graphic reading #WeMetAtTXST

Bobcats share tales of true love they found on campus

By Jacque Crouse

College days are filled with stretching horizons, gaining knowledge, experiencing new things, making friends, learning to navigate life and the world, and sometimes, falling in love. Facebook statistics indicate that 28% of all couples meet in college.

Responses to a social media request to Texas State University alumni show that the tradition of meeting a life partner in college is alive and well among Bobcats and seems to span the decades. Alumni responded overwhelmingly to Facebook and Twitter posts, asking for their “meet cute @ TXST” stories. Here are some of them.

We enjoyed reading them and wish we could publish them all.

couple smiling

Anthony (B.S. ’85) and Elsie Romano (B.S. ’85)
Married 1983

They were physics and chemistry majors and met in 1982 when Anthony, already an assistant in the chemistry department, missed a lab. At the next class, the professor assigned Elsie to teach Anthony how to use a Mettler balance. He already knew how but says Elsie was so cute he decided to let her show him. A San Marcos native, Elsie was engaged to be married. Anthony, one of 10 kids of a single mom from South Texas, was a very driven undergraduate. Despite already having a wedding dress and invitations in the mail, Elsie canceled her engagement before starting to date Anthony.

Today, she is a senior environmental health and safety specialist at Texas State, and he commutes to Washington, D.C., for his job with the Veterans Health Administration. The Romanos have two successful grown sons and like to say that all they have accomplished they have done as a team, which started because Anthony let a cute girl teach him something he already knew.

couple smiling

Danette (B.S. ’02, M.B.A. ’06) and Michael Myers (B.S. ’00, M.B.A ’08)
Married 1995

Dr. Danette L. Myers met her husband, Michael Myers, when they were just kids in Houston. They had some friends in common – but she says he wouldn’t play kickball with her group.

Danette, a sprinter, entered the university on a track scholarship. It wasn’t until they both attended Texas State that they began to date seriously after meeting at a basketball game. Today, Danette is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Health Information Management. In 2019, she earned a doctorate in adult professional community education. Michael Myers, who got his bachelor’s in clinical laboratory science, works in healthcare administration.

The Myers’ didn’t go the regular route for their degrees – as Danette explains they would each take a turn working full time while the other completed a degree. The Myers’, who make their home in San Marcos, have four daughters, ranging in age from 13 to 30.

couple smiling

Joe (B.A. ’01) and Jenni Ward (B.S. ’01)
Married 2005

Joe and Jenni met in 1998. In 2004, Joe took Jenni back to Smith Hall and sat her in the very chair where she was when he first saw her so he could propose. A year later, they were married at Spring Lake. A few years later, they attended the same new staff orientation as they began careers at Texas State. They eventually moved on to other careers.

Joe recently returned as an academic advisor with the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

couple smiling in wedding outfits

Mary (B.S. ’72) and Randy McBeth (B.B.A. ’72)
Married 1972

Mary and Randy met at Texas State 49 years ago. She is a San Marcos girl and a former Strutter who was introduced to her future husband on a blind date. After their wedding, the couple lived in an upstairs apartment of an old house on San Antonio Street. While Randy worked at a pizza place, Mary says she pinched pennies as a student teacher and would get upset with herself for spending as much as $7 on groceries. Randy went to officer training school and became an Air Force pilot during the Vietnam War. The couple lived in Austin, San Antonio, and Houston before opening a business in San Antonio.

Today, the McBeths keep close ties to Texas State. Mary is on the board of directors of Strutters Always.

couple smiling

Eric (B.S. ’13, ’19) and Demi Dyson Leeson (M.S. ’18)
Married 2019

Their story may sound like a fish tale, but it is the real deal. Both are outdoorsy and both like fishing. They met while they were kayak fishing in Sewell Park. They paddled past each other, and Demi said something to him first: “Having any luck?” They went their separate ways and when he paddled back, she had caught a fish. It was 2013 and he had just graduated from Texas State and was pursuing a second degree. She asked him for his phone number. Eric thought Demi was too young, so he was surprised to find out she was a Texas State junior. They are both from small towns in Texas.

On their first date, they packed a picnic and took their dogs to Purgatory Creek Natural Area. Four years after they met, he took her back to Sewell Park to propose.

She is a speech pathologist; he is a general contractor. They still go to Sewell Park to fish and hang out.

couple smiling

T. Lowell (B.S. ’10) and Monica Daigle (B.A. ’12)
Married 2015

Lowell had already graduated and was working as a pilot at the San Marcos Regional Airport when he met Monica in 2011. A group of pilots headed to the Taproom Pub to eat dinner. One guy, a Californian, said it was hard to meet girls. Lowell disagreed. Just then, Monica and a friend walked in after a day of playing volleyball and hanging out in the pool. No makeup, tired-looking, and hungry, they were looking for a place to sit in the packed bar and restaurant. Lowell told his friend to ask them to sit at their table. The girls made it clear they weren’t there to meet guys, just to eat. The men told the girls they were pilots, and Monica said, “Yeah, right.” It was a fun and comical dinner conversation, Lowell remembers. He and Monica exchanged phone numbers.

They now live in New Braunfels with their son, Slade Everett Daigle.

couple smiling with young child

Ricardo “Rico” (B.E.S.S. ’14) and Claire Carlin (B.S. ’13)
Married 2015

Claire and Rico met in 2012 at the Catholic Student Union/Our Lady of Wisdom University Parish through mutual friends. Rico says it took a few months for him to ask her out, even after Claire asked him to drive her to class so she could avoid an uphill walk. He was in the military following graduation, but he is back at Texas State as a graduate student and employee. Rico proposed at the Our Lady of Wisdom and they were married there.

Soon, the couple will have their daughter, Victoria Rory, baptized there.

family smiling

Brian (B.B.A. ’03) and Annie Gilstrap (B.S. ’03)
Married 2002

Annie and Brian lived in a popular student area on Sagewood Trail when they met in June 2000, following their sophomore year. Brian and his brother, Matt, who also attended Texas State, began experimenting with beer making.

Annie says the brothers would drink the results and tried to get her to do the same, but some of the beers were so strong (or strange), she had to pass.   

The final beer product has improved over the years and on Brian’s 40th birthday, Sept. 16, 2016, they opened ETX Brewery just off the square in downtown Tyler. It is the only brewpub in town. The Gilstraps also have their hands full with four children.

young couple smiling at tailgate

Samantha (B.A. ’10) and James McNeal (B.A. ’10)
Married 2017

Samantha and James sat next to each other in a mass communication class. She says they did not hit it off. She is outgoing and can be loud; he’s reserved. She was in a sorority, and he was a long-haired radio station sports director. Samantha says she would try to talk to him, and he ignored her to focus on the class. In his last semester, James was a teaching assistant in her writing class. Samantha got a B. They were not friends until she got a production internship at KXAN in Austin. Her professor said James was in sales there and she should look him up. After graduation, she started working full time at KXAN. They became best friends. 

Together for seven years and married for 2., the couple lives in Austin.

young couple smiling in front of mural

Cassandra Orozco (B.S. ’13) and Leandro Ochoa (B.E.S.S. ’14)
Married 2018

Leandro moved to San Marcos in 2011 from the Rio Grande Valley and wanted someone to show him around. That’s how he met Cassandra, also from the Valley, after they were introduced through a friend at Grins. The couple saw each other for a while before Cassandra had second thoughts about dating Leandro. She thought he had a small-town mentality — part of the reason she moved away from the Valley. A month later she ran into him at a Halloween party. The second chance was all it took, and they became inseparable.

Today, they live in Spring. She is a media specialist in an elementary school, and he is in medical equipment sales.

young couple smiling with baby and dog

Jennifer Cobb (B.A. ’09) and Jordan Peterson (B.S. ’10)
Married 2017

Their best friends were dating and introduced them in 2008. Jordan and Jennifer started dating and continued through their junior and senior years. Jennifer graduated a half year early and went on to graduate school. They broke up in 2011. Jennifer moved to Austin to work as a museum curator, and Jordan moved to Midland to be a petroleum landman. In 2014, they met up in Austin and began a long-distance relationship. They were making long-term plans in January 2016 when Jordan was diagnosed with kidney failure due to an underlying autoimmune disease. Jennifer was tested to be a donor, along with family and friends. She was a match, but doctors believed Jordan’s father was the best option. In July 2016, Jordan had a kidney transplant in San Antonio.

Today they have a son, Wyatt, and live in Midland. Jordan owns his firm with his best friend, who, by the way, managed to reconnect with Jennifer’s best friend. They also are married.

family smiling

Michelle (B.A. ’01) and Greg Harper (B.B.A. ’93)
Married 2004

A San Marcos native, Greg was visiting from Dallas in 2000 when a family outing to the Outback Steakhouse brought him to Michelle’s attention. Greg’s dad struck up a conversation with the hostess, Michelle, then a public relations and mass communication junior. She says Greg’s dad jokingly asked for her phone number, so Michelle looked at Greg and asked if he wanted her number too. Despite a 10-year age difference, the couple agreed that there was chemistry.

He went back to Dallas and they began talking — a lot. He could live anywhere and do his investment job. Three months later, he told her he was moving back to San Marcos.

Today they are the owners of Figaro’s Pizza & Pub, and Michelle is the CEO of United Way of Hays & Caldwell Counties. They have a son, Bryce, and are active members of the Bobcat Club. They attend almost every home football and men’s basketball game (when they are not chasing Bryce at his sporting events).

young couple smiling on football field

Jennifer Iles (B.S. ’13) and Keylan Shannon (B.S. ’14)
Married 2019

Jennifer Iles and Keylan Shannon met in 2009 “smack dab in the middle of LBJ Student Center.” “We were both super involved in Greek life and the Student Senate,” Jennifer says. Before she became a kindergarten teacher, Jennifer worked in admissions at Texas State. Today, Keylan works for Texas State Rentals.

In January, the room in their New Braunfels home dedicated to all things Texas State will become a nursery for their baby Bobcat. They already have a cat named Boko. “As alumni, we now go to alumni events as much as possible, attend many of the basketball and baseball games, and never miss a home tailgate and game.”