During their time at the University of Virginia, students forge many connections that will play an important role in their lives, from professors who become mentors to hallmates who become lifelong friends. Some students also meet their future spouse. In fact, at last count, 27,410 UVA alumni were married to fellow Wahoos.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we collected some of those love stories via social media using the hashtag #UVALoveStory. Alumni recounted tales of first dates on the Corner, elaborate engagement surprises plotted on the Lawn and weddings at the UVA Chapel, which averages about 100 weddings per year, with about three or four weddings held on a typical Saturday.
UVA played a role in each of these couples’ stories, and evidence also suggests that the education they received here could contribute to the longevity of their marriage. Last year, economics professor Steven Stern and economics and public policy associate professor Leora Friedberg earned press attention for a study that displayed empirical evidence of love, rare among researchers who study such intangible emotions. That same study, published in November 2014 in the International Economic Review, indicated that couples with college degrees were likely to report greater happiness in their marriage.
“The effect of having a college degree, relative to not completing high school, is to move someone 18 percent of the way from having a happy marriage to having a much happier marriage,” Friedberg wrote in an email, calling the impact “modest” but present in the data.
An additional study from the Darden School of Business shows that the positive effects of a good match can extend to those of us who like to play Cupid. Lalin Anik, an assistant professor at Darden, found that chronic matchmakers were happier with their lives, even after she and co-author Michael Norton controlled for personality type and other factors.
“Creating successful, thoughtful matches for others makes us happier,” Anik said, pointing out that her premise holds true for professional and social connections as well as romantic ones. “Matchmaking is a social lubricant. It makes our social networks denser, our communities closer.”
The UVA community – and the Charlottesville community – certainly has no shortage of weddings. Couples celebrate their love at the Chapel, Alumni Hall, the Colonnade Club or other Lawn pavilions, or at one of the hundreds of wedding venues available in Charlottesville, which sits at the heart of a Central Virginia wedding industry that generates millions in economic impact each year.
Pictured in the header image: Nitin and Anjali Patel (both CLAS ’05), Patricia and Flip Hicks (Law ’52, CLAS ’48), Stephanie Glover (CLAS ’08, McIntire ’09, Curry ’13) and fiancé Tom Keller.
There are plenty of UVA love stories to choose from. Take a look at some of our favorites below.
Kathryn Giglio and Joshua Bland
“I proposed to my long-time girlfriend, Kathryn Giglio, on October 16, 2015, in the most unlikely of places on Grounds. As Orientation Leaders, we met and spent an entire summer in Hereford together. Symbolically this was where our relationship started and really took off. As RAs in Gooch and Dillard, we often walked the trail behind dorms to Runk together for lunch and/or dinner dates my fourth year. We even went back to the trail several times during our year of long-distance (Kathryn was NURS ’14 and I was CLAS ’13).
I decided no better place to officially cement our relationship than the place where it all began. In an attempt to be somewhat original and creative, I proposed at the top of the steps between the Runk trail and Hereford field after a dinner downtown at Hamilton’s!” - Joshua Bland
Peter Pak and Hanna Oh
Malcolm Brogdon and Victoria Janowski
David Parker and Lindsey Long
William and Donna Creech
Katlyn and Philip Williamson
Kent Piacenti and Chase Cooper
UVA Law School alumni Kent Piacenti and Chase Cooper graduated in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Their UVA Law Groomsmaids included Ashley Brown (2012), Sarah Johns (2012), and Maury Riggan (2013). Their dog, Celexa Cooper-Piacenti, was UVA Law Paw Review Champion in 2013.
Thanks to all who submitted!