Hero Image

Southern Sweetheart Stories

We love our alumni couples!

We regularly receive touching, heartwarming, and funny stories. We’d love to hear your story, too!


Tony, ’18, and Tatiana (Montanez) Jamgochian, ’18
I was working at the Village Market when one day Tony walked through my checkout line and asked how my day was and whether I planned to go to Week of Prayer (WOP). Unfortunately, I couldn't go because I worked until closing so I told him that I could go the next day. He asked if I wanted to join him and I did. The next night we went to WOP together and grabbed some coffee after it finished. We talked for a couple of hours and just hit it off.

The following week we hung out a lot, going to basketball games and playing volleyball together. After a month of hanging out, he asked me to be his girlfriend. After dating for a year, we got married and will now celebrate five years this coming spring on May 16.
- Submitted February 2021

Matthew, ’10, and Mariesa (Swisher) Tinkham, ’10
As I have undergraduate minors in youth ministry and religion, I spent a lot of time in Hackman Hall, where my now-husband Matthew was taking courses toward his bachelor's in Theology.  We met during our sophomore year at a School of Religion Sabbath program, where I was helping with music. Matthew used to (before marrying me) be early for all his engagements, so he was in the chapel before the program began. I was there practicing with the praise team, and after we finished I sat down and started talking to Matthew, who was sitting near the front. 

Matthew is much more introverted than me, so I did most of the talking while he sat there somewhat bewildered.  When he tells our story, he always says "I thought she was pretty and nice... but she sure talks a whole lot." We struck up an acquaintance, which became a friendship as we continued to cross paths around Hackman Hall.  We continued talking (he eventually opened up) and spending time together until he FINALLY asked me to be his girlfriend 8 months later. We dated until we were both finished with our bachelor’s degrees and I was almost finished with my 1-year MSW program from Southern. We were engaged in September 2010 and married on May 8, 2011.  We both credit Southern for creating opportunities where "opposites can attract" and find common ground that creates life-long friendships. 
- Submitted February 2021

Matthew, ’01 and ‘05, and Joey (Norwood) Tolbert, ’01 and ’07

Matt and I met through a mutual friend and Southern alumnus David Oakley. Matt and Dave were in a Christian rock band called Catch 77 and they were looking at getting a female vocalist to join their group. Dave and I knew each other from high school and he recruited me to audition for the band. I first sang with Matt in one of the music practice rooms at Southern for that audition. Years later we were on a praise team together (at the 3rd service-Catch 77 Praise). Music was what brought us together. 

We sang in the choir together for a semester and we also participated in the praise teams. Matt and the band were sponsored by Southern’s Campus Ministries to tour the United States for a semester. I went to Newbold College and worked at Adventist World Radio during that same semester (2000). We kept in touch via snail mail, phone calls, and emails. Matt asked me to marry him in 2000 (sitting in a booth at Chattanooga's very own Provino's) and less than a year later (one week after graduation) we were married. This spring we will celebrate our 20th anniversary. We have two children: Lela (12) and Charlie (8).
- Submitted February 2021

Jerry, ’69, and Linda (Hallock) Rickaby, ’70
My college roommate at Southern Missionary College (SMC) had attended Aubrun Adventist Academy with Jerry and his roommate. They played matchmaker and urged us to date.  I was a sophomore and Jerry was a junior. Jerry was in my Practical Home Arts class. I was not particularly drawn to him but accepted a first date to please my roommate. She said that he would treat me like a queen.  Our first date was the Grand March in the gym. I'm sure that really dates us!  

Long story short, we continued dating, spending time at the Campus Kitchen, the College Park, various programs, etc.  As we got more serious, we ate lunch together in Jerry's car and read The Adventist Home together. When Jerry proposed, we agreed to wait until we had both graduated before marrying.  By going to summer school and taking some home study courses, I was able to finish a semester early.  We married on February 8, 1970. We've been married for 51 years now and still love each other. That was the era when SMC was popularly called Southern Matrimonial College. We hold sweet memories of Southern and the friendships we made there.  
- Submitted February 2021

Caleb, ’13, and Brenda (Monchez) Fischer, ’13
I saw my now-husband for the first time during my Intro to Social Work class. He happened to be the guest speaker of the day! We ran into each other a few weeks later at vespers and then at the opening of the wellness center. Thank you Southern for bringing two people from two parts of the US (California & Massachusetts) to graduate with the same degree, enjoy traveling, and love God. 
- Submitted February 2021

David, ’94, and Marquita (Counts) Klinedinst, ’94
In my first three years of college, I attended a public/private school in my local area. For my senior year, I decided to transfer to Southern. It changed my life. 

I attended the summer session in July 1993. On my third day on campus, I met Marquita. I was taking a class that required me to go to the library and read certain articles that were assigned to the class. While there, I met the summer library manager whose name was Dorothy. She knew I was a new student and each day asked me questions about myself. One day, she brought me up to the circulation desk and introduced me to every girl who worked in the library. I thought, "Wow! I'm really going to like this school." What I didn't know was that Marquita had shown an interest in me and had told Dorothy, but was too shy to approach me. 
During the first week of school, Dorothy called me on the phone in my dorm room and told me that when I go to the cafe on Friday that I should sit at a table by myself by the window and a nice young lady would come and sit down beside me. 

The next day at the cafe, I did as I was instructed but no one was coming. The next thing I know, Dorothy comes and sits at the table with me. She said, “The girl is coming but she's a bit shy.” A few minutes later, a beautiful young lady comes and sits down with me, and it was Marquita. She introduced herself and we ate together and talked. She asked me if I wanted her to show me around campus and to show me where things were in Collegedale and where the mall was in Chattanooga.  

We spent the whole afternoon going to the mall, taking walks at Chickamauga Lake and the Tennessee River Park. During the time we talked about a lot of things. It was a beautiful magical afternoon--that first date. We dated during our senior year. We got married about a year after we graduated.  

Then God called us into ministry, where we have been serving for nearly 24 years. I often wish I had gone to Southern sooner. Southern changed my life in many ways. Often when we take a trip down South, we try to stop by Southern and walk the campus.  The memories flood back, the happy tears flow, and we are reminded of how God brought us together. Thank you Southern for what you meant to our lives!   
- Submitted February 2021

Hubert, ’12, and Allison (Owen) Maitland, ’12
We met in I Cantori.  It was October of 2009 and I had just joined I Cantori, halfway through the semester, so everyone knew each other but I was new. We were on the tour bus getting ready to leave for Nashville and I was sitting next to the window reading. I looked over to where Hubert was sitting and he said “hi” in an attempt to talk to me. I remember thinking his smile was the best smile I'd ever seen. So contagious! I smiled but went back to my book. This was a Friday, fast forward to Saturday night, we were all at an ice cream place before heading home and, while everyone was still eating, I needed to go back to the bus. Since it was dark outside, Chaplain Kibble had Hubert walk me back because he wasn't eating ice cream. 

I don't think we talked much but I remember thinking there is something about this guy that makes you just want to be around him and makes you feel safe. Well, this was the last time we talked until February of 2010. Dr. Kibble told us Hubert’s dad had a stroke and a few days later had passed away. I felt such an overwhelming urgency to reach out to him, so I found his phone number and let him know I was there if he needed anything, even if it's just to sit and say nothing. Well, the rest is history. After that first text, we never stopped talking. I thank God every day for His leading and his nudge from the Kibbles. They played an important role in God's plan for our lives. 
- Submitted February 2021

Caleb, ’16, and Trish (Sausa ) Wolff, ’16
I never thought I'd work at a summer camp, but while walking through Southern's student center I saw camp staff at their booths and decided on a whim I'd sign up to work at Camp Kulaqua with my friends. Little did I know I'd be meeting my future husband there! Caleb was the boy’s junior director and I was a junior girl’s counselor. Come to find out, we learned that we were both nursing students at Southern.  

Summer camp came and we reconnected at Southern that fall. What started as a friendship, soon became a loving relationship. Over a year later, we got engaged and were married right before our graduation! We just recently celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. It feels like yesterday when we were talking about our goals and dreams together, hand in hand, on the Promenade. Now we're living those dreams out, and soon we'll be graduating together again with our masters in nurse anesthesia! Looking back at our college experience, Southern will always be a huge part of our love story and, for that, I am so thankful.
- Submitted February 2021

Robert, ’94, and Tammy (O’Quinn) Overstreet, ’92
We were both at Southern over the Christmas break because we needed to work to help with our tuition and living expenses.  We each went to the cafeteria and were forced to sit at one large table because the cafeteria workers didn't want to clean several tables for a few individuals. As we all chatted with the other students who were also working over the break, there must have been a spark because he called me later that evening after looking me up in the Joker.The rest is history!  

We've been married for 30+ years and have a daughter who's about to graduate from Southern, as well.  When I speak to classes here in the School of Education and Psychology, I sometimes tell them our story and say: "Eat in the cafe, y'all!"
 - Submitted February 2021

Joshua, ’14, and Ellen (Luchak) George ’14
My husband came from California and I came from British Columbia, Canada to attend Southern. We first met at the Village Market (VM) in early 2013 and talked on and off through the year.  Then in January 2014, it was snowy out and I was missing home. He walked into the VM all dressed up for winter with his tuque (winter hat) and winter jacket.  I almost ignored him but ended up complimenting him on how “West Coast” he looked. Immediately he wanted to talk and ended up asking for my number. I hesitantly gave it to him, and a new life experience began. 

Our first date was eating sushi at the VM. I had a rule that I didn't go on second dates with guys unless they were from a place I wanted to live. Cali definitely passed the test on that and we started spending every free moment together.  

We went for countless walks around the many campus neighborhoods. I took him whitewater kayaking and he swam every time.  It was fun rescuing him!  And many more meals at the VM. 

We both moved to Lake Tahoe, California where he taught me how to snowboard, and we planned the rest of our life together. We were married in 2016. 

Now we are enjoying a new adventure together with our son, born in 2018, in Montana. We are so grateful for how God brought us together through our Southern journey! Thank you, Jesus, and Southern!
- Submitted February 2021

Micah ’05 and Shannon (Lozano) Armantrout, ’04
We met during my last semester at Southern. I was completing my student teaching requirements at his home church and school. He invited me to lunch one Sabbath and we never stopped talking! 
- Submitted February 2021

Bo, ’88, and Tina (Frist) Smith, ’89
Bo says that we met just before I left the country to serve as a student missionary, so I guess he had his eye on me. We were both leaving the "Accent" office at the same time and walked down the steps together. Some people told him that he wasn't my type, but that didn't seem to deter him. 

After returning from a semester on the island of Majuro, I remember meeting Bo at the Welcome Back event the first Saturday night of the fall semester in 1987. This was the start of my junior year, and he was a senior. While everyone was playing an ice breaker game, Bo asked me to sign the line next to "The person I'd like to be stranded on a deserted island with," and I still have that piece of paper! I remember him asking a lot of questions and being a very good listener, which really impressed me since most guys just seemed to want to talk about themselves. He suggested that we swap name tags during the event, and later that night back in the dorm, he stuck my name tag on the mirror and told his roommate that I was the girl he was going to marry.

A few days later he called to ask me out for the coming weekend, but I already had a date. He suggested that I cancel to go out with him, and I refused, telling him, "That wouldn't be very nice." So he called me again on Sunday night and asked me if it was early enough to reserve the following Saturday night for our first date. 

After dating for more than two years, Bo proposed during my graduation weekend, and we married four months later. We celebrate 32 years of marriage this coming fall, and he still makes me laugh nearly every day. He also is the most amazing father to our two kids who are now 18 and 19. How blessed I've been to spend these decades with my Southern soulmate!
- Submitted February 2021

Richard, ’71, and Coleen (Seitz) Stanley, ’71
We met in our junior year in Dr. Clark's American History class sitting alphabetically, side by side.  We were engaged after I was accepted to Loma Linda University School of Medicine. We will have been married 50 years this coming August. We have two children and three grandkids. Now, we are happily retired in New Smyrna Beach just a couple blocks from the ocean, after practicing family medicine for almost 40 years.  
- Submitted February 2021

Barry ’69 and Sharryn (Hughes) Mahorney, ’69
I met a dear and precious friend, Barry Mahorney, at Southern. We had already been in school together for a couple of years but we met and enjoyed talking together in the religion department one evening when I was working late. We were both struck and knew immediately this was the one. Within a couple of weeks, we were already talking about marriage, but in order not to scare our friends, we only began going steady.

We have been married now for almost 52 years. We enjoyed celebrating our 50th anniversary with an Alaskan cruise with our precious family. Our son and daughter both attended Southern and now we have a grandson there and will have two grandsons there next school year. Southern is an awesome place to find your life partner! 
- Submitted February 2021

Sam, ’12 and ’13 and Laura (Weber) Chitu, ’14 and ’16
My husband, Sam, and I were both nursing students at Southern. He graduated in 2012 and 2013, and I graduated in 2014 and 2016. We met at Southern in 2011 and got married in 2013. We met because he was friends with my sister and her boyfriend (now husband). Their mutual friend invited them to go cliff jumping at Soddy Daisy and my sister invited me along. Fast forward a week, it’s Smart Start and I only know my sister and her boyfriend. 

I got a flat tire on Little Debbie Highway. My tire was stuck on my car and I couldn’t get it off. So, I called my now brother-in-law to help me. Sam was in the room when I called and he asked if he could come help me instead. So my brother-in-law made a lame excuse about why he couldn’t come and why he was sending Sam instead. Long story short, a nice man had already changed my tire for me by the time Sam made it to me. But the spare was flat so Sam took the old tire and wheeled it to the Walmart gas station, filled it with air, and put it back on. We have been together ever since. We are currently travel ICU nurses.
- Submitted February 2021

Thomas, ’95, and Deanna (Marsh) Knoll, ’95
I found my forever sweetheart six years after my graduation by first meeting her parents, Larry and Patty (Mostert) Marsh, who had recently moved from Washington state to Virginia and were visiting my church on Sabbath. After striking up a friendship with them, they later introduced me to their single daughter, Deanna, who had flown out from the west coast for a one-week visit. Well, that introduction was all it took and the rest is history. Today, over seventeen years later, we now live in Olympia, Washington with our two young sons, Judson and Jakob, and are very active in our local Chehalis SDA Church.
- Submitted February 2021

Willis, ’09, and Melissa (Tortal) Moore, ’09
We love that Southern is so central to our story! I came to Southern from Florida and he came from Washington state. Almost as far apart as you can get in this country, but somehow we both chose Southern. My husband, Will, and I met a few months after he came to Southern. (I started a year earlier.) We became friends pretty quickly and soon our group of friends was more like a little family. We would watch each other’s intramurals games, sit together at meals, Vespers, and generally spend every weekend together.

While we knew basically every detail of each other’s lives, we had completely “friend-zoned” each other. After graduation, I started working at Southern and he left for Korea to teach English. We kept in touch pretty well and things just made sense when he came back to the US in 2013. We started dating, got engaged, and married in 2015. Now we have one little boy and one on the way.
- Submitted February 2021

Jared, ’12, and Lauren (Behnke) Penner, ‘12
Jared and I met in the cafeteria at Southern during our first few days on campus. My roommate said, “Oh look. Let’s go sit with those three brothers over there. They’re pretty cool!” The first thing I said was, “I like your last name.” We were good friends, and then he asked me to be his girlfriend by the Goliath Wall seven months later. We both graduated from nursing school, got married, and now have two boys! Thankful our paths led us to meet that day over lunch.
- Submitted February 2021

David, ’91, and Sandra (Skeggs) Ringer, ’91,
David and I met through mutual friends at Southern in 1988. We began dating in 1990 and married the day after graduation in 1991. 30 years later this year, he is still the love of my life. We have lived on two continents, in three countries, and raised two wonderful young men. I am thankful to Southern and Christian education for the opportunity to meet my God-fearing soulmate!
- Submitted February 2021

Bob, ’83, and Ruth (Covrig) MacLafferty, ’83
Ruth MacLafferty and I came to Southern as sweethearts in 1980 as freshmen. Three years later, we were happily married and living in old stateside apartments. We returned as sweethearts in 2009 to turn our precious daughters into alumni. After traveling to the coast and back, we returned to the valley again as sweethearts, God willing for the last time. We currently live on the same street again and the same as our daughters. We await our first granddaughter, who may become the third generation to bring or find a sweetheart here. Southern has been the center of many blessings for us!
- Submitted February 2021

Eric (attended) and Dara (Laing) Brewer, ’15
My roommate and his best friend worked in the cafeteria together. They introduced us and we all sat together during "in-tents" in 2011. We had our first date at fall fest our freshman year. The rest is history.
- Submitted February 2021

Micah, ’04, and Shannon (Lozano) Armantrout, ’04
We met during my student teaching instruction. I was assigned to his home church and school. He invited me home one Sabbath and we never stopped talking! Two kids, two dogs, and four moves later, this year will be our 15th year of marriage! This picture is from 2005 at SAU's Valentine’s Day banquet.
- Submitted February 2021

Angel (attended) and Tina (Pearson) Segarra, ’03
We met on campus but didn't attend until years after we were married. This picture is of my husband and me after our graduation 18 years ago. We are outside our student housing apartment with our son, who is a recent Southern 2020 graduate himself.
- Submitted February 2021

Andrew, '16, and Ashley (Mitchell) Anobile, '15 and ‘16
We met at All-Night Softball in 2015 and stayed in contact after graduation in May 2016. We reconnected in the Summer of 2019 and the rest is history!
- Submitted February 2021

Ryan, '05, and Melinda (Jamieson) Trott, '06
During the 2002-03 school year, we both took a year off as student missionaries. Upon returning, we were required to attend a student missionary re-entry retreat. A mutual friend connected them so Mindy could have a ride to the location with Ryan. Later that year, Mindy, an English major, was taking a chemistry class and needed extra help. Ryan, a chemistry major, was recommended as a tutor through this same friend. Tutoring sessions gave way to hikes together and cooking meals in Southern Village for friends on Friday nights. They became close friends, but Ryan was headed to grad school across the country after graduation and they didn't believe long distance would work for a relationship. 
- Submitted February 2021

Through the years, they sporadically sent messages. In 2012, Ryan moved from California to Miami and made a stop in Chattanooga to reconnect with several friends, including Mindy. Again, they stayed in touch off and on and had even made plans to do a mountain bike race later that year near the Ocoee. After the race, it wasn't until 2019 that Ryan went through Chattanooga on another trip and met up with Mindy again. This time he texted her out of the blue, "I'm coming through town. Do you want to go for a bike ride one day?" She jumped at the chance to bike and connect with an old friend. 

After a morning of biking, they decided to bike again the next day and then hike the next day. He stayed two days beyond his original plan, and they decided they would try long-distance dating this time around. After six months of carefully planned travel back and forth, hours on video chats, and countless phone calls, Ryan asked Mindy to marry him. We had a small "COVID-cautious" wedding in June, and still hope to celebrate with our family and friends when it's safe. We're both grateful that God brought us together after all these years.

Benjamin, '20, and Jessica (Kovach) Lawson, '19
Jessica and Benjamin first met while planning the Renewal church service as part of a Collegedale Church team. Jessica thought Benjamin was quiet and decided she'd have to get him to open up. Benjamin, on the other hand, thought Jessica too spirited and wanted to be sarcastic to mess with her. Their friendship grew as they sang in I Cantori together, but six months passed without any signs of a potential relationship. 

A conversation about acting while preparing for SonRise caused Benjamin to begin to develop feelings for Jessica although it wasn't until he saw her onstage that he knew he was smitten. It was one casual glance back from her seat in the choir that suddenly changed everything for Jessica as she was suddenly hit with the realization that Benjamin could easily become more than a friend. Within 2 weeks, a note in a yearbook led to a walk on the Greenway, and an I Cantori trip to Italy resulted in them beginning to date while watching a sunrise overlooking a Medici manor. 

Although separated by distance their first year of dating (Jessica was serving as a student missionary in Thailand and Benjamin continued his studies at Southern), the two continued to grow in their love for each other. The next year reunited them again at Southern as they continued singing together in the choir and acting alongside each other during SonRise (Benjamin played Jesus and Jessica as Gabriel) and the Talent Show (winning with their friends while portraying Christine and Raoul from Phantom of the Opera.) Friends from Southern were in on the proposal when Benjamin created a scavenger hunt for Jessica to lead to him at the bottom of Fall Creek Falls with a ring. Their wedding was planned for the week after graduation before COVID-19 changed their plans, and they ended up eloping to Roan Mountain, NC with their family and best friends.

Had you told either of them that night they met that they'd be married just a few years later, they never would have believed you, but both are ever so grateful that God led them together as He did.
- Submitted February 2021

Scot, '14, and Danae (Church) Brunner, '19
In 2014 I was completing my Master's in Social Work at Southern while Scot was touring campus as a high school senior - but don't worry, that's not when we met! After working at summer camp together four years later, we kept in touch while Scot was serving as a student missionary in Peru. Many late-night conversations revolved around our shared heart for missions, his plans to go to medical school, my life as a girl’s dean, and our time at Southern. When he returned to finish his senior year as a biochemistry major, trips to Southern became more frequent for me as it eased our long-distance. We spent many weekends hiking on the Biology trails, sharing stories under Goliath Wall, and attending campus events where Scot ran the lighting. Just over two years later, we were married on the pier in St. Joseph, MI in an intimate ceremony with our closest family gathered around.
- Submitted February 2021

Jim, '08, and Becky (Rempher) McCurdy, '87
One day in January of my last semester, my friend and I decided to go to the cafeteria after class to eat lunch together. As I was sitting at a table visiting with friends, a young man named James McCurdy came with an empty tray, sat down at the table, and introduced himself. 

When I got back to my room that afternoon, I got a phone call from James asking me to go with him to the orchestra concert on Sabbath. "No," I replied. "I play the cello in the orchestra, but I will take a raincheck!" "How about going to the Warren Miller Ski Movie on Sunday then?" "Ok, that sounds good," I replied.

We went to the Warren Miller Ski Movie and sat with my family. Afterward, we walked back to the girl's dorm and stood on the porch outside the front doors talking together. Soon we moved inside and stood in the lobby, oblivious of our surroundings! As the lobby cleared, we sat down on a couch, and shortly the dean approached and said, "You need to be going, young man. 10:00 is curfew!" That was news to both of us! We went to our respective rooms, got on the phone, and continued getting to know each other. It was as though we were just catching up on a long absence.

We spent a lot of time together in the next few weeks and on March 6, 50 days after we met, Jim asked me to "walk down life's road" with him! I said, "Yes!" We were married on Friday, December 18, 1987! 

We have just celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary by God's grace. God blessed our home with eight beautiful children, one of which died in a car accident in 2005 when she was 8 years old. Our family continues to grow! Four are married and two more plan to be married in 2021. Our youngest daughter, Susanna, plans to attend Southern in the fall of 2021! We also have 6 beautiful grandchildren. We are currently pastoring a small 3-church district in the NE corner of Washington State. 
- Submitted February 2021

Don (attended) and Dolly (Darbo) Fillman, ’53
Don and Dolly celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in June 2020. They first met at a Fourth of July picnic at Southern Missionary College in 1949 and were married eleven months later in the Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. The ceremony was delayed when Dolly’s ride ran out of gas, leaving her to walk almost the whole way from her home on Prospect Church Road down the unpaved road to campus. Her bridesmaids scrambled to get her cleaned up before she walked down the aisle. Seventy years later, having raised six children, the Fillmans still live on the Darbo family farm a few miles from campus and stay busy with church ministries and community services for refugees.
- Submitted August 2020

Caleb, ’07, and ’14, and Jennefer (Hiles) Robinson, ’06
One of Caleb and Jennefer’s fondest Southern memories is carving their initials on a picnic table along the Biology Trail when Caleb proposed to Jennefer in 2005. Returning to the same spot in 2014, Caleb replaced the board with a new one that has their children’s initials carved into it along their anticipated years of graduation.  
- Submitted June 2020

Jason, ’99, and Shelly (Spencer) Merryman, ’98
The first picture was taken in 1997 where AdventHealth Hall is on Southern’s campus. As you can see in the second picture, the years have blessed us with a wonderful marriage and three beautiful kids. Our favorite memory is in 1995 when I stalked Jason while walking back and forth to class along the Promenade. That fall we had our first date, followed by many waffle dinners at the CK, walks around campus, watching "Friends" in the Student Center, and hearing the bass on Jason's truck as it drove down University Drive!
- Submitted February 2019c

Andrew, ’14, and Thiffany (Reynoso) Rambana, ’14
Andrew and I met and bonded during my freshmen year while singing with the One Praise Gospel Choir! Our favorite memories would have to be rock climbing together, going on SOAP trips, attending lawn concerts, and studying on Sunday mornings in the music building after having breakfast at the CK.
- Submitted February 2019

Don, ’87, and Maria (Holley) Kutzner, ’85
I think my favorite memory was when I proposed on one of the benches just off of the promenade and she said yes!
- Submitted February 2019

Troy, ’91, and Lynnette (Starr) Hollenbeck, ’89
Troy and I met in the cafeteria. Our first official date was to Vespers. Our kids both attended, with one graduated & one about to graduate. The early picture is from a Barn Party. We enjoyed the Warren Miller ski movies and the Chocoholic Festival.
- Submitted February 2019

Austin, ’09, and Katarina (Spears) Schreiner, ’08
Our favorite memory is working at the Service Department together when it was still on Industrial Drive (now Colcord Drive). That’s where our friendship grew into love. We married in 2008. On our wedding day, we met first in the Garden of Prayer and took most of our wedding pictures on the Promenade.
- Submitted February 2019

Ryan, ’08, and Jacyln (Ford) Knight, ’03
We knew each other from Mount Pisgah Academy, but we were in different friend circles once we got to Southern. One summer we were both back home in Carolina and ran into each other at campmeeting. We found out that we were both living in Collegedale for the summer. I was working as a nurse and he as a caddy at the Honors Golf Course. The next week I was driving home from a shift at Memorial Hospital when I got a phone call. It was Ryan, who also happened to be getting off work then and wanted to know if I wanted to meet him at the Ooltewah Taco Bell for supper. “Sure!” I said and drove straight there. We were still in our respective uniforms. I didn’t know it was a date until he paid for my bean burritos. The rest is, as they say, history. I need the shirt I’ve seen that says “You had me at, ‘Let’s go to Taco Bell.’”
- Submitted February 2019

Rob, ’85, and Linda Shriver-Buckner, ’86

I met my wonderful Rob in the Fall of 1984 when a mutual dear friend, Kevin Buchanan, introduced us. We were married on August 31, 1986. I have many fond memories. The best of times. One that stands out the most was when I threw him a surprise birthday party at Thatcher Hall. I was so busy making 75 individual heart-shaped German chocolate cakes and all the food that I didn't spend as much time with him for two days. He was so sad not to see me. And, then after the surprise, he understood why I had been a bit distant.

We always enjoyed getting friends together. Fond memories of this picnic we threw at Little Chickamauga lake. Cherished and the fondest of memories at Southern.

Rob lost his battle with colon cancer on November 30, 2004. I still feel blessed to have shared those wonderful years with such an amazing, loving, Christ-filled man. Blessed with wonderful memories. Thank you, Southern.
- Submitted February 2019

Bob, ’86, and Tammy (Ellis) Vaughn ’86
Bob and I met in 1984 at Southern College, some 35 years ago. We started dating in 1985, married in 1987 and, with two sons and almost 32 years of marriage behind us, I'd say Southern was a good thing! We met on election day when my roommate kind of liked him. Then just a few months later, I found myself at a Die Meistersinger concert at the Tivoli Theater, where he sang a solo. I had no idea that boy could sing. He won my heart that night. With a little help from friends and the Teaching Learning Center, we started getting to know each other and began dating. Bob graduated in May of 1986 and I accelerated my graduation in order to join him in Loma Linda, and we were married a year later.
- Submitted February 2019

Kirk (attended) and Judy (Vining) Campbell, ’69
We had our first date on Southern Missionary College’s campus during College Days and were married in the New England style chapel of the men's dorm on June 15, 1969, after Judy’s graduation. We will celebrate our 50th anniversary this summer.
- Submitted February 2019c

Vincent, ’05, and Elizabeth (Rengifo) Saunders, ’05
Our favorite memory is meeting at the Collegedale Korean church, and later eating at the CK! My brother, John Rengifo, told me, “I just met your future husband.” I blew it off then but, sure enough, we began dating several months later and got married at Southern! Almost 14 years and three kids later, we’re still in love! Oh, and we got married in a double wedding with my brother and his wife who are also Southern alumni!
- Submitted February 2019

Landon, ’11, and Jennifer (Cooper) Durham, ’03
We met in Wind Symphony during our freshman year and married in 2004. We have three kids and still live in Chattanooga.
- Submitted February 2019

Elden (attended) and Jourdan (Stephens) Ford, ‘16
We met through mutual friends after Vespers and connected when we found out we had both worked at summer camps. One of our favorite memories is when we went to all-night softball. It was his first year at Southern, which meant it was his first all-night softball experience! That was our first night really “hanging out” and which then led to our first date later that week. We are in our seventh year of being together and have two sweet boys. I will always be thankful that I went to Southern and found my Southern sweetheart.
- Submitted February 2019

Daniel, ’90, and Michelle (Watkins) Snow, ‘91
We met at the Campus Kitchen, where we worked in 1988. We married in 1991. We have four kids and have been together for almost 28 years. He is still the love of my life! Some of our favorite memories: Working at the Campus Kitchen and Service Department together and going to the different activities together at Southern. All special memories.
- Submitted February 2019

Jerry, ’77, and Linda (Dowden) Hill, ’71
We are both SAU alumni but only attended one year together. And we don’t actually remember one another from that year. I’m so fortunate to have met and married him later in life!
- Submitted February 2019

Sam, ’93, and Shelley (Campbell) Leonor, ’93
We are celebrating our 25th anniversary today. Sam and I started dating and he later proposed to me in the same field next to the academy. We were married in the men’s dorm chapel, where my parents were married. They had their reception in the cafeteria. One favorite memory with Sam is running around the campus on the morning of the blizzard of 1993.
- Submitted February 2019

William, ’07, and Marlane (Costa) Heiser, ’07
My brother and future husband were suitemates. The three of us would all hang out together until we realized that William and I liked hanging out with just the two of us. Some of our favorite memories involve walks on the Promenade. Religion professor Phillip Samaan would give us a hard time and jokingly say we couldn’t hold hands while walking around campus. We also enjoyed hiking at Lula Lake, playing mud soccer, and spending many hours in the library...so many great memories that it’s hard to choose one.
- Submitted February 2019

Roger, ’76, and Ruth (Earle) Wiehn, ’76
Roger and I met the second semester of our senior year at Southern in 1976. He was a history major and I was in nursing. He was determined that he was not going to graduate without finding a wife! I was quiet and shy and not sure of him at first but, after spending time with him, I found him to be the perfect one for me! What I remember the best was one of the first times we were together on a date to the women’s reception. I called to ask him and he had just awakened and asked me to repeat the question. He was surprised! It was a special night in many ways and I realized how much I enjoyed being with him. We were married ten months later on December 26, 1976, and have loved being together ever since. If both of us had not gone to Southern, we would never have met!
-Submitted February 2019

Jose, ’07, and Lillian (Portillo) Loza, ’05
Jose and I met in 2001 when we first arrived at Southern. We began dating later that semester and have been married for twelve years this month! We have so many great memories, mostly the Christmas events along the Promenade and eating at the CK. So thankful God brought us here to meet. We have two wonderful kids!
-Submitted February 2019

Carlos, ’04, and Melissa Martin, ‘02

I went my freshman year and the first half of my sophomore year without going on a single date. The second week into the second semester, I met this guy who shared my dad's name. My only Southern love! Four years later, after my graduation, we got married and have been together for 20 years. Speaking of 20 years, we used to fancy it up—we still do—but now we might prefer to spend a Saturday night trying out an exfoliating treatment.
- Submitted February 2019

Steve, ’08, and Tiffani (Stiltz) Gotshall, ’13,
Steve and I met when he came to Southern as a representative for Adventist Health System (now AdventHealth) to interview for their summer internship program. He interviewed me in the fall of 2011. Of course, nothing came from that meeting (besides me getting the internship), but when I graduated in 2013, I also started working at AHS and our relationship began then. But our roots started at Southern!
- Submitted February 2019

Noah, ’00, and Leta (Sowers) McCall, ’99
Noah and I met at Camp Kulaqua in the summer of 1994. I started at Southern in the fall of 1995. Noah had been attending since 1992. We saw each other occasionally and would say hi. He left for a while when he joined the army. Upon his return to Southern in January 1998, I asked him to the Valentine’s Banquet. We went together and that was the start of a wonderful friendship. But a friendship was all it was then, at least for him. Most of our memories at Southern involved hiking and doing things outdoors. We also loved Wednesday pizza nights with friends at RafaeIs. I graduated in 1999 and he graduated in 2000. We both ended up in Southern California a year later and got married on September 3, 2006, twelve years after we met. Southern played a huge role in our relationship and we loved our time there!
- Submitted February 2019

Joel, ’16, and Kenyon (Findley) Greve, ‘15

Joel and I started dating in our junior year of high school, continued dating through our time at Southern, and married in June 2016. I think our favorite memories from our time there were enjoying the gazebo on the front of campus, taking walks on the Greenway, and playing and watching many intramural games!
- Submitted February 2019

David, ’16, and Heather (Peel) Orvek, ’16
We met my sophomore year, David’s freshman year, and were both music majors so we basically had all of our classes together. The entire music department was wishing us together almost from the moment we met, but it took us a year and a half to finally start dating! Our favorite Southern memory is not just one thing, it's everything. Our entire relationship began and flourished primarily in the music building. From attending (and performing) concerts together, having long talks in practice rooms when we should've been practicing, to saying "I love you" for the first time in the music office, the foundation of our marriage was laid at Southern.
- Submitted February 2019

Andres, ’13, and Katie (Schuen) Palacios, ’14
Six years ago, we were just friends working together for Campus Ministries at Southern. Our favorite memory was when Andres told me he liked me during one of our Campus Ministries meetings. We didn’t date in college because his graduation was soon approaching! After graduation, our paths went separate ways; however, we were still able to maintain a close friendship. We never would have thought that God would bring us together as a happily married couple, serving together in ministry daily.
- Submitted February 2019

Some story submissions have been edited for length and clarity.