15 LMU Love Stories for Valentine’s Day

UNIVERSITY NEWS | Happy Valentine’s Day, Lions! Celebrate the day with these 15 LMU love stories, courtesy of the LMU Magazine archives.

1. Ryan Lucke ’04 and Suzanne Pompili ’04

Every year they got closer, but Suzanne Pompili ’04 and Ryan Lucke ’04 had to travel halfway around the world to meet. As sophomores at LMU, Pompili lived on the fourth floor of Rains Hall; Lucke, on the first floor. The next fall, Pompili lived on the third floor of O’Malley; Lucke, on the first floor. But their proximity got them nowhere. Then, each decided separately to spend spring semester in Study Abroad in Bonn, Germany. Read more.

2. B. Kevin Brown ‘08, M.A. ‘11 and Megan McCabe

We’ve all probably wondered what theologians do when they date each other. Kevin Brown ’08, M.A. ’11 left his L.A. home to pursue a Ph.D. in systematic theology at Boston College. There he met his future wife-theologian, Megan McCabe. So, what did they do upon fatefully meeting? Read more.

3. Bill Kenney ’72 and Stephanie Mayer ’74 

Stephanie Mayer ’74 and Bill Kenney ’72 met as students. In July 1974, weeks after Stephanie graduated, they were married at Sacred Heart Chapel. It must have been a perfect day: formal ceremony, beautiful church, 135 guests, stunning weather and views from the bluff. But the Mustang is the first hint of unusual, surprising details that become part of this wedding story and its charm. Read more.

4. Bryant Verador ’06 and Shalimar Zabanal ’06  

When Shalimar Zabanal ’06 found the replica of Aladdin’s lamp, she suspected some magic was coming. The lamp was part of a series of clues for a scavenger hunt her mother had devised. The clues were scattered around Kualoa Park on Oahu in Hawai’i, where she grew up. The reason for the outing to Kualoa Park was to take a family photo, and the game was just for fun; her mom, Leorosie, enjoys doing things like that. Shalimar had no reason to suspect anything unusual was about to happen. Her boyfriend, Bryant Verador ’06, was back in L.A., or so she thought. Read more.

5. Rod Quartararo ’73 and Jean Sever ’73

The serene winter landscape of Lake Tahoe was a memorable setting for a relationship to begin. The camaraderie of college classmates on a ski trip lent a festive atmosphere as Rod Quartararo ’73 and Jean Sever ’73 met and began to talk. They connected right away, well enough that they could survive a less-than-romantic first date. Read more.

6. Maritza Barrera ’01 and Cesar Ramirez ’01

This was not the way Maritza Barrera ’01 wanted to spend the day with her boyfriend, Cesar Ramirez ’01. It was his birthday, Aug. 13, 2003, and she had a plan, one that was about to be ruined. Cesar needed to drop off papers at LMU for his sister, and there they were — stuck in traffic on the 105 Freeway. Maritza and Cesar’s time together seemed a rare commodity. They had been a couple since 1999, as students of biology. By 2003, Cesar was working as an optometrist in Oregon. Maritza was attending graduate school at UCLA. In their long-distance relationship, time was precious. Read more

7. David Berry ‘92, M. Ed. ‘96 and Theresa Smith ‘93

She knew right away. It took him some time to catch up. Theresa Smith was intrigued during her freshman year by a certain tenor as they sang in the LMU choirs. She watched David Berry all that year, even became casual friends, but she thought he wouldn’t be back the next year. She was wrong, much to her delight. Read more.

8. Aleksandar Trifunovic ’02 and Jelena Stankovic ’05, ’07

Aleks wore a sajkaca, a hat that is an icon of Serb tradition, and tapered woolen trousers that were tucked into his knitted socks. Jelena wore a necklace of dukati, large, heavy coins that are family heirlooms and typically part of a dowry. And in celebration, the crowd of 300 (with more than a dozen LMU alumni) danced to trumpet music, a Serbian musical staple, and were joined by the Serbian National Folk Dance Ensemble. Read more.

9. Steven Gonzalez ’04, M.A. ’12 and Dina Ramirez ’09

Steven Gonzalez ’04, M.A. ’12 asked Dina Ramirez ’09 if he could be her boyfriend on their second date. Dina’s mother didn’t think they knew each other well enough. Ten dates, her mother said, then he could be her boyfriend. Dina thought of the buy-10-get-one-free car wash promo card in her purse. She made a punch card. She found a heart-shaped hole punch. Go to a wedding, punch. Attend a family party, punch. Take in a movie, punch.  “I thought if he could go along with this, he’s pretty special,” Dina says. Read more.

10. Mary Kelly ’84 and Robert Watson ’84, M.A. ’89

Bob and Mary (Kelly) Watson’s courtship may have been a classic storybook tale — except for unexpected twists and turns along the way. Read more.

11. Valerie Arias ‘04 and Joe Szopa ‘04

She was raised in the California desert; he grew up in Alaska. After Valerie Arias and Joe Szopa graduated in 2004, their careers took them in different directions. She took her communication studies degree into public relations and teaching; his film production degree led him into entertainment. Read more.

12. Kevin Komenkul ’06 and Jan Minette Laqui ’05

Step by step, avid runners Kevin Komenkul ’06 and Jan Minette Laqui ’05 move closer together. First marker passed: Off to a fast start, Kevin and Jan Minette meet in 2004 thanks to the Business Ethics Fortnight, a unique academic/athletic competition that is called L.A.’s Weirdest Biathlon by the LMU organizers. Kevin and Jan Minette, both working toward business administration degrees, are assigned to different teams but they find time to train together. Read more.

13. Mike Casey ’65, M.A. Ed. ’68 and Anita Grimes

Mike Casey ’65, M.A. Ed. ’68 didn’t know where he was ever going to find a wife. Certainly not in class. In 1966, Mike’s first year of graduate studies, Loyola was an almost entirely male institution, and he’d given up on the only church-and-school-approved co-ed meet-ups offered on campus: mixer dances.

Across town at Mt. St. Mary’s, a women’s college, senior English major Anita Grimes had the same problem. The only men her age she ever met were colleagues in an off-campus dance troupe. Then she heard through the campus grapevine about Operation Match—a newfangled dating service. “It was new, and people were trying it because it offered an alternative,” she says. Read more.

14. Mary Brosnan O’Hannigan ’88 and Joseph-Shannon O’Hannigan ’88

They met in a business class, fall semester, 1986. At least that’s what they know for sure. But most likely Mary Brosnan O’Hannigan ’88 and Joseph-Shannon O’Hannigan ’88 crossed paths more than once well before that. Read more.

15. Courtney Hardebeck ’10 and Donovan McCarty ’10

We met during our freshman year at the front desk in Huesman Hall, where Courtney worked as a check-in attendant. [One day] Donovan was with a group of friends and Courtney had to check them in. We exchanged brief small talk, where Courtney asked if anyone knew how to play euchre (a Midwestern card game). Donovan was the first person to say yes. It wasn’t long before Donovan would sit and talk with Courtney for her entire four- to eight-hour shift. We continued to build our relationship, playing cards in the Sullivan lounge, playing piano in the Huesman Chapel, eating In-N-Out by the fountain and walking to class together. We dated for eight years and got married at Sacred Heart Chapel on May 30, 2015. When Sullivan and Huesman were being torn down, Donovan secretly reached out to LMU to see if he could get the front desk where we first met, but, sadly, it could not be found. Instead, LMU saved the letter “M” (for our last name) from Huesman. Courtney had no idea Donovan did any of this, and shortly after our four-year wedding anniversary, Courtney received a package from LMU. It was the black “M,” accompanied by a Lions card that read, “Thank you for falling in love at LMU.”