Campus romance: Your Dal love stories
Ryan McNutt and Erin Stewart - February 14, 2013
A stolen glance during orientation week. A chance run-in at the campus pub. Making googly eyes across the Learning Commons.
With thousands of eligible students on campus, university is a great time to meet a special someone. But meeting the special someone? That’s trickier. After all, we do a lot of growing up — and, sometimes, growing apart — during those four-plus years, and after graduation awaits a sea of ever-evolving careers, interests, passions, priorities.
Can campus romance survive all that?
James and Evelyn didn’t think so, at first.
It was their final semester at Dal. James Stuewe (BMgmt’05, MPA’09) was nearing the completion of his Master of Public Administration degree, and Evelyn Spence (LLB’09) was months away from graduating from law school. He had a job lined up in Halifax, she in Toronto.
They first “met” at the Seahorse Tavern, when James tagged along with a mutual friend to a law school event. But even though he asked his friend for Evelyn’s name, the two didn’t get to talk to each other that night.
“I thought she was just visiting the city, because I’d never seen anyone as beautiful in Halifax!” he says. “But I had to leave.”
“He disappeared,” adds Evelyn. “I didn’t see him again for a few weeks.”
James may have had to head home early that night in the name of schoolwork, but he kept showing up at law school gatherings. Soon the two began spending time together: sharing study breaks, grabbing dinner at Gingergrass Thai, spending Saturday mornings haunting the Farmer’s Market, biking and hiking around Nova Scotia.
Their rapport had become romance, but theirs was still a new love on borrowed time. Due to head their separate ways when the semester ended, they made the most of their time together and awaited their relationship’s expiry date.
It came and went.
“We were apart for three or four weeks and didn’t stop talking and thinking about each other,” says Evelyn.
“It dawned on us that the ‘being apart’ thing wasn’t going to work,” adds James.
James made a commitment that within six months, he was going to find a job in Toronto and move to be with Evelyn. That’s where they are now: James is a management consultant with RBC, and Evelyn is in-house legal counsel with a provincial regulatory body and has recently been appointed to the Discipline Committee of the Association of Professional Engineers Ontario.
Last September, they were married at a ceremony held at Evelyn’s parents’ property just outside of Ottawa — the same place where James proposed.
“You never know where life will take you, but we’re so excited to grow and share it together,” says James.
More Dal love stories
While every couple’s story is special, James and Evelyn are one of many Dal relationships that have lasted — or which may be poised to do so. Here are some of those stories, sent in by our readers:
Ashley Stead and Luke Morine
Ashley met her soon-to-be husband, Luke, on their third day of O-Week at Dal. Heading back to Sheriff post-party, she and her floormate met two “handsome boys” on the sidewalk outside of Risley Hall, who enticed the girls to join them with the promise of late-night pizza.
Although she didn’t get his name that night, Ashley and Luke would meet again. One year later, Luke proposed in front of Risley Hall – the exact same spot the two had met the year before. Though they live in Ottawa now, they’ll be heading east in 2014 for their wedding – complete with photos in the Quad.
Deanna Foster and Tim Mass
Deanna Foster, a graduate and current employee at Dalhousie, met “the love of her life” through Dal.
On the last day of classes in April 2003, Deanna was helping prep for the Classics end of year party, the Ludi Florales. While running errands, Deanna dropped off her Latin prof, Corey Owen (who she knew quite well, given the many hours of extra help she needed to pass his course) at the apartment he lived in with his wife and brother-in-law. As he exited Deanna’s car, he said, “You guys should convince my brother-in-law Tim to come if he’s home. He’s a shy and quiet farm-boy from Saskatchewan with brown hair and glasses.”
While Deanna didn’t take part in any convincing, she did spot Tim at the Ludi Florales that night. Armed with intel from her future brother-in-law, she mentioned her love of badminton and the two scheduled their first date at Dalplex the following day.
Five years later Deanna and Tim are married and will be celebrating their 10-year anniversary in a few months with their son, Victor.
“If I hadn’t chosen Dalhousie over 10 years ago after high school, my life would have been very different," says Deanna. "I’m so glad I did, for several reasons, but also because I met my husband.”
Bharat Joshi and Niroshaathevi Arumuggam
Given the amount of time students spend in the Killam Library, it’s not surprising that’s where Bharat Joshu met his girlfriend, Niroshaathevi Arumuggam, two years ago. Although he noticed her many times before, it wasn’t until the day after final exams that he actually got the chance to speak to her at a mutual friend’s house.
The two chatted online that summer and the next fall, met again in the Killam… and the rest is history. “If it wasn’t for Dalhousie University, who knows if I would have ever met my soul mate?” says Bharat.
Dwane and Debbie Mellish
In her first semester at Dalhousie Agricultural Campus (formerly NSAC), Debbie met Margaret and Pam. The trio, who became best friends, met a group of three guys – and their three became six. The group could be seen at social events, pub nights and sporting events… and eventually began pairing off (all three couples ended up getting married – one year apart!)
Debbie recalls that Dwane first asked her out at the end of a Rams hockey game. Thirty-six years and three children later, they are still happily married in Truro.
Illya and Amanda Nielsen
Illya (class of ’00) and Amanda (class of ’01) met in the fall of 1998 at the old Grad House. A chance invitation to go sailing in Chester with students and staff from Dalhousie’s Department of Theatre led to an inseparable relationship between the two.
“Fourteen years and three children later, she’s even more beautiful and amazing than the day we met,” says Illya.
Jed Winters and Alyson Fullarton
Engineering students Jed Winters and Alyson Fullarton had similar experiences their first year at Dal: they had both moved from rural Maritime communities to the ‘big’ city of Halifax, lived in the same house in Howe Hall, were studying engineering and had identical class schedules – which led to a lot of time together, in and out of class.
In January 2012 they went public with their relationship. Since then, they’ve met each other’s parents, visited hometowns, worked together in a fish plant in PEI and are now living together in Halifax.
Alex Wilner and Kate Bigney
In 2004, Dalhousie TAs went on strike. In a twist of fate, Alex Wilner (PhD '09) and Kate Bigney, (who will defend her own Dal PhD this summer) signed up for the same time slot: 3-5 p.m. each day. For several weeks, Alex and Kate walked the picket line together… finishing the day with a round (or two) at the Grad House. Spring turned into summer and as the strike ended, Alex and Kate started dating.
In August 2008, Alex and Kate married in Ottawa and moved to Zurich, Switzerland shortly after for Alex’s postdoc. Five years later, the couple that found love on the picket lines are back in Canada with their daughter Noa Tili, who was born in Zurich this past December.