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ALUMNI & FRIENDS NETWORK

Are you a Lakeland alumni or student with a campus-inspired love story? Tell us about it here!

Hank and Beth Otlowski (Koors) – 8/26/1972
lakeland love stories

Once upon a time, Lakeland didn't have its own campus, and the student center was in the Cleveland Trust Bank building in Painesville, which is where Hank and Beth spent time together on "campus" when they first met. As students who saw the transition of Lakeland to the new (current) campus in Kirtland, Hank and Beth met while he was at soccer practice on the then-brand-new practice field. The two were married at St. Gabriel Catholic Church in Concord, Ohio, Aug. 26, 1972.

Roger and Laurie Principe (Benson) – 9/18/1976
lakeland love stories

As part of the very first Lakeland student theater production held in the Dr. Wayne L. Rodehorst Performing Arts Center, Roger and Laurie fondly remember their days of theater at Lakeland. Back then, Laurie remembers, Joe McSteen was the theater director and they'd use a makeshift stage in what is now known as the "bunker" in C-Building (C-1075 lecture hall) which they'd have to set up and tear down every night. According to Roger, their relationship has quite a saucy beginning: he once assisted Laurie in a costume change during the musical "The Apple Tree" and he likes to tell people they first met while taking her clothes off!

The two spent time on campus together wherever and whenever possible, with their involvement in the theater serving to bring them even closer together. When it finally came time to take the next step in their relationship, Laurie helped Roger pick out an engagement ring. They were so excited when it was ready, Roger just couldn't wait any longer and made his official proposal to Laurie right there in the Great Lakes Mall parking lot. They were married Sept. 18, 1976, at St. Christine's Church in Euclid, Ohio.

James and Melissa Amspaugh (Chandler) – 10/7/1995

It's been said that nobody can spend too much time at Lakeland, and apparently that was true for Melissa and James. Both students and employees of the college, the two met when James was working in the cafeteria as a student worker where he would talk to Melissa when she'd come in for a bite to eat. The two were married in Madison, Ohio, Oct. 7, 1995, after James got down on one knee during a romantic dinner date.

Greg and Lynn Sanders (Wervey) – 12/27/1996

Both athletes, Greg and Lynn met for the first time in Lakeland's gymnasium. Lynn played for the Lakers on the volleyball team, and Greg liked to frequent the racquetball court and hit the open gym for basketball. They spent most of their time on campus together in the gym, relaxing in the cafeteria and even took a handful of classes together.

After Greg got down on one knee behind the Willowick fire station to ask for Lynn's hand in marriage, in what he calls "a traditional proposal, nothing creative or fancy," the two were married Dec. 27, 1996, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church in Wickliffe, Ohio.

Bill and Lisa Lewins (McClain) – 6/22/1996

On a Saturday morning in January, cold enough to chill the bone (Lisa remembers it was 20 degrees below, and was not happy to be going to class in the cold), Bill and Lisa crossed paths for the first time in Dean Ulsenheimer's English class. The year was 1994 and Breakers was brand-new. It was their favorite place to study together on campus.

Not long after, Bill proposed to Lisa on a Christmas Eve and they were married at Covenant Baptist Church in Wickliffe, Ohio, June 22, 1996.

Ken Potosky and Angie Battistone-Potosky – 6/18/1999
lakeland love stories

Ken and Angie both lived and grew up in Concord Township, where they met as children in elementary school. Years later, while attending Lakeland, they would spend a lot of time together on campus in the cafeteria where Angie says they would talk all day after classes.

When asked about the proposal, Angie says Ken invited her to go cross-country skiing on new year's day in Willoughby. When she arrived, ready to ski, Ken surprised her with a ring hidden in a little Winnie the Pooh "Hunny" porcelain box. He asked her to marry him and she said "Yes!" but wondered why he didn't get down on one knee. Well, Ken said he didn't want his knees to freeze, but that didn't stop them from getting married the very next year on June, 18, 1999 in Euclid, Ohio.

Bill and Kim Fisher (Weinberger) – 10/5/2002
lakeland love stories

Bill and Kim were just two unassuming classmates in a philosophy class until one day Kim said something snarky to the cute guy sitting next to her… when he said something snarky back, his quick wit was so impressive that she was smitten by him in that very moment. After that day, they'd walk the halls of Lakeland together to each other's classes and have been inseparable ever since.

Bill found the perfect place to propose when he took Kim to Disney World. Her favorite Disney movie was "Peter Pan" and so while on the "Peter Pan" theme ride at Magic Kingdom, he popped the question. They were married Oct. 5, 2002, at Lakeside Baptist Church in Painesville, Ohio.

Steve Jones and Brenda Vance – 4/5/2008

An unassuming Spanish class on campus served as the proving ground for a star-crossed Lakeland relationship between Steve and Brenda. Ever a man with an eye for romantic nostalgia, Steve took Brenda back to the original classroom where they'd met to propose to her. He called campus police to have them unlock the room, and had written his proposal on the blackboard in the classroom. Needless to say, the gesture melted Brenda's heart and she said, "Yes!" and they were married April 5, 2008.

Jason and Rebecca Bratton (Schwarz) – 6/2010
lakeland love stories

Lakeland's Athletic and Fitness Center (AFC) was the backdrop for this Lakeland romance. Jason was a basketball player for the Lakeland Lakers, and Rebecca recalls seeing him around the gym for a couple of years before he finally approached her one day while she was exercising and asked her out on a date. They also both took jobs as student workers at the AFC, where they got to spend a lot of time together.

The two were married in June 2010 after their engagement one Friday winter night at a local winery in Geneva.

James and Heather Tokarski (Zenz) – 6/12/2010
lakeland love stories

What place could possibly be better suited to nurture a budding romance than an interpersonal communication class at Lakeland? That's just where Heather approached James for the first time and asked him if he'd like to go on a date. While most of their time together on campus was spent in class, Heather has fond memories of James walking her to class through what they call the "gerbil tunnel" (linking second floor A- and E-buildings. They had such fond memories in that tunnel that they had some wedding photos taken there years later!

Shortly after they met, James planned a romantic vacation to Cancun where he would propose to Heather, but just couldn't wait. Instead he proposed to her at her parents' home because "the ring was burning a hole" in his pocket. After a three year engagement, the couple married at St. John Vianney Church June 12, 2010.

John Cairns and Holly Green – 7/19/2010
lakeland love stories

Although they originally met in geology class, Holly and John spent every day together working out in the gym on campus, or more accurately in a temporary fitness center when the gym was being remodeled. Holly, not one to waste time with frivolous details, initiated her marriage proposal when she set up an appointment at the county courthouse and let John know to meet her there! After getting all the paperwork in order, they married July 19, 2010, in Columbus, Ohio.

Jeff and Gabriel Frank (Rice) – 8/14/2010

Another couple in a long line of Lakeland students who spent time getting to know each other on campus in Breakers, Jeff and Gabriel first met as members of the Lakeland Gamers Guild on a Monday night during a game of Dungeons and Dragons. They married at St. Francis Church Aug. 14, 2010, after Jeff got down on one knee at a romantic Italian restaurant and popped the question.

Scott and Ani Snyder (Loncaric) – 8/27/2011
lakeland love stories

There's just something about Breakers on campus that stirs up budding romances. Of course, Breakers is where Scott and Ani spent most of their time together on campus after meeting in Dr. Prince's English class in 2007. With a certain special flair for beautiful scenery, Scott proposed to Ani on the observation deck of Willis Tower in Chicago, IL, and later married Ani at the Holden Arboretum Aug. 27, 2011.

John and Trista Wright (Cruz) – 5/5/2015
lakeland love stories

This Lakeland Love Story happened on such a razor-thin line that it almost didn't happen at all. As Trista says, "It was fate." Trista was a day student, and John was going to Lakeland at night, but it just so happened that they both signed up for an arts appreciation class at Lakeland East in Madison on a Friday morning; a day and time neither of them typically had classes. It turned out they were both from Geneva, and their families actually knew each other, although these two had never met before.

When John knew it was time to take the next big step in their relationship, he surprised her on a trip down to Naples, FL, to visit his family. He stopped off in Disney World on Trista's birthday to take her to a fancy dinner at an Italian restaurant at Epcot after spending the day exploring. Feigning exhaustion, John said he couldn't stay up to watch the fireworks that night, but as they were walking away he "stopped to tie his shoe," and asked Trista to be his wife – the fireworks still lighting up the night in the background. Of course, she said, "Yes!" and they married by shores of Lake Erie at the Perry Township Community Center at sunset May 5, 2015.

Isiah and Dyan Denmeade (Hamercheck) – 10/28/2017
lakeland love stories

Although they spent a lot of time together on campus, from the nursing skills lab, to the E-Building and library, Isiah and Dyan were actually sweethearts long before they set foot on Lakeland's campus. The couple, who had known each other since middle school, became engaged under a Christmas tree made of lights after they went to see a play. Dyan was so excited at the proposal that she forgot to answer, and Isiah had to ask her to say the words out loud. The two were married Oct. 28, 2017, in Eastlake, Ohio.

Michael Fiebig and Rebecca Hanobik – 12/9/2017

Nature served as the perfect backdrop for this couple's Lakeland love story. Not only did they meet in Dr. Pierce's geology class, but Michael proposed to Rebecca at the very same river they'd visited on one of their class field trips. To top it all off, they were married at the beautiful Manikiki golf course in Willoughby, Ohio, Dec. 9, 2017.

Rob and Elizabeth Stegura (McNeil) – 8/11/2018

The Breakers cafeteria on campus is more than just a place to nourish the body… It's also a place to meet classmates, friends and even lovers. It's where Elizabeth first met Rob, and the rest is history. Along with spending time with one another in classes they shared over the years, Rob would often spend time with Elizabeth in the study space outside her classroom.

When the time came to pop the question, Rob got down on one knee while they were at his mother's house and he even had his little puppy with him for the proposal for an extra dose of cuteness. The two were married Aug. 11, 2018, at their church in Willoughby, Ohio.

Ronald and Katie Gray (Oaks) – 10/21/2019
lakeland love stories

When friendships become romances, it's a truly beautiful thing. Especially when it happens at Lakeland! When Ronald and Katie first met on campus at the Lake Effect Radio station, they were both in their own relationships. Fate spoke up though when they both ended up helping each other work through their breakups and they decided that they were actually perfect for one another.

They spent time together in virtually every corner of campus, from the radio station to the health building, and in student clubs like the Gamers Guild and Anime Anonymous as well. When asked about Ronald's proposal, Katie says, "He just did," and the two were married Oct. 21, 2019, in Painesville, Ohio. 

Alex and Kelly Boyd (Foster) – 10/26/2019
lakeland love stories

Kelly and Alex shared a number of graphic design classes together at Lakeland, but didn't start dating until later on. However, Kelly has fond memories of the two "crushing pretty hard on each other" during those classes, so even though they moved slow, it sounds like they knew something special was in the works even way back then.

It was on Halloween in 2018 that Alex asked Kelly to marry him. He took her down to the gazebo in their neighborhood, dressed in their costumes and all, where he swore his undying love for her and asked her to be his wife. "As if he didn't know," Kelly adds, "I had been waiting to say ‘yes' since we met all those years ago at Lakeland." The two were married less than a year later Oct. 26, 2019, in Silver Lake, Ohio.

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