@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

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Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Campus Currents: UCSD Stories
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
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Campaign Update: Imagine the Future
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors

Campus Canoodling
Class Conscious
Summer Splash
Steppin' Out
Hittin the High Notes

Making Waves
He's Got the World in His Hands
Din the Depths
Scalable City
Polyprophylene Pyramid
Red Revolution On I-15

Features May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2

Campus Canoodling


Although they resisted an amorous entanglement, they got to know each other over the years in a series of unromantic locales—such a predawn line at the San Diego office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, where they were both applying for American citizenship. “The cold and sleepiness never bothered us because we always had something to talk about, even at 4 a.m.,” says Nancy, who, like Sergio, was born in Mexico. Another place they remember fondly: the Gilman parking structure. After Sergio started a Mexican dancing group, he asked Nancy to join and they practiced together “anywhere on campus where they wouldn’t kick us off,” recalls Nancy. Since they didn’t have a portable stereo, they’d park the car in the Gilman structure, open the doors, pop Mexican folk songs into the CD player and dance.

“These were our non-dates,” says Nancy. “And they left time for us to grow. College is such an amazing time to be on your own.” Only after they graduated did Sergio finally make his move, and the couple married in 2006. “I didn’t think I would be married by this age,” says Bernal, now 26. “But when the perfect guy comes along, what can you do?”

Sometimes, it’s the fluorescent glare of the classroom that ignites passion. In 1998, Revelle junior Ryan Drenan, ’00, admired former ballerina Briana Farrand, ERC ’00, and her hip sneakers from his seat in Cog-Sci 115. But he felt too intimidated to approach her. “She’d wear sweatshirts with her sorority letters on them and I thought, Oh, she’s out of my league,” says Drenan. “I consider myself a bit of a nerd and that was my warped impression.”

Then, Briana decided Ryan “looked smart,” and asked him to study with her. It wasn’t just a flimsy ruse to get to know him: “I actually just wanted to study with him,” says Briana firmly. Nonethe-less, studying led to Jamba Juice dates at the Price Center, and three years later, they married.

For Patti Orozco, Revelle ’99, and Matt Cronin, Muir ’99, the connection came through campus politics. They were introduced in 1985 as they walked towards a bus that was taking them to the Student Affirmative Action Committee retreat in the mountains. Matt—who was involved in the era’s antiapartheid movement —was covering the meeting for The Guardian, and Patti was representing the Women’s Resource Center. On that fateful ride, they discussed Henry David Thoreau’s Walden and “an interesting thing happened between Matt and me that continues to this day,” Patti says. “I think people who were with us that weekend would say we argued vehemently. But we’re both passionate about our beliefs and we share a lot of core values.” Despite the heated debates—or perhaps because of them—they were together more or less constantly after that, and married in 1991.

Some couples, however, don’t feel that kind of instant attraction. Math majors Dave Ford, Warren ’90, and Diane Scandura, Revelle ’90, first met in 1987. “She thought I was an arrogant jerk because I was,” says Dave. “And I didn’t think much of her. No sparks. Nothing!” Attending the same church, they learned to tolerate each other and became friends. Then, not long after they graduated and were both living in Los Angeles, something changed. “We’d both taken ballroom dancing at UCSD so I thought she’d be a good person to ask to my boss’s wedding,” says Dave. “That’s when the scales fell from my eyes.” A year later he proposed at a Valentine’s Day dance on the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, singing Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World.”

“I love that she’s a woman of convictions,” says Dave. “I love that she’s not reserved. She’s loud—and I like that! We do karaoke, scream and dance a lot.” Why did it take him so long to recognize that he’d found his soul-mate? “When we met I was really immature,” says Dave. “But I made significant progress.” After 14 years and two children, the couple that once couldn’t stand each other now teaches marriage classes. Ford’s cardinal rule: “Find out what your spouse needs, and meet those needs. Don’t just meet the ones that are the same as yours.”

Like the Fords, Erin Johnson, Warren ’93, and Johathan Shade, Warren ’93, had to wait before their romance bloomed. “He knocked on the door and asked me to join his inner-tube water polo team,” says Erin, who grew up in the Monterey Bay area. “He seemed like a nice guy but I just wasn’t interested. The usual kind of guy I went out with was a surfer and Nathan was really interested in computers and alternative music. He asked me out and I said, I’d love to be friends, but . . . I tried to let him down easily but I didn’t do a good job.”

So began one of those intense, confusing “just friends” relationships. “He became my best friend,” says Erin. “Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks. He was giving me a massage and I realized: This is not a normal massage. Why am I feeling this way?”

Nervously, she explained her change of heart to Nathan, who, fortunately, was still carrying a torch. “We used to hang out at the Grove Caffe,” says Erin. “He got me started on coffee. I was cramming for finals, having a hard time staying awake and he said, I’ll order you something I guarantee you’ll like. It was a mint mocha-like dessert. I drank mint mochas up the ying-yang, and pretty soon I could drink a mocha, then a latte, then drip, and now we live in Seattle.”

“I’m kind of a party girl and he was more serious,” says Erin, who married Nathan in 1993. “When I found him, I settled down. It was like I was home.”

Places in the Heart
Campus locations and traditions seem to hold a special place in the hearts of many of our respondents. Mike Houston Marshall ’01, and Tina Wang, Muir ’01, fell in love while studying for CS20 in Winter Quarter 1998. They returned to campus during Christmas 2005 and Mike proposed to Tina in front of the HSS building.

Angela Theriault, Revelle ’01, first noticed Hugo Garcia, Warren ’02, in Poli Sci lectures and they both felt so strongly about their campus ties they decided to marry at the Faculty Club in August 2004.

And it was that old Sun God who played cupid when Jennifer Armstrong, Warren ’96, first met Jason Wells, Muir ’95. Jason had a freshman Sun God party in his Muir dorm room and Jennifer stayed to help clean up after everyone left.

Scripps pier starred as the wedding chapel for Britt Raubenheimer, SIO ’96, and Steve Elgar, SIO ’85. They loved Scripps so much they got married unofficially on the pier. They were having a meeting of technicians, students, and scientists during a field experiment. “As long as we were all meeting on the pier,” Steve writes, “we decided we may as well get married.”

Joseluis Frausto, Marshall ’01, met Elisabeth Eva Komarek, Warren ’02, through mutual friends in March 1999, and asked her for a date when he dropped her off at her car in east Parking. Five years later, in February 2004, Joseluis proposed to Elisabeth in the same UCSD parking lot.

Many relationships begin their first act on campus and have their denouement in some other locale. Neta Retter, ERC ’05, and Edan Wernik, Revelle ’03, got married in Israel, in September 2006, after first meeting at a pro-Israel peace rally on campus in spring 2002.

And then there’s the Alpine fondue proposal. Michelle E. Johnson, Warren ’01, and Andrew Casad, Warren ’01, served as student ministers together in the UCSD Catholic Community. Then in January 2000, while both were abroad for their junior year, they met up in Interlaken, Switzerland, where Andrew proposed over a pot of fondue.

Joe Leventhal, Marshall ’99, had just been elected A.S. President for the ’98-’99 term when he hired Erin Patrick, Revelle ’99, for a Director of PR position. A few years later Erin was preparing for a business trip to Washington, D.C. and noticed on the UCSD’s alumni site that Joe was the president of the Washington, D.C. chapter. They agreed to meet for drinks – and Joe confessed he had had a crush on her in college. He courted her for eight months before proposing marriage at the Hotel del Coronado.

Frosh Love

Some married couples who met at the very beginning of their freshman year still keep the flame of frosh love alive. Leslie November, Warren ’82, and Jon Goetz, Warren ’82, met September 1978 during Welcome Week and scheduled their spring quarter classes to be done by 10 a.m. each day, so they could take the free bus to La Jolla Shores and “study” every afternoon. Ric Ricard, Revelle ’85, and Melissa Ricard, Muir ’84, met at Summer Bridge, ate at the Rathskellar and spent nights studying and napping at the library between scuba classes and field trips to Mexico. Ryan Woodman, Warren ’05, and Mara Evans, Warren ’05, met in September 2001 during a freshman square dance. “When it came time for the eight of us to mix and “swing our partners”
I looked forward to Do-Sa-Doing with Ryan.” By the end of September they were dating and they are still together. And some 20 years earlier, in 1977, Lori Lennon, Revelle ’81, and Harley Bassman, Muir ’81, met at their own freshman orientation. “He was Handy Harley and I was Lucky Lori in the name game,” Lori writes. “Corny, I know, but it has stood the test of time.”

Other couples went through the “friends-first” interlude before dating. Although Karen Garcia, Muir ’84 says it was “crush at first sight” when she first met Matt Belshin, Muir ’82, her freshman orientation leader. they did not date for two years and then she says it was the sunset walk to the cliffs above Black’s Beach that was the clincher. Susan Shaw, Warren ’85, and Laura Giddings, Warren ’85, met on their way to take the math placement test at UCSD during freshman orientation in June 1981 and were best friends during college. However they reunited and became a couple
in December 1993.

Jennifer Reese is a freelance writer living in the Bay Area.



More Canoodling Stories


"It's safe to venture a guess that the campus has also served, over 47 years, as the eucalyptus-scented backdrop to many thousands of love stories."