Photo credit: Anna Sue Photographic
Our Sweethearts Story
I was running late, as usual, so I picked up speed through campus, quickly scanning for signs of roaming black swans as I careened around Loop Road, deftly maneuvering my Honda onto the access road behind the freshman dorms, and finally lurching to a halt in front of Park Hall. My exhaust system rumbled loudly – protesting my careless treatment on its 200,000-plus mile body. I waved Sean into my car and, as we pulled away, informed him that my radio was broken so he should prepare for awkward silence if we ran out of things to talk about. Thus began our first date.
In my defense, I didn’t know it was a date until we arrived at our destination and Sean held up the entrance line insisting on buying my ticket despite my protestation. I eventually surrendered, and we ended up spending an enjoyable evening walking around the holiday lights display at the Toledo Zoo with a group of friends, trying to act casual while tentatively gauging interest in one another. There’s nothing quite as romantic as flirting in the Kingdom of the Apes with a medley of howling orangutans to set the mood. The zoo excursion was the first of many dates to come – dates for which I was much better prepared, for the record.
Overall our sweetheart story is a testament to timing and to the capacity ONU has to draw people together who otherwise wouldn’t cross paths. Sean and I had known of each other since freshman year. We both belonged to Northern Christian Fellowship and shared a few of the same friends, but we never hung out together. He was a pharmacy student, and I was a public relations major – practically different worlds.
Honestly, I didn’t think he was my “type.” While I pined after the long-haired guys who played guitar in the grass and debated religion and philosophy deep into the night, Sean was playing sports in King Horn and becoming the ONU Homecoming King. He belonged to the world of organic chemistry and devoted his extra time to monitoring freshman halls as a resident assistant, while I took drawing classes and sang in University Singers. Throughout our first 3 ½ years of college, our relationship never extended beyond an occasional “hello” as we passed in the hallways of McIntosh or the chapel.
During those years, we constructed our own college lives, occasionally intertwining but almost completely independent. We matured and grew as human beings. We dated people who taught us about ourselves and what we wanted (or didn’t want) in a significant other. We developed strong friendships with classmates and peers. I studied abroad in Europe and got a taste for the world, while Sean spent every spring break serving with Habitat for Humanity. ONU was fertile ground for us to explore who we were, to try new things, to pursue our ambitions, and to feel safe and valued in the process.
There were only five months left in my senior year when my noisy Honda came to an abrupt stop in front of Park Hall that night. The weekend before, Sean and I had experienced our first real conversation. We engaged in some playful banter in McIntosh and I proceeded to invite him to a party my roommates and I were having the next night. While at the party, a few of my friends made plans to visit the zoo, and somehow Sean snuck his way into the group. I’m very thankful he did. About two months after the zoo date, we became “official” on Feb. 15 (because Feb. 14 would’ve been too cliché), and, with my graduation looming in the near future, we took advantage of the time left in the midst of my final classes and Sean’s modules. As other ONU sweethearts can likely relate, our love evolved over late-night walks on the Green Monster, precious minutes stolen between classes at Northern on Main, my serenades to him in the piano practice room of Presser Hall, and long, coffee-fueled evenings at Heterick.
The summer after my graduation, I headed to an internship in Washington, D.C., while Sean stayed on campus playing with mice as a research assistant. Skype was our lifesaver. When Sean started his fifth year in pharmacy, I enrolled in graduate school at the University of Findlay. ONU even drew me back for a year as an employee until Sean and I got married and he landed a job in Atlanta.
We’ve been a married Southern couple for 2 1/2 years now. Our life in Atlanta is exciting and fast-paced, but we find our thoughts often drifting back to our Ada days. When we’re sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on an eight-lane highway, we start to yearn for the quiet of Ada’s streets. When the sky releases a tiny dusting of snow and Atlanta shuts down, we remember braving snow-packed, ice-covered sidewalks on the way to class as the Tundra’s relentless wind whipped our cheeks raw. When we sit down for dinner at a trendy new pizzeria and then drop $30 for two tickets to a movie, we miss the ease and affordability of date nights at Padrone’s and the Ada Theatre.
We are indebted to ONU for bringing us together and grateful that our university encouraged us to pursue interests and hobbies beyond our major, which put us in contact with each other. Our love is grounded in the foundation we developed at ONU, and, though we currently bask in the southern sun, we will always be Polar Bears at heart.
And so on this Valentine’s Day, nearly six years from the day our “official” relationship began, I say to my husband, Sean, thank you for striking up a conversation with me in McIntosh, for the last six years of adventure that followed, and for making marriage easy and fun. I love you!
—Jamienne (Scott) McKee, BA ’11
Jamienne is cofounder of The Favored Wife, a marriage-based blog she runs with her sister-in-law and fellow ONU alumna Rachael McKee, BA '05.
Old-fashioned Matchmaking Done Right
Years ago, love seekers didn't go online looking for the perfect match. They relied on friends to do that.
In fall 1963, Steve, BSBA ’64, and JoAnn (Epstein) Hart, BSEd ’64, found themselves paired together by each of their roommates for a blind date. From that blind date bloomed a relationship that has lasted for over half a century.
The two dated the rest of their senior year at Ohio Northern and then attended graduate school and held jobs in different states for a year. In July 1965, Steve and JoAnn tied the knot, and the next year, the roommates who had set them up married also. Steve and JoAnn just celebrated 51 years of marriage this past summer, and it all started from one classic Polar Bear matchup.
Love and milkshakes
It all started with a milkshake. It sounds like a funny way to describe a relationship, but for Tyler Deitering, BA ’14, and Lauren (Stahl) Deitering, BA ’14, it was a signal.
As a public relations major, Lauren spent a lot of time in the Freed Center for the Performing Arts, and conveniently, Tyler worked as the student sports director for WONB in the same building. In the early fall of their senior year, the two began texting casually, and Tyler started to find several excuses to frequent the Freed Center, such as editing clips, claiming he was on "watch duty" at night, etc.
Then came the thunderbolt moment, thereafter referred to as the “milkshake incident.” Knowing he would be there one evening, Lauren picked Tyler up a milkshake. He was so shocked that he literally just stared at her in utter — and terribly awkward — silence, making Lauren feel embarrassed. He later explained that he was so happy and surprised, that he just froze.
After graduating, Lauren took a job in June 2014 as a communications specialist for Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, headquartered in Louisville. But distance did not dampen Tyler’s devotion, and two months later, Tyler moved to Louisville to be with her, juggling two part-time jobs for seven months before finding full-time employment with Enterprise. Since then, he has been promoted three times within 18 months and now works as a branch manager.
Tyler proposed to Lauren in June 2015, and they were married in May 2016. The couple loves ONU so much that both their engagement and wedding photos were taken on campus. It just goes to show that love will always find a way and that no distance can keep two Polar Bear sweethearts apart.
Polar Bear Proposal
On the stage of the Freed Center for the Performing Arts, Nathan Brune, BSCE ’15, waited for his beloved, but this was no performance — it was a Polar Bear proposal.
Nathan and his wife Lauren (Staley) Brune, BA ’15, went from seeing each other coincidentally as acquaintances to seeing each other romantically as boyfriend and girlfriend. Upon meeting Nathan freshman year, Lauren never dreamed how he would sweep her off her feet two years later. With some careful planning, Nathan pulled off the cutest Polar Bear proposal in the spring of their senior year. A dancer and a public relations major, Lauren’s second home was the Freed Center, and she even worked in the box office. It made for the perfect setting for Nathan to make his move.
As the story goes, Lauren’s boss called her with an “urgent issue” at work, making her initially furious as she was forced to trek through the snow on her day off — Valentine’s Day. Little did she know what awaited her was Nathan standing on stage with flowers, chocolate and … a ring.
The couple has been married for a little over a year now and are so happy together — two Polar Bear sweethearts.
All in the “Northern” Family
To say that Ohio Northern was responsible for their family history would be a classic understatement for David, BSEd ’68, and Elaine (Heckler) Ingram, BSEd ’68.
David and Elaine met during the first Polar Bear football game of the 1964 season — two freshmen destined to make history at ONU. Scenes from their love story played out all over campus, from “library dates” to good nights at Clark Hall and the Fishbowl at Stambaugh Hall. Perhaps the most iconic scene took place at the former tennis courts behind Presser Hall, where David proposed to Elaine their junior year. The two married after graduation in 1968.
But their ONU legacy doesn’t end with their story. David and Elaine’s two daughters, Jennifer (Ingram) Frommer, BSCE ’95, and Stephanie (Ingram) Krosnosky, BA ’99, both graduated from Ohio Northern. Jennifer married another Polar Bear, Michael Frommer, BSCE ’96, and Stephanie tied the knot with Peter Krosnosky, who graduated elsewhere but was gladly welcomed into the Ingrams’ “Northern Family.” It goes without saying that all of the campus activities, events and special people at ONU will forever be a part of their lives.
Northern Love Story
As the bells of the English Chapel rang on March 10, 2010, Josh Musch, PharmD ’15, asked Kellie (Evans) Musch, PharmD ’15, to be his girlfriend on the bridge behind the Freed Center, while many of their friends watched from the third floor of Founders Hall. It was the beginning of a beautiful romance rooted in Ohio Northern University.
As their relationship blossomed, Kellie would cheer for Josh with her sorority sisters at Dial-Roberson Stadium for various football games, and Josh would support Kellie at Greek Week on the Tundra, especially during the Mud Tug of War contest. Josh earned the glowing adoration of Kellie’s sorority sisters when he became Sweetheart for the Delta Zeta Sorority, bringing baked goods over to their house in Affinity Village.
Both pharmacy majors, Josh and Kellie became involved in pharmacy organizations and took on various leadership roles throughout their schooling and even attended conferences together. After one particular conference in Anaheim, Calif., the two spent the day together at Disneyland, a perfect day that ended with Josh proposing to Kellie.
The two graduated from Ohio Northern in May 2015 and moved to Columbus, Ohio. They were married Oct. 1, 2016, in Louisville, Ohio, surrounded by family, friends and tons of Polar Bears. So much of their lives today is rooted in Ohio Northern University, and ONU will always hold a special place in their hearts.
Polar Bear Romance Meant to be
On her first night at Ohio Northern as a freshman, Kelly (Starcher) Hummell, BS ’92, and her roommate walked out the door of Maglott, onto the Tundra and into two Polar Bear football players. One of the players began dating her roommate; the other, Chad Hummell, BSBA ’91, became the love of her life.
The group of four ran around together that year, and Chad and Kelly remained friends for another two years until they started dating. In reminiscence, Chad told Kelly how he used to look at the coat rack in the McIntosh Center and look for her high school jacket hanging there, just so he would know to look for her.
Since then, they’ve never looked back. Chad and Kelly have been married for 25 years and have three beautiful children — just another classic Polar Bear romance that was meant to be.