How we met: professors tell their love stories
Two people make eye contact from across the room at a party. It’s love at first sight. They find each other after the party is over and talk for hours, as if they have known each other for years. Six months later, they wed.
It would be great if all relationships were this magical, but unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case: many couples have to endure years of waiting before their nuptials become a reality.
Some of our very own professors took the time to attest to this fact and share the stories of how they met their spouses. Although not every tale is picture-perfect, you’ll notice one attribute that is consistent across their respective histories-a very happy ending.
Richard Rochberg is a professor of mathematics in the School of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife Nanette met while Richard was in graduate school at Harvard University and Nanette was an undergraduate at Brandeis University.
Richard’s roommate was dating Nanette’s suitemate at the time, and she thought that Richard and Nanette should meet. So, Nanette’s suitemate arranged for both Richard and Nanette to get invited to and attend the birthday party of a mutual friend. It turned out that neither Richard nor Nanette enjoyed dancing, so they ended up sitting on the side of the dance floor, talking for the whole evening.
They hit it off and had a great time but didn’t start dating right away since they were both already in committed relationships. As their other relationships started to fade, Richard and Nanette grew closer and closer, until they finally got into an official relationship. Richard met Nanette in February 1967 and married her in December 1968.
Perhaps this is evidence that not all setups are doomed to fail-Richard and Nanette have been happily married for almost 30 years and will always be grateful for their friends who introduced them.
Brett Hyde is an assistant professor of philosophy and philosophy-neuroscience-psychology. His wife, Aurea Silva, originally lived in Mexico City. He met her when they were both working in the sunny state of Florida.
Their meeting was brief, and soon thereafter Aurea went back to Mexico City, and Brett went off to school. Seven years passed with no communication between them.
Then, Aurea went to visit some friends who lived in Salt Lake City-Brett’s home at the time. She gave Brett a call the day before she left Salt Lake City, and since her departure flight was so soon, he offered to drive her to the airport-this was the only time he would be able to see her, considering both of them had busy schedules.
This time, after Aurea flew back to Mexico City, Brett made an effort to keep in contact with her through daily phone calls and letters. The long distance between them did not halt their relationship: they got married six months later and have been going strong for over ten years.
Ryan Shirey is a postdoctoral lecturer in English. He met his wife Aimee when they were both pursuing dual-degree music and English majors at Albion College, a small liberal arts college in Michigan. Ryan met Aimee on a symphonic band tour over winter break. In the beginning, they were barely even friends because they had no classes together. Luckily, since they shared mutual friends, they started seeing each other more and more often. They started casually dating March of their freshman year-just a date here and there-and with time, this casual relationship developed into a serious one. Ryan dated Aimee all throughout college and asked for her hand at the end of their senior year.
Assistant Professor Tili Boon Cuillé teaches in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature. Her husband, Lionel Cuillé, a lecturer in the same department, is originally from France. When Lionel decided to study at the University of Pennsylvania as an exchange student, he arranged to rent an apartment belonging to one of Tili’s friends (Tili was living in Philadelphia at the time). Tili’s friend sent Lionel the keys overseas, but they got lost in the mail, so she called a friend in France to help out. This friend in turn asked Tili to pick up a second set of keys.
Tili met Lionel for the first time when she gave him the keys to the fated apartment.
They quickly bonded over two French texts, Denis Diderot’s “Le Neveu de Rameau” and “A Rebours” by Joris-Karl Huysmans. Tili could only spend a couple of months with Lionel in the States before leaving to study in France through an exchange program, but those few months were long enough for the pair to develop a relationship. Tili and Lionel kept in touch while apart and spent the two years after their respective exchange programs living together, splitting their time between the States and France. They returned to the U.S. to get married in 2000 and have been working at Washington University since 2002. The couple lives on campus in the William Greenleaf Elliot residential college along with their daughter Elena. They are quite grateful to be living on the same continent as one another and are very much in love.
“Any of my friends could have seen him first, but I was the lucky one,” said Tili.
Lionel’s version of this international love story?
“I got out of the taxi, opened the door of the apartment building and married the first girl I met,” said Lionel.
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