The weekend before Valentine’s Day, 50 alumni couples honored their romantic Wake Forest beginnings and enjoyed campus at Deacs in Love. The couples shared with Wake Forest Magazine their love stories, from a connection made with a borrowed pen in the bookstore to a friendship that began in the most romantic of cities — in Venice, Italy, at Casa Artom.
The couples, alumni from 1961 to 2021, participated Friday in “DEAC Crawl: Drinks, Eats & Arts across Campus,” and learned about the Mark H. Reece (‘49, P ’77, ‘81, ‘85) Collection of Student Acquired Contemporary Art. They concluded the evening in a candlelit Green Room with cherries jubilee with ice cream, coffee and prosecco.
Another art experience provided both beauty and entertainment to guests on Saturday. Blair Newsome, first-year student and Presidential Scholar in visual arts, created a painting live at the Deacs in Love luncheon. The multigenerational crowd enjoyed lunch, conversation, heart-shaped macarons and chocolate-covered strawberries.
Some couples experienced Deacs in Love for the first time, while others made return visits, including Brad Shugoll (‘13) and Mary Alyce McCullough (’13, MD ’17), who got engaged in 2016 at Deacs in Love and recently welcomed their first son.
“It’s just really great to sustain this event for so many years — just to reengage in it through different parts of our relationship now,” Brad said. “It really just weaves Wake Forest into our story in a unique and special way.”
Edward Tweedy (‘67) and Pat Foust Tweedy (‘69) met 58 years ago. Their story begins in the bookstore during Pat’s freshman year.
“I got in the checkout line, after being in many lines all week, realized I had no pen to write my check, turned to the guy behind me (Edward) and asked to borrow a pen,” Pat says.
“She walked out the door,” Edward recalls, “… and when I came out there, there she was wandering around the Quad (near) the boys’ dorm.” Edward, two years older, pointed Pat toward the women’s dorms. “I had gone back and told all my suitemates that I met this girl in the bookstore.”
After more encounters at church and through mutual friends, Pat and Edward stopped by the post office in Poteat after a chapel service one Tuesday. As they walked onto the Quad, Edward suggested they go to lunch in the Magnolia Room.
Though they broke up for a summer, they were soon back together. They were engaged in October of Pat’s junior year, married in August and moved into married student housing for Pat’s senior year at Wake Forest.
After Pat’s graduation, they traveled, had three children and lived in Ireland for five years before moving to Greensboro, North Carolina. They’ve returned to campus to enjoy events, such as Call to Conversation, and to reflect.
“The buildings have really changed. … The post office is somewhere else, and everything’s moved around,” said Edward. “But one thing that is still right where it was, … the basement of that dorm where the students go buy the textbooks!”
JP Rotchford (‘13, MSA ‘14) and Lauren Hiznay (‘13) first met while tangoing their way to an A in adjunct professor Robert W. Simpson’s social dance class. A mutual friend managed to arrange for her group of friends to share an exam time, and JP and Lauren were paired together. “We got grouped together by fate and friendship,” Lauren says.
They stayed friends at Wake Forest but did not fall in love under the magnolia trees, Lauren says. That came in New York City after graduation. They enjoyed watching Wake Forest games at local bars with the Demon Deacon alumni community. A favorite memory was ferrying on the Hudson to West Point with other alumni for a Wake Forest vs. Army football game.
They started as “concert buddies.” “It was kind of a slow realization for both of us, and we’re like, ‘This is the person I enjoy spending time with the most,’” JP says.
In New York, they saw a rooftop exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on their first date, went to shows, tried new cuisines and hung out with their Wake Forest roommates and friends.
Lauren and JP married in September 2022 surrounded by their crew of Wake Forest friends, and they live in Raleigh with their dog, who is appropriately named Maxie Magnolia.
David Blackshear (’93) and Jacquie Piasecki Blackshear (’93) had the same soundtrack to college: Hootie & the Blowfish, Dave Matthews Band, Drivin N Cryin, Spin Doctors, Southern Culture On the Skids. They both went to Winston-Salem’s Baity Street music clubs like Ziggy’s all the time, though they never noticed each other. “I guarantee we were within 10 feet of each other a hundred times,” says David.
They didn’t become more than acquaintances until April of their senior year, just the month before they would find themselves on the Quad for Commencement. In search of a date to her upcoming Strings Society party, Jacquie chose a guy — David — who was friends with others going to the party.
“I would be an easy, low maintenance date,” David says. “We ended up hanging out all night.”
They dated in Winston-Salem after graduation, until David got a job offer that required him to move to Minnesota.
“No internet, no mobile, no nothing. Long distance was a real thing,” says David. “We had to use the calling cards. … We earned a lot of points with AT&T.”
“But then Dave came back for Homecoming,” recalls Jacquie. “That was when you asked me to marry you.”
He had flowers in hand when she picked him up from the Greensboro airport. Having no idea what was to come, Jacquie requested her craving for dinner: “something crunchy.” Nachos it was, plus a couple beers. When they got back to Jacquie’s apartment, David proposed.
After living in Virginia, they moved back to North Carolina in 2006, just in time to watch the Demon Deacons win the Orange Bowl. In Nashville, North Carolina, they are close enough to come back for football and basketball games and to tailgate with friends. Winston-Salem is one of their favorite spots to watch live music — and has been since their college days.
David Hartness (‘86, P ‘20) and Susie Taranto Hartness (‘88, P ‘20) met Susie’s senior year, after David graduated, when David came to pick up one of Susie’s roommates, Treva Davis Stack (‘87), for dinner as friends. While he waited on Treva to finish getting ready, David found himself chatting with a girl in blue shell shorts and a t-shirt. Susie was “easy to talk to. And she’s always been that way,” David says.
David and Treva’s dinner conversation was dominated by talk of Susie. “It took me a couple of weeks to get the nerve up (to ask her out), and I did,” David recalls. “And thankfully she said yes. And then she said yes later.”
Susie and David’s first date in October 1987 was dinner at the Carriage House and a movie, “Baby Boom.”
While dating, Susie and David grew close to his aunt and uncle, Glenda Hartness Weber (’61, MD ’65) and Wayne Weber (‘55). Wake Forest “was part of the special bond that we had with Uncle Wayne and Aunt Glenda.”
David went to Susie’s graduation on the Quad in May before Susie moved to Hickory, North Carolina, to work.
“I decided I was going to break up with him,” Susie says, “so I drove to Winston. I broke up with him. I drove back to Hickory.”
“I’d gone to bed, and I got out a little notepad, and I started writing down all the reasons why, ‘well, you can’t break up with me for this reason or that reason,’” David says, “I just got in the car.” He drove to Hickory and climbed up a balcony to Susie’s second-floor apartment to knock on the sliding glass door.
“He had stuff to say,” says Susie, “ … and here we are.”
It has been 31½ years since Susie and David were married in Wait Chapel. Treva, who unintentionally connected them, sang at the wedding.
It was right in front of the place his parents were married that Jonathan Hartness (‘20) proposed to Alison Scarlett Hartness (‘20) in 2021. While making plans to propose in front of Wait Chapel on Feb. 20, he had no idea that it was Alison’s parents’ wedding anniversary.
They got to know each other gradually their sophomore year.
Once, they were working on homework with friends. The group spontaneously decided to explore Wait Chapel, led by Jonathan, who had a key to the tower as a carillonneur. When their friends backed out at the last minute, Jonathan and Alison found themselves having their first serious conversation in the tower of Wait Chapel.
Their senior year presented challenges, namely a knee surgery for Alison a week before students were sent home due to the COVID pandemic. “There were so many ways that I got to see how Alison responded to hard situations like that,” says Jonathan, “and how her faith grew in situations like that, that I wouldn’t have gotten to see if everything would’ve been fine and great.”
They married in September 2021 and enjoyed weaving in Wake Forest details, from gold and black cookies to an envelope liner of Wait Chapel on their wedding invitations. Jonathan played basketball on campus with his friends the morning of the wedding — a nod to the way his father spent the morning of his own wedding.
Keith Sherman (’75, MBA ’78, P ’06, ’10) and Karen Grove Sherman (’76, P ’06, ’10) were in a classics class taught by professor John Andronica (P ’89, ’92). “Later that semester, we had both, unbeknownst to one another, applied to Venice,” Keith says. “I was very pleased to see that, I have to say.”
At Casa Artom in Italy, they got to know each other in groups, playing games and listening to albums — Elton John, John Denver, Judy Collins.
“By the time we came back to Wake Forest, I felt like I knew him pretty well, and I was quite interested in him, but I did not show it,” Karen says.
Keith asked her out upon returning to campus. “Perseverance paid off,” he says. They have been married 44 years.
Being “practical,” as Karen says, they never bought engagement rings. For their 25th anniversary, though, Keith decided to buy Karen a diamond ring. “I was talking to Jack (Clayton ’75, P ’09, his roommate who also attended Deacs in Love) about it, … and he says, ‘You ought to buy one with three diamonds.’ We have three daughters.”
On their 25th anniversary trip back to where it all began – Venice – Keith decided to recreate a De Beers diamond commercial. In the middle of St. Mark’s Square, he yelled out, “I love this woman!” and presented Karen with the ring.
John Reynolds (‘04) and Huey-Tyng Sun Reynolds (’04) met in an unconventional spot on campus: the pool in Reynolds Gymnasium. Huey-Tyng was going for a leisurely swim, but John was on a mission: to learn to pass the swim test for ROTC.
“He had his goggles on, and he was just so focused and so intense,” Huey-Tyng recalls.
A mutual friend was teaching John how to swim that day, so he made the introduction, though not much came of it while they were students.
“We probably had a handful of words at any given encounter,” John says. (They shared their story before having to cancel their trip this year to Deacs in Love last-minute.)
In July 2007, John, who was in the Army, had leave between his deployments and was visiting some friends in Washington, D.C. John knew through MySpace that Huey-Tyng lived in the area and reached out to invite her to hang out with a group of friends.
“We had not talked while we were in school, but then all of a sudden we couldn’t stop talking to each other,” Huey-Tyng says.
They live in the Washington, D.C., area with their two young children, for whom they have a tasty tradition: a trip to Krispy Kreme for their first birthday. “All because that’s where we met, in Winston-Salem,” John says, “so that’s always been a big thing for us to celebrate.”
Are you #DeacsinLove? Share your photo and story to the Office of Alumni Engagement’s 2023 #DeacsinLove photo contest by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15. Learn more here.