We Met at UMass
Tales of alumni who found true love on campus.
Like the Feldbergs, many couples met on their first day on campus.
My husband and I met on the first day of school while living in Coolidge. He walked into my dorm accidentally, looking for someone in the room next door! We have been together since, married since 2001, and have two boys.Lisa Chan Iannetta ’97; married to Michael Iannetta ’97
Day one of move-in, I get enlisted as Mr. Handyman to aid in furniture assembly with the promise of some Hangar wings as a reward. The girl I would someday marry asked if it wouldn’t be too much trouble if I helped put her knockoff IKEA table together.Christopher Malsch ’11; married to Jess (Gordon) Malsch ’11
I met my husband, Steven Greenberger ’11, on move-in day on the third floor of Patterson. Little did I know when I poked my head into his dorm room that day and commented on his funny last name that someday it would be my last name too. We bonded over our love for burritos and Adam Sandler movies and became fast friends.Kira Lew Greenberger ’10; married to Steven Greenberger ’11
My first memory of my fiancé is eating cheeseburgers together on the steps of the Student Union at the Welcome Week barbeque. We met in the BioTAP program in Dickinson Hall when we were freshmen and are now living in Boston working on our PhDs at Harvard and MIT. We will be married this October 2019.Alyson Warr ’15; engaged to John Manteiga ’15
I met my wife on move-in day in 2000 in Greenough. Our rooms were across the hall and we began dating soon after. Eight years later, I proposed by the campus pond. We have two boys and look forward to our 10th wedding anniversary this year. We’re football season ticket holders and brought our oldest to his first game last year.Matthew Raymond ’04; married to Michelle (Chagnon) Raymond ’03
LOVE ACROSS BOUNDARIES
When Anil Shrikhande ’73PhD and Bannu Shrikhande ’73G got married in Memorial Hall in 1972, their families were dead set against it, predicting the marriage would never last.
Forty-six-plus years later, the Shrikhandes laugh about it, but back when they were students, two obstacles to their union—religion and nationality—loomed large. Anil is Hindu; Bannu is Zoroastrian. They came to UMass from countries with a long history of hostility: Anil is from India; Bannu from Pakistan.
“After I married him I went to a rival country,” says Bannu.
The two met through mutual friends. Anil, who was studying for a PhD in food science, often came to Prince Hall to hang out with Bannu’s group of international friends. Bannu, pursuing a PhD in political science, didn’t realize Anil was interested in her. “I was so naïve,” she says, “I couldn’t understand why he kept coming to the dorm.” After a while, Anil asked Bannu’s entire friends group out to eat at Aqua Vitae, one of the area’s finer restaurants. “He went through a lot of difficulty,” she recalls. “We were poor students; he probably didn’t eat much the rest of that week.”
When their friendship blossomed into romance, Professor Anwar Syed, with whom Bannu had studied in Pakistan and who was a father figure to her in the U.S., took Anil aside and questioned him for an hour. “I was terrified,” recalls Bannu.
Even though Professor Syed reported back to Pakistan that their daughter had made a good choice, her parents urged her to “come back and forget about this,” Bannu recalls.
Shrugging off family resistance, the two were married by a justice of the peace in Memorial Hall in July 1972. Bannu wore a red sari and the two exchanged gold bands purchased for $12 at Zayre. Their many UMass friends cooked Indian and Pakistani food for the reception. Professor Syed (now a professor emeritus) and Anil’s mentor, the late Professor Emeritus Frederick J. “Jack” Francis ’54PhD, were groomsmen.
After living in Lincoln Apartments for a year, the Shrikhandes lived for five years in India before returning to the U.S. “The U.S. is where innovation happens,” says Anil. He also realized it would be better to live away from his rather conservative family. “If we wanted to have a happy relationship it would have to be in the U.S.,” he says.
Bannu devoted herself to raising their two boys, while Anil became a food and wine chemistry authority and nutritional industry pioneer, known for developing a standardized grape seed extract that helps maintain normal blood pressure, among other innovations. Until retirement in 2016, he was the president of Polyphenics, in California’s Central Valley, where the Shrikhandes live today.
They attribute the success of their marriage to their mutual accepting, open-minded outlooks, which may also be key to their success as immigrants. “It’s an attitude thing,” says Anil.
The two laugh easily and don’t spend time looking back. As Bannu puts it, “We lead our lives with confidence.”
More Love Across Boundaries
I met my husband, Yahman, who came to UMass from Malaysia, when he was a work-study student at a science lab in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. We married in Jenjarom, Malaysia, in 1996 and are now the parents of two sons. We returned to western Massachusetts in 2007. Currently, our youngest son, Muhammad Yahman, is studying at the Isenberg School of Management.Nancy Craker-Yahman ’90; married to Yahman Tomin ’90
It's a Romantic Campus
Where they met!
Night class in romantic poetry // Buddies program // On the football field: he was a linebacker, I was a cheerleader // Party on Meadow Street // Antonio’s Pizza // Campus CRU RSO // He was in the drumline, I was in the color guard // UMass Forensic Society // B43 Bus // Washing field trip buses for UMass Transit // Whitmore Café // Latin 126 // Worcester Dining Commons // Alpha Tau Gamma-Sigma Kappa mixer // Hampshire Mall movie theater (he was on a date with another girl) // Spain: studying abroad with UMass // Intimate apparel party // Mike’s Westview bar // UMass Poetry society // Working at the Pita Pit // Dissecting rats in Bio 100 lab in Morrill // Hippie Beach // Science and Engineering Library // Football tailgate // Hillel House courtyard // McMurphy’s // Management 101 // CS 311 Algorithms // DU House Valentine mixer // Greek Week lip sync contest // Under a tree at orientationFirst Dates!
Pasta e Basta // Blue Wall // The Hatch // Fitzwilly’s // Judie’s // Viva // Bertucci’s // “While You Were Sleeping”Proposal Spots!
Footbridge over Campus Pond // Edge of Campus Pond // On the UMass Seal (pond side) // Mount Sugarloaf // Between Hamilton and Knowlton (where we each lived when we met) // Outside the library // Trail behind McGuirk // Cross-country course // A special campus bench // Orchard Hill Bowl // In front of Bartlett HallWedding Spots!
Rhododendron Garden behind Durfee // Campus Center // Old Chapel // Newman Center // Mineral Gallery
All in the (UMass) Family
In many families, meeting at UMass is a tradition. Melissa (Kirby) Healy ’13 wrote:
My husband (Matthew Healy ’13) was the weekend chef at the sorority Kappa Kappa Gamma. I lived in the house next to the sorority, so when we first started hanging out, he used to text me on weekend mornings and tell me to come outside so he could sneak breakfast to me. I thought it was the cutest thing! We were married in August 2018.
My parents, Kristen (Johnson) Kirby and Chris Kirby (both class of 1977), met at UMass at the Blue Wall in 1973, back when it was a bar. According to my mom, it was one of the most popular places to hang out. They were married in 1980.
Matt’s grandparents, Judy (Walker) Richardson ’62 and Carl Richardson ’59, met at UMass in 1958. Carl was a senior engineering student and Judy was a freshman, studying to become a teacher. They had their first date at The Hatch. They were married in 1963.
It’s crazy to think that if UMass didn’t exist, I wouldn’t exist. Thank you, UMass, for bringing couples together for generations!
MORE 01003 LOVE STORIES
My friend set me up with her old high school friend. We all met at the dining commons. She neglected to tell me that he had just returned to campus after getting chicken pox. This poor guy with scabs on his face shows up to dinner and I was a bit surprised until he told me what it was. We went to the dead mall to see “Say Anything.” The next year we were both RAs in Central. We celebrated our 26th anniversary last November.
Freshman year, February 1975, she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen. Still is. She’d come to visit friends on fourth floor of Grayson late in the evening. No matter how early my next day’s class was I’d have to hang to be near her. After a date at the Top of the Campus (it was a restaurant then) and extended romance, Linda and I have been together since. Married in 1981, and two sons later, we’ve lived happily ever after. Really. We call our four years (six for me) at UMass one of the happiest times of our lives.
I met my wife, Debbie, while playing basketball at UMass. I went diving for a loose ball and banged into her pretty hard. At the time the Cage was always packed (in the Julius Erving/Al Skinner era) and students would sit five-deep on the sidelines. After the game, I apologized for slamming into her. She went back to her dorm and told her roommates, “l just met the guy I’m going to marry.” We have been married 43 years and have four children and seven grandkids.