Centrepiece Online | Summer 2012
The Marrying Kind
Alumni take the Centre Connection to the altar
It’s not your imagination. The Centrepiece does run a lot of double alum wedding photos. According to a 2009 survey by sociologist Beau Weston, about a fifth of those who have graduated since the early 1990s have married other alumni. Another five percent marry someone with a Centre connection.
College chaplain and religion professor Rick Axtell suggests one theory for the attraction: studying abroad together. “It says something about the close relationships that can develop during these programs,” he observes, noting that four couples of the 15 double-alum ceremonies he has performed “got together or cemented their relationships on overseas trips.”
The alumni office reports 19 percent of all living alumni are currently married to other alumni, confirming Weston’s survey results. Among married alums (not all alums), the percentage of Centre pairs soars to 31.7 percent. In total, nearly 40 percent of married alumni chose one of their Centre kind for their trip down the aisle.
George and Zan Gray Edmiston ’51 and ’50
Married: June 12, 1951
Whose story was inevitable
Zan: We met in the fall of 1947. I was president of the sophomore women’s class, and it was part of the president’s job to go through freshman orientation. I was herding in the freshmen girls, telling them where to sit on the men’s campus at the convocation.
George: I was sitting with my roommates Robert Anderson ’51 and Beano Hoffman ’51 at the freshman convocation. I heard this voice saying, “All right, girls, come on, get in here now,” and I turned around to see this beautiful red-headed girl shepherding the whole group of freshmen girls to their seats. She so impressed me with her mannerisms and the way she could control the situation—and I liked her looks, by the way—that I turned to Robert and said, “I’m going to meet her and marry that girl.”
“No you won’t,” he said.
And I said, “Yes I am. I’m going to marry that girl.”
Zan: The next night, over on the women’s campus, was a freshmen mixer. So I am dancing with my date that night, and this tall fellow cut in on me and introduced himself. At that time, he told me that he was a veteran. A lot of the veterans were coming in on the GI bill. He was was tall and good looking, and I thought, “Wow!”
George: She was out in the middle of the floor, dancing and having a big time. I cut right in on her and showed her a few quick steps from Florida, where I was from. She was a pretty good dancer. That was the whole first and second night, and then I asked her for a date.
Zan: We started dating, but not steadily; I dated other people and he dated other people, which was a good thing. One day when he was a sophomore and I was a junior, we went to what we called the Hangout. He had to go to class and he said, “Here is my wallet; will you pay for these Cokes?” When I went to pay, I saw his driver’s license, and he was a year younger than I was. He said, “You would not have dated me if you had known I was a year younger,” and that’s probably true. So we broke up.
George: They had all these returning servicemen there. And everywhere you looked they were 24, 25 years old. They were very suave. They had money in their pockets. I was just a 17-year-old kid and had no money in my pocket and no experience fighting for our country. Of course I’m not going to let all these servicemen get the better of me.
Zan: But you know, Centre was so small and I saw him every day. Plus he and four of his fraternity brothers got the apartment that was right down there on Lexington Avenue across from our door [on the old women’s campus]. But then George wanted to play football for Florida State, so he transferred his junior and senior year. And by that time we were back together, so I transferred to Florida State, too.
George: As I told Robert, I was going to marry that girl. It didn’t matter how many dates we had or did not have. We were going to get married. And so we did in 1951.
Zan: You know the little saying, those who pray together stay together? We feel that way. We have had a lot in common and feel the same way about things. We have been very blessed in that area.
George: We had a goal of having a good family, and trying to do some good work in the community, and serving the Lord the best we could. We got married early, and I’m glad we did. It was 61 years in June.
Dave and Victoria Gregoriades Watkins ’96 and ’95
Married: June 14, 1997
Whose story includes the old beech tree outside Young Hall
Dave and I met in 1992 for the first time when he was a prospective student visiting Centre and I was a sophomore. When he came to Centre that next fall, we reconnected, but I went off to Strasbourg in the winter term and did not see him until summer. However, we corresponded over the course of my study abroad, and upon returning to the U.S. that summer I called him up as he was the only person I knew in Louisville. (I had moved from Greece in 1991, and all my Centre friends lived outside of Louisville. Plus I thought he was cute.) We went out every night for the whole summer after that phone call except for one night when I was in a wedding! The rest is history. We dated the rest of both our Centre careers. I graduated in 1995, stayed in Danville, and subbed in the school system, while he completed his senior year in 1996. We got married in 1997, and this summer is our 15-year anniversary! We have two kids, Madison (10), who already wants to be a Colonel, and Luke (5).
—Victoria Gregoriades Watkins ’95
Matt and Carmel Herde Bowman ’84 and ’84
Married: May 25, 1985
Whose story started with the last used Spanish textbook
I was a destitute college student. In my junior year, I convinced Professor Vivana Brody and Dean Len DiLillo to let me go on the winter term trip to Spain in exchange for being Professor Brody’s gofer, luggage toter, and all-around errand boy. That work-study arrangement and a “special scholarship” from an anonymous donor got me into the class and a plane ticket—but I could not really afford the textbook.
I kept putting off buying the textbook, thinking that I could fake it, but as the classes before the trip started, I realized that I would soon be lost on the plains of La Mancha in Professor Brody’s class without the text. I finally determined that I would have to break down and buy the book. I headed to the bookstore located then on the second floor of the Carnegie Library and began to search for the book. As I located the shelf with the new expensive textbooks for the class, I noticed a single used textbook on the shelf below. I reached for the book and found another hand quickly placed upon it. Actually, we still debate over whether I grabbed the book first. In any event, it turned out that Carmel Herde was as poor as I and had the same desire to buy the last used textbook. We decided then and there to share the cost and use of the textbook.
Twenty-seven wonderful years of marriage, four super kids, and several gray hairs later, I am still amazed at how lucky I was to be so poor at Centre because it now makes me the richest guy on earth.
We spent a lot of time studying together using the textbook both before and during the trip to Spain—despite the fact that Carmel’s then-boyfriend was also on the trip to Spain. When we returned to campus, I found reasons to spend more and more time at the Hillside House where Carmel lived, and we began long walks around town with occasional late-night stops at Spivey’s down by the train tracks to share a plate of fries. Our first kiss was in the first-floor stairwell at Breck Hall. Although it was almost 30 years ago, I still remember it as vividly as if it just happened.
Carmel says she picked me out as husband material during our freshman year; however, I thought Carmel was one of those girls who was out of my league. I had a long list of out-of-my-league girls. It wasn’t until we got back from Spain that I thought I might have a chance.
Our secret to happily ever after? Holding hands. We like to reach for each other’s hand wherever we go. You can communicate so much love and caring with a touch of a hand.
—Matt Bowman ’84
Brian and Alysson Ramsay Reynolds ’97 and ’95
Married: July 11, 1998
Whose story features two sides—just like life
Alysson’s take: Brian and I met his freshman year and my junior year when he was moving into Nevin. The next year I was in the Sigma Chi house on a Saturday night, and a few people were playing Ping Pong. I asked Brian if he wanted to play, and we spent that evening playing Ping Pong and talking. We started spending time together at the Sigma Chi house, and Brian asked me out for our first date over winter break. We went to dinner and saw a movie in Lexington. We spent the rest of the year dating and spending most of our time on campus and at the Sigma Chi house. I graduated in June, and we continued to date for three years. Brian asked me to marry him the December after he graduated.
I do not think it was love at first sight—crush at first sight maybe. I would say that our love was more of a quick evolution over those first few months of dating at Centre. We have been married now for almost 14 years. I think the secret to happily ever after comes from good communication both before and after we got married and from having the same values and goals.
Brian’s take: We met at the Sigma Chi house. We courted at the Sigma Chi house. I thought she was hot at first sight, but it was not necessarily love at first sight. It did not take too terribly long, though. The secret to happily ever after is she has seen me at my absolute utmost dumb***ness, knew what she was getting into, and signed on anyway. Just seems to work.
Adam Johnson ’97 and Krista Rinehart ’99
Married: July 30, 2005
Whose story is a set-up
We actually met after college. I was working in the area, and Adam came back to work at Centre’s Alumni House in the fall of 2002. Some mutual Centre friends—Mary Quinn Kerbaugh Ramer ’98 and Jessica Coleman Hastings ’97—conspired to get us together with shenanigans that included forming a book club and a road trip to an Ole Miss-Georgia football game. Various group events slowly morphed into “just the two of us” movies and dates.
There was a definite connection from the beginning—we had a lot of fun together and could easily make each other laugh, but there was no fairy tale instant love connection. We just found ourselves spending more and more time together and the initial friendship deepened into something more.
Patience is definitely a key, especially now that we have our daughter, Campbell (5). We’ve managed to strike a good balance between the “us” and “me” of a relationship. We’re both pretty independent people, and we don’t share all of the same hobbies and interests, but we’ve managed to allow each other to remain individuals and do our own thing while also staying connected as a couple. Communication is a big key. It’s something we continually have to work on, but with both of us on the go a lot for our jobs and with a busy kid, it’s essential! Finally, we try to keep the sense of humor that brought us together to begin with. Campbell is a very funny, entertaining child, so she helps out a lot in this department.
—Krista Rinehart ’99
Sunflowers and sunny days ahead for Jake and Leslie Hast Hill ’08
Jake and Leslie Hast Hill ’08 and’08
Married: June 19, 2010
Whose story involves lots of packing
I went to Daviess County Middle School and Jake went to College View Middle School, both in Owensboro, and the French and Spanish clubs at each school joined to offer a trip to Paris and Madrid. This was July 2000, the summer before we went to high school. Neither of us really made an impression on the other, definitely not love at first sight, but we were excited to meet future high school classmates.
Because our last names started with H, we ended up in the same advocate group, kind of like homeroom, and we grew to be very good friends during high school. I decided on Centre first and was elated when Jake ditched Wake Forest to be a Colonel, too. We spent nearly all of our time together the summer before we came to campus, but were hesitant to make too much of a commitment. We’d be meeting so many new people, I thought why be nailed down to one? But once on campus, we were inseparable. My Cheek 3 hall mates were constantly trying to figure out our relationship status. I think we finally came around at the end of freshman year, when we found out we’d be studying in London together the following spring semester. Our travels continued!
I think most people expected us to get married after graduation, but we weren’t quite ready. Jake decided to join Teach for America and moved to McAllen, Texas, teaching in a school four miles from the Mexican border, and I accepted an internship in the news and communications office at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. We tried dating long distance, and I think it made all the difference in our relationship. Having two years to live on my own convinced me that I wanted to be with Jake for the rest of my life, no question.
He proposed in April 2009, and we decided to get married after he finished his TFA commitment in June 2010. I had always assumed I would get married in my church in Owensboro—four generations of my family had attended there after all—but Jake lobbied hard for the Presbyterian Church in Danville. I eventually came around, and I’m so glad I did. The church had become a special place for us as we attended (and I played cello for) Get Centred services, and we came to know its pastor, Rev. Stewart. Dr. Rick Axtell had always been a great mentor for Jake, and I got to know him in Poverty & Homelessness class and knew he would make a special officiant. And everyone in our wedding party was a Centre student, except Jake’s brother. Jake even wanted the Centre seal on his groom’s cake. Truly a Centre wedding.
I love that the first time we met was on a trip, because traveling has been such a strong part of our relationship, and Dr. Axtell even chose that as the theme for our wedding ceremony. We studied in London for a semester in 2006, and travelled the continent together afterwards. We also did CentreTerm in India together and visited Japan and New Zealand after graduation. And we constantly talk about future travels—Brazil for the 2016 Olympics, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, African safari, Machu Picchu, Germany, Ireland. I think our secret to happily ever after is that we were friends first. Jake is truly my best friend, and I’m happy to know he always will be! He’s the only person that I could ever imagine spending two weeks with, driving over 2,000 kilometers in a tiny rental car with no working radio on winding New Zealand roads. That to me is true love!
—Leslie Hast Hill ’08
Chris O’Bryan ’96 and Jacqueline Coleman ’04
Married: May 7, 2011
Whose story is a slam dunk
We have come to find that we have crossed paths many times in our lives without actually realizing it until we started dating. The first time we took notice of one another was at the Kentucky 46th District basketball meeting in 2009. Chris was the boys’ coach at East Jessamine High School, and I was the girls’ coach at Burgin High School. We became friends, and when I accepted a job at East Jessamine, we became co-workers as well. Our friendship grew into a courtship within the year.
Since we taught in the same school and coached the same sport, we developed a mutual group of friends and began spending more and more time together throughout the year. For the first time, it seemed we had both finally met someone who understood the time constraints, frustrations, and the importance of personal victories in coaching.
It was love at first sight for Chris, but I needed some convincing. Luckily, Chris is a very convincing person.
Our friendship definitely helped build the foundation of our relationship. It takes quite a bit of communication—and even more compromise—and we are still learning about the importance of balance every day.
—Jacqueline Coleman ’04
Jay and Bethany Wilson Carnes ’07 and ’08
Married: Oct. 29, 2011
Whose story still includes pancakes
Where did you meet?
We can’t pinpoint exactly one moment where we first met. It was likely at a Centre Christian Fellowship gathering on campus in 2004, Bethany’s freshman year.
Where did you court?
J: Some would say our relationship started at Pancake Fridays, a weekly breakfast I hosted for friends during 2007-08 while working at Centre as the student life intern.
B: I would say he was oblivious at that point.
J: Although we spent much time together watching Redbox movies during Bethany’s senior year, it was when Bethany moved to Louisville to begin medical school in 2008 that I finally got a clue. For our first date we returned to Danville for a show at the Norton Center (Thursday, Dec. 4, 2008: The King’s Singers. Excellent show). Over the next two years, I moved to Lexington for graduate school and traveled many miles on I-64 back and forth to visit. With the help of some dear friends and Centre alums, on Oct. 30, 2010, I sent Bethany on a scavenger hunt around Nashville (her hometown) and proposed at Radnor Lake.
Was it love at first sight or more an evolution?
Clearly it wasn’t love at first sight since neither of us remember our first time seeing the other. What began as friendship evolved into much more over four years. We agree that the most important part of our relationship was having a solid friendship as a foundation.
What’s your secret to happily ever after?
Being best friends allows us to celebrate our achievements, enjoy our respective quirks, admit our faults and ask for forgiveness, and look forward to Centre’s 250th anniversary together. And we still make pancakes once a week.
Vol.53, No. 2
In this issue
- Faculty Conversations: Jane Wilson Joyce and Vince DiMartino
- Congratulations, Graduate. Now What?
- Ormond Beatty-1835
- Endpiece: Everything I Need to Know about Poker I Learned at Centre
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- Endpiece Guidelines
- Photo Guidelines
- Submit an Address Change
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- Books by Alumni
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