Our alumni gain many amazing experiences from their time at WashU: a top-notch education, close friendships, great leadership opportunities, and maybe even lifelong love? In this most romantic of months, we’re sharing a few “how we met” stories from couples who found each other at WashU and made it far beyond dorm rooms and dining hall dates.
Marly Cardona Moz, BA ’08, MA ’11, and Adam Omer Abadir, BA ’11
Adam: It was winter in St. Louis more than 12 years ago, and I was late and running across campus to a nonprofit and advocacy jobs seminar I had signed up for at the Career Center.
Marly: I arrived early at the DC Policy and Advocacy road trip interest meeting.
Adam: I sprinted into a small conference room, not looking my best and just trying to find a seat and disappear into the crowd. However, I found myself frozen at the door because I saw this beautiful woman chatting with the conference facilitator, casually taking up all the oxygen in the room.
Marly: After a few minutes the door busted open and a flustered yet handsome man entered and froze.
Adam: After an embarrassing number of seconds, I found a seat at the back. At the time, I had no idea who she was, but I knew somehow, someway, I’d need to learn her name and to get to know her. I just had to figure out how to open my mouth and say something.
Marly: I was here to plan the first step in my career, and this … man … just interrupted my perfectly rehearsed professional trajectory for the next ten years. I gave him a cursory glare and paid him no mind, understanding that nothing would divert my attention from securing a spot on this trip, certainly not someone who had the mind to be late to the try-outs.
Adam: Fast forward to July 1, 2022, when we were married after 10 years of being together. Our lives have culminated in the ultimate policy and advocacy road trip and we are eternally grateful to WashU for aligning our mission, in life and in love.
Emilie Docter Fan, MSW ’13, and Chris Fan, MSW ’14, MPH ’14
Emilie: I met Chris during our first semester at the Brown School. I was enrolled in the two-year MSW program and Chris was in the three-year dual MSW/MPH program. We started dating at the beginning of our second semester. Eddie Lawlor, former dean of the Brown School, recently said, “I always wondered why the two of you would be so quick to partner up on class projects—it all makes so much sense now!” We adopted a dog the summer after our first year, and we loved walking him around campus between classes. Chris proposed shortly after I graduated in 2013, and we got married in 2014 after Chris graduated. Today, we live close to WashU and have two future Bears, Eleanor (5) and Teddy (3). We still take walks on campus almost every weekend!
Kim Francois, AB ’09, and Amir Francois, AB ’08
Kim: We are both Ervin Scholars, so the first time we met was at Ervin Scholars summer orientation in 2005. We were friends for a year before we became official and started dating. One of our first dates was to see the cinematic gem, “Snakes on a Plane,” at the Esquire. How could it not be everlasting love after that? We’re forever grateful to have found each other at WashU and through the Ervin Scholars program (and we cherish all the memories and friendships our four years there gave us). So, it was a no-brainer to take our engagement photos on campus at the John B. Ervin bench. We now live in Baltimore, Md. We’ve been married for eight years and have two kids, Lucas (4) and Chloe (13 months).
Hillary Roth Gredell, BSBA ’09, MS ’11, MBA ’11, and Lucas Gredell, JD ’09
Hillary: Lucas and I met the first semester of my junior year as an undergrad in 2007. There was a week shortly after we got back to campus—the first week of September—and I was studying on the first floor of the Olin library by the front windows. A couple nights in a row, I kept seeing a very cute guy. He was one of the most handsome men I had ever seen. We found ourselves sitting across from each other several times and smiled at each other. I was leaving the library one evening and was halfway across the quad (the one between Graham Chapel and the Women’s building) when I heard someone say hello from behind me. Lucas had left all his books behind at the library and had caught up with me just to introduce himself. He offered to walk me back to my dorm and asked for my phone number. We had our first date two days later at Napoli in Clayton. After Lucas finished law school and I finished the MBA/MSF, we stayed in St. Louis. We were married in 2013 and in 2016 bought our first house near the WashU campus. We welcomed our daughter Emily in 2020 and our son Luke this past June.
Morgan Ippolito, AB ’17, JD ’20, and Alex Hallwachs, AB ’16
Morgan: We met by chance at an ugly Christmas sweater party at the Beta Theta Pi house when I was a freshman and he was a sophomore. We started talking and were surprised to learn we’re both from Cleveland and our childhood homes were less than 10 minutes apart! We kept running into each other and eventually started dating in March 2014. We continued dating after we graduated—I attended law school at WashU and he studied medicine at George Washington University. As it worked out, we both completed our graduate programs in 2020 and married in July 2022. Probably a quarter of our wedding guests were friends from WashU—making it a mini-WashU Reunion—and two of the taglines for our wedding were, “She went all the way to St. Louis to meet the boy next door” and “From WashU to I Do!”
Lisa John, MSW ’91, PhD ’08, and Rajeev John, MSW ’90
Lisa: When I came to visit the Brown School, I found the current students very welcoming—one in particular. Rajeev found the new students quite friendly—one in particular. Thirty-two years later, we’re still so grateful for all the Brown School gave us!
April Mickens Jolly, BSBA ’02, and Andwele Jolly, AB ’02, DPT ’05
April: Andwele and I met the first day I moved in my dorm room in Lee 2. He’d been on campus for a few weeks for a Class of 2002 summer academic program. When my family pulled up at the Lee, he was outside helping new students move their belongings into their rooms. It turned out he was my next door neighbor! We were friendly and didn’t start dating until spring semester of sophomore year. We were 18 when we met and have grown into adults, partners, and parents together. While a lot has changed since we met nearly 25 years ago, we have a lot of fun with each other, and that has made the life we built together even sweeter. I never expected to meet the love of my life in college, but when you know, you know!
Emily Khan, PMBA ’14, and Saad Khan, PMBA ’14
Emily: It was the first night of orientation for PMBA 33 when we met, and we were the first person each of us met in the program. While Saad likes to joke it was love at first sight for me, what really started was friendship that built a great foundation for our relationship. Fast forward to almost two years later, after class one night in the parking lot of Simon Hall, Saad asked me if we were more than friends. My response? “Yeah, right?” A year and half later, he proposed to me outside of Bauer Hall, and we were married in October of 2016. We even ran into Jan Snow while we took our wedding photos! Today, we have the sweetest future Bear and love catching up with all of our friends we made through the program.
Gail Brody Klein, AB ’71, and Roger Klein, AB ’71
Gail: We met on a triple blind date in January of our freshman year. The six of us saw “Valley of the Dolls” followed by pizza. During the date we discovered two fun facts. The first was that we had actually had a brief conversation at his fraternity party the month before. Roger was tending bar, and I had asked him if he could please strain the orange juice for my screwdriver! We also learned that our mothers were high school classmates, although we grew up 500 miles apart. Roger said that although we clicked immediately, he was not thinking about a long-term relationship. However, I saw the potential. After 50 years of marriage, three children, and six grandchildren, we still cherish the memories of our time together at Washington University, especially homecoming, Phi Sig parties, and Thurtene.
Leslie Davis Niemoeller, AB ’83, and David Niemoeller, AB ’81, MArch ’83, MS ’84
Leslie: I had initially resisted enrolling at Washington University because I wanted to go out of town for college. My parents were concerned about my commitment to academics and made a deal with me: if I completed one successful semester at WashU, I could transfer out of town. Well, from my first days on campus, I loved being at WU and staying was ultimately the best decision of my life. David and I met second semester of my freshman year at a rush party held by his fraternity. I was immediately drawn to him, which was slightly odd because he had a mustache at the time and that was typically a deal breaker for me. Everyone called him “Nemo,” including my sorority sisters. When he called me for our first date, I told my Mom how happy I was that “Nemo” had asked me out. “What’s a Nemo?” she asked quizzically. “Is that a first name or a last name?” I had to tell her that I didn’t know! That date was on February 2, 1980, which is Groundhog Day. I don’t know if it was the holiday or fate, but we’ve been together ever since and will celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary this May. I have always referred to him as David, but when we get together with our WashU friends, it is amazing how quickly I start calling him “Nemo” again.
Mónica O’Malley de Castillo, AB ’06, and Jorge Castillo, AB ’06
Mónica: We spent a lot of time with each other through ALAS [Association of Latin American Students] activities. I was our social chair, and he was the philanthropy chair, which is still pretty indicative of who we are and how we move through the world. We would see each other once a week for board meetings and then at events and just socially, and we became really good friends. I knew he was really special. By the time spring rolled around and it was the yearly Carnaval show, I choreographed the lambada, which is known as “the forbidden dance” because it is so scandalous. That upped our face time together. And so I invited him to my sorority formal that spring. That evening he very formally and sincerely asked me to be his girlfriend. That was in March of 2003. This March, we will have been together 20 years.