Feb 9, 2012

Campus Love Story: UC Helps 'Adopted Bearcats' Find Each Other

Can a new couple call UC “our school” if neither of them went there as a student? The couple in question, Keith and Janet Stichtenoth, thinks so — and so does everyone who attended their recent wedding on the UC campus.

MainStreet proves a natural backdrop for any UC couple.
In the spring of 2009, Keith, who was the Associate Executive Director of the UC Alumni Association at the time and now works in communications for the UC Foundation, met Janet VanderHorst. Janet worked in the UC Bookstore in Tangeman University Center and now manages the UC Medical Bookstore in the CARE/Crawley Building.

Each had come from a previous marriage that had lasted a long time but eventually dissolved. Each had worked at UC for a number of years — just “a few football fields apart” and parking each day in adjacent garages — but they’d never met. And each felt that they might be ready for “the right person to come along” if middle-aged good fortune were to smile on them.

Well, smile it did. Their UC friends and colleagues were delighted to watch a romance grow over the months that followed, providing a refreshing contrast to the teens and 20-somethings who bustled and coupled around them. “We had lunches on MainStreet and went on dates to CCM concerts and Bearcats baseball, soccer, volleyball and football games,” Janet said. “We even co-chaperoned a student bus trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl.”

When it came time to make it official and commit to a rest-of-a-lifetime together, they felt the wedding and reception had to be held on UC’s beautiful campus, and specifically inside the Myers Alumni Center where they had spent so much time together, even working side-by-side at the UC Alumni Association’s Bearcat Blitz pre-game football events.

Non-football Saturday? Not so fast...Nippert
Stadium hosted the "Wedding Bowl."
“Have you picked a date yet?!” people asked frequently after their November 2010 engagement announcement. And they would repeatedly answer, “Not yet. We have to wait for the 2011 football schedule to come out so we can pick a non-football Saturday in the fall.” When October 8 proved to be "The Day," friends and family gathered on campus, inside and outside the Myers Alumni Center, for a gorgeous autumn afternoon and evening.

“Coming to UC eight years ago put my life on a new, positive course in many ways, and the best of those turned out to be meeting Janet,” Keith said. “Lots of circumstances and plenty of people played a part in us finding each other here, but UC itself might have been the most important. We are proud and happy Bearcats together.”

Janet agrees. “I have loved being on a college campus, and working at UC had already changed my life. Then to meet Keith here, to fall in love here, and to get married here and celebrate our new life together with so many of our UC friends — we both feel incredibly lucky.”

Know any other "non-traditional" Bearcat couples this Valentine's Day? Tell us how their love for each other and UC unfolded!

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