas Independence Day  a fun campus tradition where the Braves wear suits to campus, find unsuspecting ladies, sing 'You've Lost That Loving Feeling,' and hand them a yellow rose. But this time, they all had red roses, and Kyle got down on one knee with shiny diamonds! Kyle and I have both stayed very involved in campus life, and we hope to one day send our kids to the best university in Texas."

 Muneezeh K. Carpenter, B.A. '11

Longhorn Aggie House Divided wedding cake
Lisa (Levine) Rubin's "House Divided" wedding cake. 

"He went to Texas AandM (don't judge!), but we were both part of Hillel on our campuses. Texas Hillel hosted Shabbat 1000 at the Student Union, inviting students from Hillels around South Texas. At the start of dinner, there was a fire drill in the Union! We all had to evacuate to the West Mall. I saw my friend Jason Scheib standing next to my now-husband Eric Rubin. I asked Jason to introduce us, and the rest is history. I knew he loved me when he took me to the Texas at UCLA football game a month after we got married."

 Lisa (Levine) Rubin, B.S. '03, M.Ed. '04

"I met my husband, Matt McCullough, in the Longhorn Band in 1988. Each year we both returned for the Longhorn Alumni Band football game, and in 1993 we began dating after this event. In 1994, Matt had an engagement written into the halftime show in which we were marching. This is the only engagement that has been written into a LHB or LHAB show. We will be spending our 20th anniversary with the Longhorn Alumni Band in England performing in the New Year's Day parade with LHAB! My life is fantastic today because of going to UT, joining the band and meeting my awesome husband!!"

 Linda McReynolds McCullough, BBA '90 and Matt McCullough, B.A. '93

"My wife Teena and I fell in love at UT in the Spring of 2002, when I was a freshman at the University of North Texas and she was a freshman at UT. I transferred to UT the next fall. One night in the spring of 2003, I carved our names into one of the railings around the East Mall Fountain while waiting for the Wickersham Lane shuttle bus. Someone walked by and asked me if I was 'making my mark' and I answered yes. We both graduated in 2005, and now we live in Tulsa, Okla. I proposed at the Driskill Hotel in July of 2011 the original plan was to propose at the East Mall Fountain, but it was closed that day due to construction. We visit Austin about once a year and we always spend some time walking through campus. Needless to say, UT made its mark on us, too."

 Sean, B.A. '05, and Teena, B.A. '05, Killian   

In love at UT
Note to lovebirds: please choose non-vandalization methods to woo your sweetheart. 

"Murray suggested that we take a picture in front of the UT Tower (which is also my favorite spot on campus!) He deftly set up a camera and tripod before coming to join me for the picture. It was then that he asked me to marry him on the very campus where we met nine years earlier. It could not have been a more perfect moment. Now, when I see photos of the iconic tower, I am imbued with immense pride as that was where I celebrated graduating from UT, as well as immense love, as that was the same place where one question changed our lives forever. Hook 'em, and Happy Valentine's Day!"

Erica Rosentraub, B.A. '04, and Murray Shapiro, B.S. '04

UT Tower engagement
Murray Shapiro, B.S. '04, pops the question to Erica Rosentraub, B.A. '04 

And here is our Valentine's gift to you - new Facebook cover images, free for you to download and share. (Click each image to get the full size.)