Published on 14 February 2020
Whether it be common interests, a mutual drive for excellence or the special bond of a unified experience, generations of St. Louis College of Pharmacy students and alumni have met and fallen in love. Some knew as soon as they met during freshman year that they would be together, while others didn’t connect until long after graduation. No matter their circumstances, they all have one thing in common – their experiences at the College.
At the College, we treasure the fact that so many of our alumni have connected and found happiness through the College, and to celebrate the special bonds that these couples share, the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Alumni Association created the Alumni Couples Club.
This Valentine’s Day, we’re highlighting some of the many romantic memories and stories alumni couples in the club have shared.
Jeffry, B.S ’84, and Julie (Thor), B.S. ’86, Szymczak
Jeffry and Julie met in the Rabe Hall laundry room, and she made such an impression on him that he went to great lengths to track her down after their meeting.
“While I didn’t know it at the time, I met the love of my life while doing laundry,” Jeffry explained. “We talked in the laundry room, and after she left, I realized I didn't even know her name! So I got her name and room number from the apartment manager, and then made up the excuse that she had left a piece of laundry that I needed to return. When she answered the door, I asked her to dinner at the old St. Louis Pizza Co., and the rest is STLCOP history.”
One of their favorite College memories was the graduation of their son, Justin Szymczak, Pharm.D. ’16.
Adam, Pharm.D. ’06, and Jennifer (Williams), Pharm.D. ’08, Riney
The College holds a special place in Adam and Jennifer’s hearts and served as the backdrop for a very special moment in their lives.
“We actually got engaged at the College,” Jennifer stated. “Jim Heil, the College’s administrative assistant, did one of his famous caricatures of us as a couple. When Jim turned the picture around, I was surprised to see that it was of Adam down on one knee. When I turned around, Adam was actually kneeling with a ring!”
Kevin, Pharm.D. ’13, and Kristen (Komaiko), Pharm.D. ’07, Niedbalski
Like some alumni couples, Kevin and Kristen didn’t even meet until years after graduating from the College.
“We met in Sikeston, Missouri, while I was doing my residency in Charleston, Missouri,” Kristen stated. “It was by complete chance that we came together so long after graduation.”
Christopher, Pharm.D. ’10, and K. Grace (Brenner), Pharm.D. ’10, Koentz
Christopher and Kathryn met when they were paired up as lab partners during their second year at the College. They began dating the following year but tried to keep it a secret as long as they could.
“Campus was a tight-knit community and rumors and truths would spread quickly,” Koentz said. “Because of this, we would not hold hands on campus. Sometimes, we would even walk all the way to school together and then walk apart as soon as we reached campus. I am not sure if we fooled anyone though.”
Nicholas, Pharm.D. ’14, and Brigid (Wendle), Pharm.D. ’14, Farrar
Nicholas and Brigid met while sitting next to each other in Wheatley Auditorium, when they were told they would need partners for Ready Readers, an organization that helps preschool-aged children living in low-income communities become readers through the work of volunteers who read aloud to them. The organization also offers literacy-related experiences.
“I asked Nicholas to be my partner, since I figured he would do what I say and that we'd get an A, which we did,” Brigid joked. “We have great memories from that entire year of Ready Readers. During our visits, we became friends with each other as well as with the kids we would read to. He always says that he was in love with me for a year before we finally started dating.”
Eric, B.S. ’82, and Cathy (Atherton), B.S.’83, Robbins
Eric and Cathy met while living in the dorm and have been married for 35 years. They continue to be connected to the College through their son, daughter and daughter-in-law, who are all pharmacists and fellow alumni of the College.
“Since we had mutual friends, we were frequently running into each other,” Robbins stated. “By the spring of that first year, we were smitten and have been a couple ever since. We loved to take long walks around campus and the surrounding area, make late-night runs to Uncle Bill's Pancake House, and share meals at the dorm, which actually had good food!”
These stories were shared by members of the alumni community who have signed up to participate in the Alumni Couples Club. As part of the program, couples receive special communications on their anniversary and Valentine’s Day, as well as special promotions, prizes and gifts.
To find out more about this unique group, visit stlcop.edu/alumni.
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