|Students in love seal their fate
RELEASED: Feb. 13, 2003
DANVILLE, KYThe Centre College seal in front of Old Centre isn't your generic, largely ignored college emblem.
To some, it's known as a symbol of Centre's commitment to education. To others, it has Cupid-like powers.
And the brass seal gets plenty of traffic around Valentine's Day.
"We were told if you kiss on the seal, you'll stay together forever," said senior Robert Lidowski, who kissed his fiancée, senior Heather Hayden, on the seal their freshman year.
According to Lidowski and campus legend, when a couple kisses on the seal "it's an unspoken promise to each other" (that you'll marry after graduation) because the seal represents a commitment. The tradition is for students to kiss at midnight standing over the seal.
"The seal provides a tangible symbol for things that can be easily felt, but not always easily communicated," Hayden said. "It's also a nice tradition to have fun with."
Centre graduates Herb '97 and Emily Stapleton '98 married after kissing at the seal.
"The tradition is that if a couple kisses on the seal of Old Centre, they'll be married and will have a long and happy marriage," Emily says. "I really don't know how we knew the tradition. It's like much other Centre folklore, it's been passed down through the generations."
It's not uncommon for Centre students to tie the knot. According to research by Beau Weston, associate professor of sociology at the College, there are 780 married alumni couples. That means 1,560 individuals out of 10,840 living alumni marry a fellow studentmore than one in every seven alumni.
Lidowski had planned on proposing to Hayden their junior year on Valentine's Day, but the moment seemed right on a rainy Friday in early 2001 during their sophomore year. The couple was taking a walk near campus, and the proposal was so spur-of-the-moment that though Lidowski had already bought an engagement ring, he didn't have it with him.
Because Centre is where they met and fell in love, Lidowski, of Ashland, Ky., and Hayden, whose family resides in Henderson, Ky., will be married on the steps of Old Centre June 7, just a few feet from were they made their unspoken promise three years ago.
"The only shared experience we've had is college," Lidowski said. "The Centre seal is a symbol of unity."
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