Jon and Laura fell in love after meeting during freshman orientation. We were both in the same focus group. During an ice breaking activity the first day, Laura asked Jon to put her on his shoulders. (We were participating in an activity where the entire group was trying to sit on a small square of carpet.) We had our first date at the end of that week. We went to Moraine State Park and sat looking out over the lake and talked for hours. We both thought it was the best part of our first week.
Jon proposed on Valentine’s Day sophomore year. We were married on May 22, 1999 between junior and senior year. We now live, still happily marked, in Virginia with our daughter Makaila.
Years married: 13
First met: Geneva College in ’96
First date: Moraine State Park
Proposal location: Hell’s Hollow Park in the car, because it started to rain.
Jon ('00) and Laura ('00) Collins
Keith and I met our freshmen year and were both math ed. majors, so we had a few classes together. Keith’s seat kept getting closer to mine every class we had. We finally started dating and fell in love as we took nightly walks around College Hill and played cards in McKee Lounge.
Keith spent a summer in Maine between our soph./jr. years—he was a guide for a Boy Scout camp, had no computer or cell phone coverage, so we wrote letters all summer. I can still remember the 3 phone calls I got from him that summer. When he came back, I think that was when we both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. He proposed the following summer and we got married 3 weeks after we graduated (June 2004).
We’ve lived in Kane, PA for almost 8 years now. We both taught H.S. math and coached various sports. Three years ago, God blessed us with a beautiful little girl, Abby, and then last year Ethan joined our family. So what started as a love at Geneva has continued and grown into a family of four. We have been extremely blessed. Keith still teaches math and physics and I stay home with the kids.
Years married: almost 8
First met: 2001 in Mrs. van de Sande’s calculus class.
First date: We watched Survivor in McKee Lounge and then went for a walk around College Hill.
Proposal location: Marienville, PA
Keith ('04) and Stacy ('04) Hastings
Married: 40 years.
First met: Marjorie and I shared a history class our first semester at Geneva. Sitting on opposite sides of the chapel, we managed to make eye contact and a few friendly conversations.
First date: Our first date was to the college Christmas party, designed for the woman to invite the man. The couple sponsored a boy or girl from the community to the same party. We dated off and on throughout our four years at Geneva, walking the streets of Beaver Falls, sipping hot chocolate in the Brig, and sharing a first kiss in front of the library.
Proposal: I proposed in the middle of a small field in the hills of Ligonier, Pa., Marjorie’s home town. We were married in late August after graduation.
Our years have led through Dick teaching English and Marj teaching music in Rome, NY for a couple years, back to school for seminary and then pasturing churches in Spooner, WI (21 years), Humboldt, IA (10 ½ years), and now Luverne, MN. We have four children (Amy, Cathi, Tim and Xandi) and ten grandchildren (Acacia, Ben, Marcail, Jaedyn, Levi, Nate, James, Anna, Isaac, and Jesiah).
God’s grace has filled our days with much, much good. We look back on our years at Geneva as part of our Lord’s goodness.
Richard (’71) and Marjorie R. (’71) Lauger
We met as freshmen in the cafeteria line in the basement of McKee Hall. Bill was a "legacy," following in his father's footsteps as a chemistry major; Margaret was the first in her family to go to college with a vague idea to do something with a degree in history. Both of us had interests in other people when we first met, but over time, those interests faded and we became an "item."
Although we didn't have classes together, we both wrote for the CABINET newspaper and shared worship at College Hill Methodist Church. During spring break of our senior year, we went on a date to the Ringling Brothers Circus in Philadelphia, and Bill proposed there in the bleachers, much to the delight of the audience around us!
Bill went off to graduate school after graduation, and Margaret found a job (and her vocation) as a librarian in her local public library. We were married a year later, and will celebrate our 44th wedding anniversary this August.
In addition to finding romance at Geneva, we each found solid preparation for life. Bill still uses his chemistry degree to develop additives for the coatings industry as Vice President of Raybo Chemicals. Margaret used her experience as a student worker in McCartney Library to make a career of library service. We are blessed to be able to serve God together through teaching Sunday school, serving on church boards and mission committees, and singing.
While at Geneva, Baroness Maria von Trappe spoke on campus. Her words that day have been a guiding point of our lives together: “To find the will of God for your life, and do it.” At times, that has been easy. He led us to discover a great fascination for beekeeping, which has opened up some amazing opportunities as an avocation. At other times, such as now, it is very difficult. The untimely death of our son a few months ago has left a hole in our hearts that can’t be filled this side of heaven. Without our faith, we would be sunk in despair, but with God’s leading, we will walk through this valley of shadows and rejoice in the memories of the most wonderful result of our marriage—a loving and godly son.
William ('67) and Margaret (Bachman, '67) Reid
Clark graduated in ’64 and Pat prepared for a final exam on their wedding day, June 4, 1966. Clark was employed by the state of PA as an Environmental Protection Specialist. Clark got drafted in May and left for Fort Benning, GA. There was no wedding on June 4.
Six weeks after basic training, we selected a new date: July 12. The airline strike hit and Clark had difficulty getting home. Pat’s sisters couldn’t come to the wedding. Clark’s best man was in a car accident and lost his left eye. Pat’s dad fell 35 ft. off a barn roof and could not walk her down the aisle. The bridge caught on fire across the Beaver River and many of our guests were stuck on the other side of the river. We were married at First Beaver Falls in Darlington, PA July 12.
God has blessed us with 46 years of marriage and degrees from Geneva. Pat taught 30 years in Kansas, Germany, and PA. Clark retired after 38 years with PA, of which 13 were with the Emergency Responders for 5 counties in PA. Our two daughters have been a blessing. Our residence in NC is beside our daughter Penny. Pam resides in Dallas, TX.
I smile when I think of falling in love at Geneva College!
Clark ('64) and Pat ('66) Harris
Mike and I met through a mutual friend in the fall of 2001. We were introduced and became friends at the time we were in our senior year of college. We didn't officially start dating until January of 2002. When Mike first asked me out, I actually told him that I just wanted to be friends, but thankfully through some praying and guidance of a friend, I called him back and said I wanted to give it a chance. Meanwhile, Mike tells me that my saying no to him only made him want to try harder to get me to date him! Anyhow...we had our first official date for Valentine's Day 2002. It didn't take us long to realize that we had found the one that God had intended for us.
We made the best of our time at Geneva and loved to hang out and go for walks and make wonderful memories. After my graduation in May, we continued to date, and I ended up moving down closer to him in Pittsburgh, because I had gotten a job at Sunoco Chemicals in Pittsburgh. Mike finished up his student teaching and graduated, and we continued to grow closer and closer. Then in May of 2003, Mike proposed. We were married on October 4, 2003 in Pittsburgh. We lived on Pittsburgh for about 1.5 years and then moved to Maryland for a year (due to Mike finding a teaching job down there!) and then took a leap of faith and moved to Greenville, PA (my hometown) after Mike taught a year in Maryland. We knew Maryland was not where God wanted us, and we wanted to be closer to family. Mike didn't have a job, and we had no place to live, but we moved back to PA and lived with my parents for a few months. Praise the Lord, Mike found a job and we also found a home!
We have now lived in Greenville going on 6 years now and still love it! We have been blessed with two beautiful daughters (Sarah Abigail who is 7 and in 1st grade and Madison Grace who is 10 months) whom I have gotten to stay home and take care of while Mike is a high school math teacher. We are so blessed and are so blessed that we both ended up at Geneva, so that we could meet!
Mike ('02) and Wendy (Ferguson '02) Mallek
Our Geneva Love Story: Prince Charming and Cindyrella
written in story form by Cindy
Once upon a time, there was a fair maiden, Cindy Smith, who lived in the Kingdom, College de Geneva. She was generally a free-spirited girl with few worries. In early fall, she went to the Ball de Baseball (Pirates Game) with her faithful companions Maid Sarah Provence, Maid Amy Ward, and Sir David McNeil. While they waited for the golden carriage (school bus) to take them to the Ball, Maid Cindy noticed a familiar face from her past, Sir David Schellenberger, a schoolmate from her childhood. She also noticed another young gentleman with him who she knew immediately would have a special place in her life. Eventually, Sir David introduced her to Sir Robert Delmanto, who had recently moved into the Geneva Kingdom. Maid Cindy was smitten immediately by Sir Robert's charm and love for the Lord.
Fall quickly turned to winter, Maid Cindy realized she had more than a friendship with Sir Robert and she thought that he was fond of her as well. They had become close confidants and many thought that they were already courting, since they had been seen together throughout the Kingdom dining with one another, visiting one another, and laughing and talking with one another. It seemed as though they were inseparable.
After returning from the Christmas holiday, Maid Cindy hoped that Sir Robert would speak of his intentions of their relationship. Alas, Sir Robert did not and many of their friends sought to finally bring the two together. Maid Cindy was torn between following the traditional value of the gentleman seeking out and pursuing the young lady, but her friends and Sir Robert's friends decided that it was time to assist them. Maid Amy and Maid Sarah decided to take Maid Cindy's nickname, Cindyrella, and created a plan to send Sir Robert a message indicating Maid Cindy was more than a friend to him. They sent Maid Cindy's silver slipper and a scroll to Sir Robert. The scroll read, "And so the prince sent out a decree saying, 'Every woman in the kingdom must try the shoe,' for he would not rest until he found the girl with the silver slippers." It was signed, "If the shoe fits, Cindyrella."
Maid Cindy anxiously waited for a response from Sir Robert. Two agonizing days passed, and through a mutual friend, Maid Cindy found out that Sir Robert didn't believe that the items had been sent by her. She was astounded and upset, but knew that she would have to talk with Sir Robert. The following day, Maid Cindy and Sir Robert and a group of their friends went to the theater. Sir Robert was quiet but friendly. Maid Cindy knew that she was going to have to address Sir Robert about the items sent to him. She had hoped to do it privately, but Sir Donald Cummings, a mutual friend of theirs, joined them in the carriage ride back into the Kingdom from the theater. (Sir Robert had secretly resolved to not be alone in the carriage with Maid Cindy.) She was deeply hurt and upset that she was not going to be able to
speak with Sir Robert privately. As the gentlemen dropped her off at Young Hall, they told her to have a pleasant evening. She did not reply.
After returning to her room and talking with her friend, Maid Amy, there was a message from Sir Donald and Sir Chad Bond. Maid Cindy was instructed to go to her balcony outside of her room. She questioned them at first, but reluctantly went out onto the balcony and was shocked to hear music playing and Sir Robert standing below on the ground wearing a cape and crown, and with her silver slipper in his hand! Windows were flying open and cheers from all around could be heard from others in the castle and beyond. Speechless, Maid Cindy stood for a moment not knowing what to do or say. Sir Robert, beckoned for her to come down so he could try the silver slipper on her foot. She did, and the slipper fit, of course! From that point on, the two started courting and became even closer friends. After a two year engagement, they were married June 21, 1997.
Bob and Cindy both yearned for someone who loved the Lord and wanted to serve Him. Bob had originally been attending another Christian college in Florida, prior to Geneva, but felt that God had another place for him to be, and Cindy had been praying for God to bring the right young man into her life. They know that God brought them together, and Cindy knew from the moment she saw him, even before speaking to Bob, that they would be married one day! (She didn't want to scare Bob away, so she kept that to herself until after they were engaged!) They have grown more in love over the years, with each other and the Lord. God continues to bless and keep them, and they look forward to many more years together.
Robert ('94) and Cynthia (Smith, '94) Delmanto
John and I met in the fall of 2005, he was a junior and I was a freshman. Today, John likes to tell people I joined the track team just to meet him. Although that detail isn’t true, we did meet while running for Geneva. I remember our first conversation happened one night after practice at the track table in Alex’s. We started dating during the 2000 fall semester.
Our first date was to Sports World in Boardman, Ohio. We have countless memories of the time we dated while at Geneva, walks through Beaver Falls, dates in Pittsburgh, spring break in Gulf Shores, and hanging out on campus are some of our favorites. After John graduated in 2007, he moved to Texas and so began our long distance relationship. My campus mailbox became one of my best friends as I looked forward each day to possibly getting a letter from him!
John proposed on December 30, 2008. I knew he was coming for New Years, but he surprised me by coming a day early and orchestrating a very memorable proposal, which included a personal chauffer, a scavenger hunt and ended with him on one knee.
We got married the summer after I graduated, July 11, 2009, and now live in Texas with our baby girl, Emaleigh. Our life together has been one exciting journey, and we thank the good Lord for giving us each other to enjoy it with!
John (’07) and Deborah (’09) Perkins
André and I first met in Skye Lounge in January of ’98. We were both studying at separate tables, he alone and I with my friends. I was dared by my friends to say hello to André, so I agreed, turned around and said, “You’re André right?” knowing full well of his name. (The girls on my floor and I had been fans of André when he played like a super star on the basketball court.)
He said, “Yes and you’re Audra right?” I almost passed out, because he knew my name! After a Faith and Learning retreat weekend in March, we became fast friends and with the help of a longtime mutual friend, Luke O’Neill, who decided to play matchmaker, André finally decided to ask me out on our first date.
With the help of André’s roommates, ok place our first date took place on May 9, 1998 in downtown Pittsburgh. After a quick bite to eat, we enjoyed The Old Settler at the Public Theater. I could tell André wanted to hold my hand the whole time, but he was too nervous to do so. It wasn’t until after the show on our walk to the car that he held my hand, and it was at that moment I knew André would be my future husband!
We dated long distance that summer as I lived in New Jersey and he in Ohio. We were only at Geneva for one semester as a dating couple, and it seemed to be the talk of that fall semester! We dated for a year and a half and knew God had ordained our relationship with each other.
Proposal: On October 30, 1999, André and I took our youth group to a TRUTH night at Elkorn Valley Christian Service Group in Bergholz, OH. Afte it was over, André asked if we could take a walk. Upon arriving at the top of the hill, a camp fire had been prepared for us. André lit it and we talked. He asked if he could pray, so I said of course! While he was praying, he kept fiddling around in his coat pocket for something. I was trying not to be distracted, but once we said AMEN, I looked up and across the hillside was a cross glowing with fire etched into the mountain, and André was on one knee when I looked down again. He was fiddling to find the call button on a walkie talkie to signal to his friend to light the cross! It was too funny! I of course said YES, and we were married the following September!
I never intended on finding my soul mate at Geneva, but God of course is Sovereign and blessed us with His amazing plans for us!
We have been happily married for 11 and a half years and have two, beautiful children! We have been serving our God in church ministry since we’ve both graduated from Geneva, using all we learned while there! Our time and experience at Geneva will always hold a special place in our hearts, especially since it was the place André and I fell in love!
André (’99) and Audra (Ficacci, ’01) Norman
His side: I was sitting in the Dining Hall, minding my own mashed potatoes, when I saw her enter the room. I remember thinking that she was absolutely the most beautiful person I had ever seen. We became casual friends through mutual companions, but only after I had graduated and was working in the area, did I return to campus and ask her to join me for ice cream, after I finished broadcasting at football game at 10:30 on a Friday night. The rest, as they say, is history.
Her side: Gray Hair and the Bagpiper. It was during the fall of my freshman year at Geneva that I heard from my R.A. that a friend of hers, Tom, who just happened to be an upperclassman, thought I was cute. So, I quietly proceeded to find out more about this guy. One of the things I learned was that he was soon going to be staring in a play at the Bagpiper. I purchased a ticket, and made plans with a friend to go see it. His role was as Willy Loman, in Death of a Salesman. He executed his role superbly! However, it was not only his acting abilities that captivated me, it was his gray hair! You see, for the later part of his role as Willy, he had to have his hair color changed to gray. I saw that gray hair, and I was in love! I know it is a bit odd that as an 18 year old I found gray hair attractive, but God works in mysterious ways! As I look back on that and try to figure out why I found gray hair attractive as an 18 year old, I now realize that many of the Godly male role models in my life were men with beautiful crowns of gray hair. Proverbs 16:31 teaches “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.” As my friend and I walked back to the dorm she asked me what I thought of the play. I remember my exact words “That man will age beautifully!”
Tom and I didn’t start to date until almost 2 years after I saw him in Death of a Salesman. We actually got to know each other on a double date one Friday night at Perkins. (Interestingly enough; I was with another guy-a friend of Tom’s from WGEV-and he had brought another girl.) This was the start of getting to know each other on an informal level. The Lord enabled us to get to know each other casually over the course of a few years, and through some unusual circumstances. We eventually started dating my junior year, and since that time many years ago, the Lord has been the rock and foundation of our relationship, marriage and family. God has graciously given us 23 ½ years of marriage together, and during that time He has even allowed Tom to age into a naturally beautiful shade of gray! Some may think it is due to the years and trials of life, but I can testify that it is because of the righteous life my husband lives. The Lord is slowly giving him a crown of splendor, and I get to enjoy it a little bit more each day. To God be the glory!!
Tom (’86) and Beth Ann (McIlhenny, ’88) Stein
It has been over 50 years, but I can still smell those old chemistry labs at Geneva College.
Sally Ann Brown (yes, the one with the flashing dark eyes and bouncy naturally curly dark hair) was a class cut-up. And she could take it as well as give it. She caught that hair on fire with her lab Bunsen burner (remember them?). Her chem lab-mates quickly doused the blaze in the nearby sink. Later, they put hydrochloric acid in one open beaker in her locker and a strong water/ammonia solution in the next locker. Twenty four hours later she started lab – after scrubbing off a thin layer of ammonium chloride from all the locker lab equipment. She soon learned the joys and simple synthesis of gritty ammonium triiodide. Dr. Charles Fuget, the Geneva P-Chem Prof when hearing yet another crash from his lab, buried his head in his hands and sighed, “What has she done now?”
But for me, it was the poise she showed at the Chemistry Department research seminar on “The Dropping Mercury Electrode in ‘Polarorgraphy’” (with a glitch!) that first really got my attention. But there wasn’t much time. I didn’t date much because was finishing up my own senior research project, taking the now required department comprehensive exams, preparing for final exams and graduation. After a month-long nodding acquaintance, I finally summoned my courage, walked into “the Brig” and asked if she would be my date for the Geneva Spring Formal. She said “Yes” in a minute– and it would be our first and last date on campus.
In those quaint times in the last century, Geneva didn’t have drinking, smoking or dancing— and still doesn't. Spring Formal was a dinner to be followed by a concert, this year featuring the famous Duke Ellington. When Sally stepped out – down to her white gloves– she looked great. The evening moved quickly, the “Duke” got sick and we had a stand-in. We still can't remember who. As I delivered her back to McKee Hall dorm just before the curfew, it had been a magical evening. I found myself saying something original like…
“And just where you have been all my life….” – and getting a most startled look for all my sparkling efforts.
But what I didn’t understand was that God's plan was busy at work.
The next morning I found one of her white gloves on the floor of my car – “Oh! Yes! It was the old white glove trick.” But how was I to know? I returned the glove to her at the McKee lobby saying something like: “This was beginning to feel like a B-grade romance movie.” Sally only smiled and said, “You never know.”
That summer, I was a lab rat summer intern at Gulf Oil in Harmarville, and I learned that Sally Brown lived an hour away. During our summer courtship, we learned that our fathers had the same first and middle names? But then "Elmer Ellsworth" doesn't exactly roll off the tongue! I proposed within ten weeks of that first date— much to the consternation of her parents. After a two year, long distance "engagement" between Pennsylvania and California, Sally graduated from Geneva. We were married eight days later and moved to a new life on the Stanford U. campus in Palo Alto, CA.
Many years later, with the usual ups and downs, two daughters, and two granddaughters– I can’t remember ever being single, and I can't imagine my life without her.
Howard (’62) and Sally (’64) Peters… Also known as Mr. and Mrs. Chocolate!
First met: We first met officially on Friday, March 14, 1969 after noticing each other every day outside the Accounting classroom in the second floor of Old Main. I was across the hall in Advanced Accounting, and Renee was taking the Beginning Accounting class taught by Mr. Mitchell. I waited until Friday morning when I approached her in one of the lounges and introduced myself. We talked for hours and made plans for a date. It was love at first sight for us both.
First date: We went on our first date the next evening, March 15, 1969, and saw the Wrecking Crew with Dean Martin. After the movie, we had pizza at Morell’s in New Brighton, and I brought Renee home. When I picked her up for the date, I thought she had company, but alas, it was just her large family. Renee has five siblings.
I graduated in June and went to work at Babcock and Wilcox in Barberton, Ohio. Renee had to leave school for financial reasons and worked in the Credit Union at St. Joe Lead Company in Monaca. I drove home each and every weekend for a year to be with Renee, and then I was drafted into the Army. After serving for 6 months, I came home on Christmas leave and proposed to Renee in her home, after asking her Dad for her hand in marriage. After a short 30 day leave, I then went to Belgium to work at NATO, and we got married in July of 1971. Renee came to Belgium with me until I served my tour of duty. I returned to B&W where I had a 19 year career and got my masters at Akron University.
Renee went on to finish her degree at LaRoche College and was a teacher for several years. I am still working, although looking forward to retiring, but am enjoying starting and growing life sciences companies in the Pittsburgh area.
Our two children (Joe and Annie) have blessed us with three grandchildren (Raven, Gianna and Inara), soon to be five, and we see them as often as we can.
We pass by the college and drive through the newly configured campus when we can. I was privileged to receive an honorary doctorate in 2011 and was reunited with my classmate, Jerry O’Neil, who also received his honorary doctorate. Clearly, Geneva has played a large part in our lives, and without the commitment to get a solid education at a terrific local Christian college, we would never have met.
John (’69) and Renee (’72) Manzetti
First met: Since both of our last names begin with “W,” we sat beside each other in Dr. George Coleman’s history class in spring 1961 semester. I watched Bill draw cars and planes during the lectures!
First date: After meeting again during fall 1961 semester at the bowling alley in Big Beaver, Bill asked me to go to the Four Freshman Concert in the Fieldhouse.
We dated and became engaged in November 1963 and married on July 11, 1964. Bill worked in accounting for Snodgrass Firm after his graduation in January 1963 and began his career at Babcock and Wilcox in 1966 and ended his career at Rochester Manor & Villa. I began working for the Commonwealth of PA, in the Department of Welfare in 1966 and retired in 1997.
God blessed us with a great son, Greg, who married Leslie Masters, whom he met at Geneva!! We are also blessed with two wonderful grandsons, Jonah and Keegan, who we hope carry on the Geneva College tradition. God works in mysterious ways.
Wilbert (’63) and Janet (Wilma, ’64) Wise
In 1954, we were simply casual, then good friends. Many evenings Miriam (“Mim”), and her three constant girlfriends, would help me with my Spanish in the McCartney Library. I tried to impress them all with fake tripping and corny jokes—not realizing my efforts were centered on Mim. One sunny afternoon on campus, I saw her at a distance walking to the “Brig” where she worked. It hit me like a bolt of lightning! Mim is a very wonderful, sweet person; I think I may love her.
Our first date was to a Beaver Falls High School football game played in Reeves Stadium. I gave Mim the ticket price ($0.25) and I went over the wall. Subsequent dates were shooting rats behind Memorial Hall on the slope down to the river. Mim held the flashlight, and I used the rifle I kept in my dorm room. (Times have changed).
After 55 years of happy marriage, we are still very much a loving, romantic couple. God has blessed us with four “kids” (so far) and each has a spouse we love lots. We also love our 15 living grandchildren, as well as the one we lost.
We are indebted to Geneva for introducing us to each other, for spiritual growth, and for catapulting us to successful careers.
Homer (’57) & Miriam “Mim” (’56) Weaver
I wasn’t really supposed to go to Geneva College—I had never seen the campus, didn’t know anyone there, and just applied as a backup school to my first choice college in Vermont. When I was accepted there, I told Geneva I wouldn’t be coming. Then, just weeks before school began, I was notified Vermont would not take me due to lack of housing—wow! What to do now? Geneva College graciously allowed me to come at the last minute, and I arrived on campus in 1964 as a lonely junior transfer student, who didn’t really know where she fit in. Little did I know that I was right where God wanted me to be and He had life-changing plans in mind.
As an English major, I noticed a tall, skinny, good-looking guy named Jerry in several of my classes. I was also a waitress for the athletes’ training table in the dining room in the basement of McKee Hall, and he turned up there too, with all the other basketball players. We got to know each other pretty well, but he was even shyer than I was, and was not about to ask me out. Finally, Jerry’s friends John Nelson and Larry Matrazzo intervened, and through a little friendly deception, set us up for our first date.
That date was exactly 47 years ago today, February 5th, the day I am writing this account, and we both remember it well. We went to the Penny Carnival at Metheny Fieldhouse, and in the foul-shooting competition he won me a stuffed alligator which we named Edgar Alligator Poe (we were English majors after all!). I even remember what I wore and what we talked about as we walked back through campus. From that night on, we were together most of the time. Our relationship had its rocky moments as we worked through our many differences of background and belief, but our common faith in God and His guiding hand kept us together.
Once again, God had different plans than we did as we came to the end of our senior year. I planned to go to graduate school in Connecticut, and Jerry was looking for a teaching job in Pittsburgh. But, unexpectedly, two English teaching jobs opened up for us at the same school in western New York, so off we went. The school district asked us if we would commit to staying for 2 years, which we did, and 33 years later we were still there. We were married during spring break of our first year of teaching, and within a few years our son and daughter were born. Jerry spent most of his teaching years also coaching basketball at many levels, from fifth grade to Junior College, including coaching several state championship teams.
We often look back and marvel at the ways God has guided and orchestrated our lives. This year, we will be celebrating our 45th anniversary, our daughter and son have married and given us seven wonderful grandchildren, and God’s blessings abound.
Our love story began at Geneva College, and it’s not done yet!
Jerry (’66) & Andrea (’66) Skurcenski
God delivered my soulmate one day in the fall of 1979. I was leaving convocation and saw her walking up the steps in front of the S&E Building. The long, blond hair caught my eye first, then the beautiful smile.
I saw her again a week later on the tennis court and asked her out. Those blue eyes and the cute freckles on her nose turned me into a stammering mess, but she said “yes.” This August, we’ll celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary. She’s an accomplished artist and school teacher, and I’m a successful sports writer whose work has appeared in over 20 publications. We’re marathoners, movie addicts, tennis fans, and best friends.
Sandy is prettier now than she was three decades ago, and though every husband says the same thing about his wife, in this case it’s really true.
I sometimes wonder what might have happened if Geneva didn’t offer the elementary education major she’d sought, or if I’d transferred to another school, as I’d considered doing.
How much less laughter, love, and passion might there have been in both of our lives?
Jeff (’91) & Sandy (McCoy, ’91) Ryan
We first met at our freshman summer orientation, 1987. For Ron, it was love at first sight! We were in the same group of friends as school started. We had different majors but attended the same church. Valerie was content to be friends with Ron, and Skye Lounge was the setting of our many “just friends” talks. Ron continued to be the persistent pursuer.
It was our sophomore year and time for the Christmas formal on the Gateway Clipper in Pittsburgh. Call it a little Christmas magic—or God’s hand(!), but Valerie accepted Ron’s invitation to the formal! It was a magical winter evening. We went home for Christmas break, and Ron’s letters (snail mail!) continued our romance journey forward. It was probably our junior year that we first seriously talked about how Ron’s continuing education and Valerie’s teaching could merge and be part of God’s plan for our lives. This significant chat was over Beef & Cheddars in Arby’s!
Following our engagement that summer, we returned to “the Geneva bubble” for one more year. Our senior year was filled with many nostalgic “lasts” on campus among us, our friends, and professors. We were also planning and anticipating our May 11, 1991 graduation and our wedding day—3 weeks to the date from that!
Fast forward 20 years… we enjoy living on Maryland’s eastern shore with our two children. Valerie home schools Kayla, 12 years, and Luke, 10. Ron, a ’93 graduate of Pitt, practices physical therapy.
How thankful we both are to be Geneva alumni. It’s where we met, received a solid Christ-centered education, made many lasting friendships, and solidified our Judeo-Christian world view.
Ron (’91) & Valerie (’91) Shiderly
First met: We were both sophomores. I was a music major and he majored in economics. We were both taking intermediate Spanish, but not in the same class, though we had the same lab. The professor spoke very little English, and neither of us were doing well in his class. Apparently, he had seen me on campus and wanted to meet me, so one day, while I was studying for the Spanish final at the student center, he sat down beside me and said, “I already took the final.” That definitely got my attention.
First date: We talked a little about the test and then walked out together. I was going back to the music building to practice, and on the way he asked if I wanted to go to the basketball game Saturday night. I had a recital Friday night, so I knew I’d be on campus and I accepted. He told me his first name, but I didn’t get the last name.
A friend of mine came to my recital Friday night and wanted me to go home, but I knew I had a date with someone named “Eric.” I asked some of the girls if they knew where he lived and was told he lived in Northwood, which housed a rather unsavory group of guys. I started having second thoughts about the date but didn’t know his last name, and since there supposedly were two Eric’s who lived there, didn’t want to make a fool out of myself. So, I stayed.
December 10, 1967: We went to the basketball game and then went bowling. I had the best time of my life with this funny, big guy who was a gentleman. And yes, he admitted he was part of that group last year who were summoned in front of the entire college at a kangaroo court at the field house, because they wouldn’t follow the freshman rules. I remembered that day because a group of big guys were forced to pay penance by pretending to dance to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips” and had the crowd in hysterics.
I wore his pin for the next two years. When I returned from a Genevans tour in the spring of 1968, he asked me to marry him. It was at that point that I told him that I was a Christian and I had to make sure that the man I married loved the Lord too. This big man, with tears in his eyes, said he had always wanted to know more about the Lord, and he and I prayed that evening while he gave his life to Christ.
We were married January 25, 1969 and lived off campus while we finished school. The day after we graduated, he had three offers. Two were to prestigious firms, and the third was a draft notice. We spent the next year at Ft. Riley, Kansas. When he was discharged from the army, he made a career and decided to teach school. We both taught for the next 36 years.
We have been married 43 years and were blessed with two beautiful daughters and now have four beautiful grandchildren.
Ah yes, one final note. We both got “D’s” in Spanish… the only “D” of my college life. While he wasn’t able to enlighten me much about passing the final, we still laugh about how “Spanish” brought us together. As I reflect on this extraordinarily special time in my life at Geneva, I realize that the sovereign of the universe was divinely invested in our lives. I married a man who continues to be the love of my life, my best friend, an extraordinary father, and a man who loves the Lord.
The seasons have come and gone, and those memories at Geneva will remain with me forever.
Eric (’69) & Marlene (’69) Rushmore
RuthAnn and I met as freshman, literally over “spilled milk.”
RuthAnn was serving food in the cafeteria, and I was taking care of beverages. After the serving line was closed, it was RuthAnn’s job to prepare the milk dispenser for disassembly. Unbeknownst to me, RuthAnn knew how to perform this job, but she thought that this would be a good opportunity to meet me by asking how to do this task. I, of course, was more than happy to show a pretty girl how to do this simple chore. RuthAnn was a little nervous, and she ended up poking a hole in the five-gallon milk container. Milk started spraying everywhere.
I didn’t think that I would ever see her again, but happily we had our first date soon after. We became college sweethearts and were married after graduation. After 20 years of marriage and four children, our love for each other is more memorable than ever. We are each other’s best friend. “I love you,” is spoken multiple times during the day. We regularly speak the “love language” that resonates deep into each one’s heart.
Dwaine (’91) and RuthAnn (’91) Armentrout
The Geneva Love Story of David Shedd and Lisa Wright began on the second day of our freshman year, when we met on the bench outside of McKee Hall. The Lord brought us together that day and our journey together began.
Following graduation in May 1981, we were married in August 1981. During our 30 years of marriage, we have been richly blessed with two wonderful sons who have brought us much joy. Because of David’s career, we have had the opportunity to live in Costa Rica and Mexico, as well as travel to many areas of the world and now live outside of Washington, D.C.
We are so thankful for Geneva College, not only because it is where God brought us together, but also because we were prepared for our future by the care of those who were in our lives during the time we spent at Geneva.
We thank the Lord for that very special bench outside of McKee Hall.
David (’81) and Lisa (’81) Shedd
Our Valentine’s story starts out on Geneva’s campus and thanking Marilyn LaMantia for insisting that I meet Jim Evans. Even though I was a commuter, I met Marilyn through the Geneva Band in which we both sat by one another playing French Horns. Marilyn lived in McKee Hall and Jim lived in Pearce Hall. Jim played half back for the “G” team, where being in the band we watched him make plays during home games. He was majoring in psychology, and I was in education.
I was encouraged by Marilyn to invite Jim to an orphan’s Christmas party that a Geneva group was sponsoring at the newly built Brig in 1966. Jim and I formally met and shopped for gifts the week before. Then, the evening of the Orphan’s Christmas party, our young lady was a “no show.” Jim asked me to dinner at Bert’s Wooden Indian in Beaver, and thus began our dating.
That spring, we took a sociology class together with Dr. Hedendorf, which was Jim’s junior year and my sophomore year. That September of 1967, I started teaching at St. Mary’s Parochial School at age 20, along with two nuns in a shared departmental division of subjects for students who were fifth and sixth graders. Jim and I became engaged that September and married December 23, 1967. After Jim graduated from Geneva, we lived on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh for his summer research scholarship in psychology at Carnegie Mellon. Fall of 1968, we headed to Iowa State University in Ames, where he completed a master’s degree in counseling psychology. Our daughter Laura was born in June of 1969, and Jim at age 22 returned to Geneva to teach alongside his undergraduate mentor Dr. O.H. Williams for three years. We then returned to Iowa State University for two years while he completed his doctorate degree in experimental psychology.
Our next move would bring us to Saint Charles, Missouri, which is west of Saint Louis. There in 1974, Jim began a long career in psychology at Lindenwood College, that in 1997 became a University. Jim is currently in his sixth year of being Lindenwood’s 21st president. During the early years here at Lindenwood, I completed my bachelor, master’s, and gifted certification in education, taught 30 plus years at the elementary level, and retired from Central Elementary in Saint Charles County. We currently live in a beautiful new president’s residence on LU’s campus. We frequently entertain for various functions at this home. We enjoy being part of this beautiful campus while interacting with students on a daily basis.
I am grateful that Geneva College and Marilyn provided the opportunity to meet a wonderful young man, marry, and continue to share a wonderful life together. Happy Valentine’s month to all of you!
Lois (Palyash, ’65 graduate Northwestern High School) and Jim (’68) Evans
Landon and I met at orientation for the Master of Arts in Higher Education program in August 2003. It was in the President's Dining Room, and when I saw him I thought he was so handsome. He was from Kentucky, and I grew up in Beaver, PA. After orientation, we walked over to pick up our ID cards together. He asked me for my phone number, to carpool, he said, and I actually gave him my number.
We sat beside each other in class every week, and about seven months after we met we began dating. On December 14, at the M.A. in Higher Ed Christmas party, held in the President's Dining Room, Landon proposed. It was after the white elephant gift exchange. He walked toward me with a dozen white roses with orange and white ribbon, and he proposed in front of all our faculty and fellow students. After I said "yes," everyone sang "Silent Night," and we posed in front of the Christmas tree.
On July 23, 2005, we were married in the White Chapel in Old Main. Six years later, we returned to Geneva to teach in the M.A. program, this time with a baby on the way. Our daughter, Caden Hadley, was born August 1, 2011.
Landon and I credit Jerryn Carson and the M.A. in Higher Education program for bringing us together. I am so thankful Jerryn made that recruiting visit to Tennessee, or Landon may have never come up North to find me.
Teresa Clark ('03 B.A., '05 M.A.) and Landon Clark ('05 M.A)
Robin and I meet through a less traditional route.
We both joined the Coalition for Christian Outreach in 1994 and enrolled in the Master of Arts in Higher Education program. We were in the very first class! I was working at Allegheny College, but Robin joined staff at Geneva, and become the Residence Hall Director in McKee.
About a year into work, and the program, Robin and I started dating. In fact, our first "unofficial date" was entering a pumpkin carving contest on campus in 1995, and winning! The price was a gift certificate for a pizza. And so the romance began!
For our first "official" date I came down to campus in February 1996, and Robin showed me all around Beaver Falls. It was a short date! But after that, we were pretty well on a course leading to marriage. I must confess here that our first kiss happened standing at the door to her apartment in McKee that Spring.
In November 1996 I drove down to Geneva with a ring in my hand. It was Thanksgiving morning. I was picking up Robin to taker her to spend the holiday with my family (Robin family lives in Canada.). The truth is that I wasn't planning to ask her to marry me. I had a plan all worked out for Christmas.
But when I arrived, the campus was empty, and we just had our first snow of the year. I knew it was time. I ran down to the sports fields below McKee and walked out in letters as big at the field, "Marry Me."
I ran back up to Robin's apartment, and told her I needed a hand getting some stuff from my car. Though confused, she came down, and when she did I simply said, "What a wonderful view," and walked her to where she could see the field below.
She was genuinely caught off guard. I knelt down and popped the question.
And the rest is 15 years of marriage history.
We graduated from the Masters program May 10, 1997, and were married May 17, at First Presbyterian Church of Meadville, where I worked. With her new Masters degree Robin was hired as one of the Directors of Residence Life at Allegheny College where I did my campus ministry.
George Saylor and Robin Saylor
My wife, Kitty Wasko, and I met at the Geneva library in the Fall of 1967. We were both "researching a project" when we met. She was in high school in Beaver Falls and I was a sophomore at Geneva. Our first date was in my classic 1965 Ford Mustang, we went on a picnic. Three years later, in 1970, we were married. The picture to the right was drawn for our fortieth wedding anniversary in 2010, and shows us dressed for the picnic and in front of the library sitting on my car. A local artist, Gary Means, visited Geneva to draw the background scene for our painting. He then placed us in front of our meeting place as we looked nearly 45 years ago. I graduated from Geneva in 1970 and my wife graduated from Geneva in 1973.
Tom Woodske ('70) and Kitty (Wasko '73) Woodske
I had just finished telling a friend that I wasn't expecting to meet anyone in Geneva's MA in Counseling Program. In orientation (2007), I noticed a tall, attractive guy walk in, but I didn't think too much of it. All of us students were then asked to introduce and say something about ourselves. Next, we were asked to sit according to programs and we both happened to be pursing Mental Health Counseling. He turned to me and said, "So you play softball?" And I said "Yeah, and basketball, too." He said "I played point guard in college." I responded, "me too." That was about it! We talked so much that our colleagues thought we already knew each other. Later, Dave had expressed he had spotted me wallking across campus just prior to orientation and had hoped I was in the program.
Anyways, by the end of the year we were seriously dating, a year after that we were planning our wedding and entering a doctoral program in psychology together. We were married in Jamaica on October 17th, 2010. We are both so grateful for our academic experience at Geneva as well as our opportunity to find lasting love.
P.S. I have kept my maiden name and he was extremely supportive of this decision :) Bridget Beachy, BS Psychology '07; MA Mental Health Counseling '09 & David Bauman MA Mental Health Counseling
Bridget Beachy and David Bauman
Mike and I met at orientation the summer before we started college. We had our ID pictures taken at the same time since our last names both began with K. We spent the whole weekend of orientation together with his cousin Tim Bair and my friend from High school, Ken Hutchison. Ken and Tim became best friends too and have been friends ever since. On the day I moved into McKee hall "Hutch" helped me. When Hutch went to find his room he was roommates with with Mike. Mike asked him "did Nancy come to Geneva?" and Ken said "yes and I know exactly where she is"....Mike came to see me that first day of school.We have been together since we were 17,and 18 years old. Dean Smith married us 33 years ago.
Nancy Knight Krick '78 and Michael Krick '79
Vernon and I started and graduated Geneva at the same time. He lived in Old North Hall and I worked in the News Bureau (public relations), which was in the Tower Room of the Library. The two buildings were separated by a court and my typewriter was in front of the window that looked right into the room he lived in, North Hall. I couldn’t help but notice the guy that lived in that room. And I liked what I saw.
I didn’t even know his name, but he dated a high school friend of mine during that year. I was going with a guy from Pitt. His best friend was my chem. lab assistant, and Vern told him he was going to date me. His friend told him not to bother, he had tried but I was going with the Pitt guy every weekend.
Well, I got tired of the Pitt guy. One Saturday after the first spring semester, I was crossing the campus after a late final exam and he was hosing off the porch of Old North Hall. He threatened to wet me down and we joked a little and I went on.
The next weekend, he called late for a date. I didn’t like that, so I told him I had plans. I did have plans, but not a date. The following week he called early and we went to a movie. After a few more dates, it was “steady.” Probably the clincher was that he helped me get through an Organic Chemistry class in the summer! He was a Navy vet and I liked his maturity and desire for an education.
After graduation, he started his master’s in Charlottesville, VA and I did a year’s internship at a hospital in Akron, OH to be a nationally certified med tech. After a year apart, we knew we were meant to be together. We never discussed “if” we would marry, but “when.” We were married that summer in time to live in Charlottesville to finish his degree, while I worked at the U. of VA Hospital as a med tech.
I think we both got what we wanted. After two and a half years of dating, we were married for 56 years until his death. And we raised two great children. He was a loving husband and a great “daddy.”
Jane Smith ’49
We went on our first date on October 1, 1966 to a movie in downtown Beaver Falls. We became better acquainted that fall, because we were in the same debate class and scheduled to debate each other. Paul won that particular debate hands down, although he claims he has never won another through the years. Who really won that day? Could it be debated?
Shortly after Joy’s graduation in June of 1968, we were married. Later that summer, Paul accepted a position in the Alumni Department where he served until 1976. During his tenure with Geneva, he also taught communication and coached the baseball team for a few years. He left Geneva to begin what became a 28 year career in banking as a Vice President and Human Resource Specialist. By the time Paul left Geneva, Joy was teaching part-time in the Communication Department. In 1985 she became full-time in the area of Student Development.
Our marriage has been blessed with three children (Christy, Todd and Jonathan), and six grandchildren (Juliana, Braden, Ava Rose, Christian, MacKenzee and Austin).
We loved having the opportunity to serve the students of Geneva College, until Joy retired as Dean of Students, Emeritus in 2008. We now live in Erie, PA and are busy with family activities and doing volunteer work at Hamot Hospital. We’ve been very blessed to have met and fallen in love at Geneva College. God has been good to us. Thanks be to God.
Paul ('67) and Joy ('68) Jewell
As sophomores. I added him on Facebook because I thought he was cute, but I had never met him before. We met for the first time on a Thursday night after he messaged me (during his night class) and asked if I wanted to go to Taco Bell with him. Turns out we shared a passion for knock-off Mexican food.
In August 2010, we took a trip to Niagara Falls and Zach proposed under a tree overlooking the water. Within weeks of meeting, we knew we had each found “the one”… although he claims to have known the minute he saw me.
When I started Geneva, I heard all about “ring by spring” and getting your “M.R.S” degree, but I laughed it off and said that would never be me. However, God had a different plan in mind— and like always— it was much better than I could have ever imagined. Within days of meeting Zach, I knew I was hooked. He wasn’t the type of guy I usually went for, but something (or Someone) kept us together. We were blessed with opportunities to travel with Geneva to four different countries (including the Israel trip) while we were in school and made many lasting memories together. We had each other through the changes that come with growing up, and while embarking into life after college. Looking back, I know for a fact that God brought Zach into my life to keep me grounded and give me support during a few rough years in my life. He is a strong, compassionate and godly young man who can make me laugh like no other. Without Geneva, we would not have met. God used this school to mold us in so many ways and prepare us for a lifetime together. Geneva will always have a special place in our hearts, because it is where our love story began.
Zach ('11) and Kathryn ('11) Watt
He was a junior, I was a freshman, and we met during orientation. We both served on Geneva College Student Union and when Homecoming came around, he (slyly) chose to work the t-shirt table with me, and we had our first real conversation. After, he asked me to go on a walk with him, and we walked for 3 hours.
In the summer of 2011, I went to Rome to work as Dr. Cole’s assistant in our Semester in Rome program. Ben came over to visit for my last two weeks there. We found a secluded fountain in Sienna, Italy and began talking about our future. Ben said, “Maybe we can come back here to celebrate our anniversary, but we don’t have an anniversary yet.” That was when I realized what was about to happen. He slowly pulled his arm from around me and reached into his pocket. On his knee, he asked, “Kylie Maeve Gardner, will you marry me?” I said yes. It was perfect. We are excited for what God has in store for our future.
Our story is a little crazy and totally God-planned. I never anticipated dating someone four days after our first real conversation, but God was working in ways that made no sense to me, which now make all the sense in the world to us. Geneva will forever be a special place in our hearts. Ben wants to be married at Reeves Stadium…We will see about that.
Ben Gibbons ('11) and Kylie Gardner ('12)
Inclusion of all items in Geneva Love Stories is up to the discretion of Geneva College, in accordance with the Community Standards of the institution.
Geneva College was selected to join the Undergraduate Microbial Genome Annotation Program, an initiative of the Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute (JGI).