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7 Sewanee Love Stories to Inspire You This Valentine’s Day

On today’s college campuses, a real date or even the notion of “dating” has become increasingly antiquated – a mere notion of the past. With the “hook-up culture” reigning strong, it seems as though romance is just not a “thing” anymore, and that chivalry may honestly be (gasp!) dead. Fortunately, there is hope! The following seven Sewanee couples share their stories of love and friendship that are sure to win over the hearts of even the most severe of disbelievers. Love is definitely still a “thing”. 

1) Clay and Patrick Morrel

Bride: Clay Riley Morrell C’ 07

Groom: Patrick James Morrel C’07 

Hometown of Bride: Bristol, VA 

Hometown of Groom: Raleigh, NC

How we met:  Patrick and I met Freshman year and actually had our first kiss during Fall Party weekend that year. We began dating shortly after and pretty much dated until we got engaged almost 8 years later in the summer of 2010 in Charlotte, NC, where we now live. 

The Wedding: We were married in All Saints’ on June 25, 2011 and had our reception at the  Sewanee Inn.

Click for more photos from Clay and Patrick’s beautiful Sewanee wedding!

2) Rebecca and Jonathan Moody

Name of Bride: Rebecca Rose Mooradian C’11

Name of Groom: Jonathan Alan Moody C’11

Hometown of Bride: Nashville, TN

Hometown of Groom: Nashville, TN

How we met: Jonathan and I actually met when we were 10 years old in Nashville and began dating when we were 14. We dated throughout high school, decided independently to come to Sewanee, and continued dating throughout our 4 years of college.

The Proposal: Jonathan proposed at Tremlett Spring in Abbo’s Alley the summer after our Junior year. 

The Wedding: We got married at the gazebo in Abbo’s Alley in June after graduation. After our wedding, we lived in France for one year thanks to a fellowship I received from the Sewanee French Department. Currently, I am a part-time French teacher at the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, and I also recently finished writing a novel, and Jonathan is finishing his master’s in Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University. We play music (Forest Mountain Hymnal – forestmountainhymnal.bandcamp.com), raise chickens on our half-acre lot, and last December (2013) we celebrated the birth of our son Edmond. 

Click here for more gorgeous photos from Rebecca and Jonathan’s wedding!

3) Catherine and Andy Olivo

Bride: Catherine Rich Outten

Groom: David Andrew Olivo (Andy)

Bride’s Hometown: Roper, NC

Groom’s Hometown: Nashville, IN

How we met: In 2011, I was serving my second year as lay chaplain at Sewanee and decided to audit a class at the School of Theology. C.S. Lewis was taught by a friend of mine, Rob MacSwain. The first day of class, I forgot my reading (oops!) and the guy next to me gave me his. We sat next to each other all semester, but didn’t really talk until he invited me to his graduation (from seminary) party. We really hit it off, and luckily after his graduation he was only as far as Chattanooga. We began dating that summer.

The Proposal: On October 20, 2012, I was visiting Andy in Chattanooga. I had volunteered to help with a Sewanee and Blue Monarch event at the Children’s Discovery Museum downtown. Andy came along, and we had so much fun! Afterwards, we went to my favorite restaurant, the 212 Market. I was exhausted from the fun-filled morning, but Andy really wanted to go to the Knitting Mill Antique Mall. I had been looking for a tiny, pretty pill box to hold my vitamins in my purse. After hours (literally) of searching, I found the one! It was kind of scuzzy looking, but it would do the job. After shopping, we went back to his apartment, and I took a nap. When I got up, we started cooking dinner together. When the baked ziti was in the oven, I got on the floor to play with his dog, Teddy. Andy sat down next to me, and said he had managed to get the pill box clean and shiny. I was excited because I didn’t think it would look that good. I opened it up, and there was a ring inside. I thought he was joking and started laughing and closed it. But when I looked at his face, I realized he was serious! I immediately tackled him and kissed him and laughed some more. Then, I said yes. We sat on the floor for a really long time just smiling and looking at the ring. Then we realized we were both overwhelmed, so we had to go outside and get some air. It was such a wonderful day. Neither of us expected it to happen then– Andy had been carrying the ring in his pocket for weeks and realized as he was cleaning the pill box that it was a perfect fit!

The Wedding: On July 6, 2013 Andy and I were married in All Saints’ Chapel in Sewanee. It was 4th of July weekend and we were so excited to have all of our friends and family present. It rained almost the entire time, my dress is brown with mud from the knees down, and it was the most fun I have ever had!

Click to see more photos from Catherine and Andy’s beautiful Sewanee wedding!

4) Tamra and Ross Badgett

Bride: Tamra Stegall Badgett C’10

Groom: Ross Badgett C’10

Hometown of Bride: Fulton, MS

Hometown of Groom: Dallas, TX


How We Met (from the bride): My husband, Ross Badgett, and I met more than 6 years ago as Freshmen in Professor McCahill’s Humanities section. One could say Professor McCahill unknowingly set us up. She assigned a Beowulf project, and Ross and I signed up to present on the same part of the book, thereby making us partners. The funny thing is, we never prepared for that presentation.  Although he friended me on Facebook, we didn’t find time to work together. Miraculously, we made it through our presentation by pulling from what we’d remembered from high school.  Presenting sparked a friendship between Ross and I, and we spent many spring semester nights hiking all over campus and to various Sewanee overlook points by moonlight.  We would talk all night watching the moon slowly cross the sky while getting to know one another until dawn lit up the mountain. I remember being both exhausted but elated many mornings that semester.  I also remember move-out day of freshmen year…Ross embraced me in a hug and we promised to maintain our closeness throughout the summer. Back and forth the handwritten letters went that summer until we were back on the mountain to begin our Sophomore year. Less than a week into our Sophomore year we made our relationship just that, a relationship. Over the next three years Sewanee nurtured us and our love. We were able to see one another through the lens of service as we worked several times on NOLA Spring Break trips. We took some of the same classes, getting to spar with one another on an academic level. I got to see Ross become president of DKE and he came to my Perpetual Motion performances. Sewanee was a paradise for us, giving us opportunities to interact that could not have been replicated elsewhere. We weathered first semester of our junior year abroad, as he explored the European continent through European Studies, and I spent my days in Aix-en-Provence, France through IAU.  Senior year was the most nerve-wracking in our relationship. We looked forward into the unknown of adulthood while I contemplated accepting the Wheat Grant from the French Department. The grant would send me to France for another year, maybe two. It was the ultimate testament to his confidence in us and our future that Ross encouraged me to go to France after Sewanee. When I completed another B.A. there and spoke of returning home as a full-fledged young adult, I could not have been happier to follow Ross’ advice and move to his hometown of Dallas, Texas.

The Proposal (from the groom): My wife is pretty good at sniffing out surprises, so I had to make the proposal a total secret.  I knew I wanted to propose at Sewanee, a place that has been so central to developing our relationship, but I figured an impromptu trip there would arouse suspicion.  That’s why I decided to propose during Homecoming weekend 2012.  I’ve had long days, but none longer than that Friday.  I had planned to propose after dark, so that I could employ hundreds of candles to set the mood.  We got in to Nashville at 10:00 in the morning.  We picked up the rental car and meandered our way up to Sewanee.  I was doing my utmost to kill time: I drove like an old lady, we stopped for lunch along the way, etc., but we still got to Monteagle before noon.  Ugh!  I was already starting to go crazy- the wait was killing me!  I even suggested that Tamra get some work done during the afternoon to kill some time.  Finally, later in the afternoon, I suggested that we head over to my old fraternity, Delta Kappa Epsilon, to catch up with some friends.  Tamra agreed.  We caught up with old friends at the fraternity house, including one my my best friends, James Riley.  I found a private moment to let James know what I was up to, and spent the rest of my time at the fraternity house making anxious/agonized faces at him when Tamra’s back was turned.  After a couple of hours, it was time for dinner, so Tamra and I headed to Crust with James.  I know what you’re thinking: Crust- what a romantic place to eat before a proposal!  I know, I know.  But in an effort to keep the proposal a complete surprise for Tamra, I decided to make everything seem ordinary.  So we had pizza and beer for dinner. Before we were dating, Tamra and I got to know each other by taking long walks around Sewanee’s campus together.  One of the first places we went, and one of our favorite spots from then on, was Morgan’s Steep.  I’d set up the proposal by requesting to Tamra that we take a nighttime walk for old time’s sake.  I’d gotten my little brother, Majors, to take a friend and go set up the candles on the Steep ahead of us.  Tamra and I parked at the SUT to begin our walk.  As we approached the Steep,  lots of lit candles came into view.  Tamra looked at me wide-eyed and said, “I think we’re interfering with someone’s romantic night!”  She still didn’t get it.  We stepped out onto the Steep, amidst all the candles, and I began to give my prepared speech.  But I didn’t get far before I’d forgotten every bit of what I rehearsed.  Finally I got down on one knee and proposed in French like I’d practiced (Tamra was a French major and is now a French teacher).  Tamra said yes.  As we hugged and celebrated, suddenly two shapes materialized in the woods, 20 feet from where we were.  “What did she say?  We couldn’t hear!”  My brother and a good friend, Willis Hurst, had been hiding in the woods the whole time.  We celebrated with champagne on the Steep before heading back to campus.  October 26, 2012 is certainly a night that I’ll never forget!

5) Beckett Scott and Anthony Caskey

Bride (to be!): Beckett Scott C’14

Groom: Anthony Caskey C’ 11

Hometown of Bride: Memphis, TN

Hometown of Groom: Baton Rouge, LA 

How they met: We met waiting to go to the class we shared together. I was very shy, but thank goodness he is so outgoing! 

The proposal: We got engaged over Christmas break while playing on the White Sand Dunes in New Mexico. I thought we were heading down the dunes, so I turned around to leave. He got my attention and when I turned back around he was down on one knee! It was so perfect, sweet, and just us. I immediately said yes! 

6) Becca Clements and Skip Aymett

Bride (to be!): Rebecca Clements C’14

Groom: Skip Aymett C’12

Hometown of Bride: Roswell, GA

Hometown of Groom: Memphis TN

How they met: Skip and I met during PRE, he was on PRE staff, and I was an attending freshman. During orientation week, he convinced me to join the fencing class and by the second week of my freshman year we were dating. 

The Proposal: Two and half years later (this past April 2013) Skip took me out to High Point and then to go look out at the stars, something we had always enjoyed doing before Skip graduated. While we were out looking at the sky, Skip got up on one knee and asked me to marry him! 

The Wedding: We are getting married this summer on June 14th at All Saints’ Chapel in Sewanee.

7) Hope Faulk and Vincent Leary

Bride(to be!): Hope Faulk

Groom: Vincent Leray

Hometown of Bride: Shelbyville, TN

Hometown of Groom: Amory, MS

How they met (from the groom): Hope was up for Merit Weekend her senior year of high school, and I talked to her for just a second in the Pub.  She doesn’t remember this, but I do.  I didn’t really see her again until exactly one year later.  Our friend groups began to merge, and I attempted to sit with her at lunch (“with” meaning “beside”; as a 1-on-1 lunch was far too intimidating, I needed to water down our first interactions with small groups).  One afternoon, it was raining like all hell and her options were to 1) walk back to Gorgas without a jacket, or 2) take me up on my gallant offer to come hang out in my gross fraternity house.  She chose the latter.  Her feet were cold, so I sat on them for her.  She also grabbed a pair of my pants (we were both soaked), which soon became a favorite of hers. I took her on a date (she hated the food, and I had to leave early and even asked her to bring my stuff to work that I had forgotten), we studied together a few times, she hung out with my weird, nerdy friends and she stayed with me one night.  The next morning she helped me pack for a Spring Break outreach trip, throughout which we talked for hours every night on the phone.  I got back from Spring Break, went to see her family in Shelbyville a few days later, and that was it.  

The Wedding: We are getting married on a bluff near Sewanee this summer, looking out over the coves. 

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