Many of the couples in attendance met at Mount Mercy or knew each other from high school and enjoyed sharing stories. Sharon Worland Neilly ’78 remembers meeting Bob Neilly ’76 at freshman orientation while he was serving on the orientation committee. Although Bob doesn’t remember meeting Sharon until later, the two eventually began dating and got engaged on campus.
Their engagement story included a few hiccups, as Sharon ended up getting sick on the night Bob planned to propose. She called to cancel their plans, but Bob headed straight to her residence hall and shared his plans of marriage right then and there. The Neillys have been married for 33 years, and have three children and three grandchildren.
Linda Cogil Black ’86 also met her husband, Sam Black ’86, at freshman orientation, but they remained just friends for a few years before dating. They were married shortly after graduating from Mount Mercy, and Linda admits she was surprised where Sam actually decided to propose: Chi-Chi’s, a fun and festive restaurant, albeit slightly less romantic. The couple has been married for 25 years and value their time and education received at Mount Mercy.
Mount Mercy Director of Alumni Relations Mary Gehris said alumni couples who didn’t have a chance to cross paths while in school now share a unique bond after exchanging their funny and endearing stories about how they met and started dating.
“They all had something very familiar in common even though they didn’t know each other when they first arrived. I heard a lot of laughing and sharing,” Gehris said.
This inaugural Valentine’s Day celebration was such a success that plans are underway to continue the tradition next year.
“This event was a great way to show our alumni couples that they are appreciated and loved by Mount Mercy for all they do for us, others, and each other,” Gehris said.