Lakeland Love Stories

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

Dan and Sandy Stevenson (Nord) – 10/10/1970

Dan and Sandy knew each other originally from both attending South High School. But it wasn't until they were at Lakeland that they started dating. Their favorite place to hang out was the bakery just down the street from the Cleveland Trust Building in Painesville, and also in the library between classes. He proposed to Sandy at the Highland Heights tennis courts and were then married Oct. 10, 1970 at the Willoughby Hills Methodist Church.

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.

Jim and Debra Mzik (Zuccoli) - 10/14/1972

Jim and Debra met in an economics class at Lakeland. They have fond memories of attending concerts on the lawn on campus. Jim was in the Air Force, so he proposed to her when he came home on leave. They were married Oct. 14, 1973 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Allen and Christine Price (DiSanto) – 7/6/1973

Al and Christine met in the fall of 1969 at Lakeland. The two were both enrolled in a co-ed gym class and it was clear there was an "immediate attraction." Soon after, there was an auction where the cheerleaders were auctioned off for a charity dash and Al blocked her from being auctioned! At that time, Lakeland was located on the second and third floor of Cleveland Trust Bank in downtown Painesville, so their favorite place to hang out was in the one big common room where everyone hung out between classes. They also spent a lot of time next door at a local bar called Nemeth's. Christine later proposed to Al at lunch time in the cafeteria at Cleveland State University and the two were married July 6, 1973 at St. Mary Magdalene in Willowick, Ohio.

Roger and Laurie Principe (Benson) – 9/18/1976
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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.

Gary and Sally Egner (Scott) – 10/6/1979

Gary and Sally met in nursing school during their obstetrics rotation. They then started dating while they were in a study group to take the state boards to be RNs. Gary proposed to Sally at his apartment after he got back from enlisted basic. They were married in Lyndhurst, Ohio, Oct. 6, 1979.

Jerry and June LaBant (Debevc) – 8/2/1980

June was the captain of the women's basketball team, and Jerry was the captain of the men's basketball team, so they initially met in Lakeland's gym. At Lakeland they liked to spend a lot of time at the gym and at the campus social area/eatery. After June graduated from Lakeland, she went to Baldwin-Wallace University. Right before finals of her senior year there, they were enjoying a campfire and Jerry asked her if this - he pulled out an engagement ring - would help her get through finals, and it did! They were married Aug. 2, 1980, at St. Bede Church in Mentor, Ohio. In 2020, they will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

Mark and Kathleen Hendrick (Balla) – 6/18/1988

Mark and Kathleen met in a business law class. They just enjoyed being together no matter where or what we did on and off campus. Mark proposed to Kathleen while sitting in the lot just north of A-Building near cardiac hill. They were married June 18, 1988.

Gary and Pam Gribbons (Kingery) – 10/19/1991

Pam ended up taking a quarter off from the nursing program to finish her pre-requisites. While running into her sociology class at the bell, there was only one seat left and that was the seat in front of Gary. He then asked Pam if she had studied for the test and the rest is history. Their favorite spot on campus to hang out was the cafeteria. Pam said that the funny thing is that she told her mom that there were a bunch of old men in her class, but Gary was actually younger than she was. At the time Gary was contemplating joining the military because he was not old enough to be hired at a police department. He asked Pam if she would go with him if he joined the military and she said only if they were married. So, Pam picked a date and asked him what he was doing on that day. He didn't go in the military after, but they got married anyway Oct. 19, 1991, in Mentor, Ohio.

John and Susan Hammercheck (Schafter) – 8/22/1992

John and Susan met in the hallway before an algebra class at Lakeland. They loved to hang out at the art gallery and the library back then. John proposed to Susan amidst the romantic backdrop of falling rain at Sunset Pond. They were married at First Church Congregational in Painesville, Ohio, on Aug. 22, 1992.

Kevin and Patty Byrnes (Kostelnik) – 5/13/1995

Kevin met Patty when they sat next to each other in a salesmanship class in the fall of 1994. They enjoyed spending their time on campus in the T-Building. One night, Kevin and Patty went to midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. When they got back to her apartment, he proposed to her as they were sitting under the Christmas tree. They were married May 13, 1995, In Willoughby, 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 – 6/22/1996

On a Saturday morning in January, cold enough to chill the bone (Lisa remembers it as 20 degrees below zero), 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.

The couple's chemistry continued to grow throughout the next year and on Christmas Eve of 1995, Bill proposed to Lisa. The two tied the knot June 22, 1996, at Covenant Baptist Church in Wickliffe, Ohio.

John and Gwen Sevits (Huston) – 7/5/1997

John and Gwen both started working at the bookstore as student workers in August of 1992. Their favorite place to hang out was, of course, the bookstore, but they also remember spending a lot of time in a study room with the plastic chairs that looked like M & M's. He invited her out to a nice dinner and proposed to her when he picked her up for their date. They were married July 5, 1997 at Old South Church in Kirtland, Ohio.

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
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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.

Joseph and Laurie Beckwith (Bosley) – 2005

Laurie started talking to Joseph as they were walking up to the clocktower and he asked "what time is it?" They got to know each other better since they were both enrolled in Mr. Dawson's chemistry class sometime in the late 70s. Their decision to get married was very matter of fact: "We should probably get married after living together for 25 years." The two finally tied the knot in 2005 at the Painesville Court House.

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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Branson and Sam Skidmore (Ciferno) – 6/11/2022

lakeland love stories Branson and Sam were first introduced in the fall of 2015 while taking a painting class at Lakeland. Over the course of the coming months, classmates persuaded them to go out together and the two began dating in January of 2016.

No one could deny the chemistry as Branson and Sam helped out a friend with a portrait photography assignment on campus which turned into hours of laughter as they posed awkwardly in order to get the perfect shot. Branson and Sam got engaged at Chapin Forest which was the first place the two had ever hung out outside of Lakeland. On June 11, 2022, the couple tied the knot at Ransom Sage Farm in Chardon, Ohio.

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