Seattle University proves to be a potent matchmaker, planting the seeds of love (and later, marriage) for many alumni.
Photos by Chris Joseph Taylor, Heath Braun and Featured Couples
First glances across a room of strangers at freshman orientation. First dates at a basketball game or over coffee. First realizing you've found the one, who just so happens to be sitting two rows over in math class.
All these "firsts" share one thing: they happened at Seattle University, which, in addition to educating whip-smart students, seems to be a place where love flourishes.
"In our generation, marriage really meant something. It was a vow, and you felt like you were committed to one another."
-Rob Legge, '69, married to Earline Jones Legge, '70
Some couples are united by shared interests in athletics or the arts. Others enjoy the outdoors or waxing poetic on long hikes in the Cascades. And plenty of people will tell you it was God's doing when they met their love match.
Among Seattle University alumni, you meet all kinds of couples who found enduring love on campus. Their stories can be touching, amusing, even harrowing. What stands out is how strong these marriages are, some for 40 years or more after the couple first caught sight of one another.
A strong faith is a common thread among those who kindled their love at SU. When it comes to exchanging vows, many of these couples marry close to where they met.
Each year, upward of 40 couples marry at the Chapel of St. Ignatius, which is typically booked months in advance for Saturday nuptials. To be married at the chapel, the bride or groom, or both, must be current students, faculty, staff, alumni, regents or trustees; most who marry here are recent alumni, graduates within the past five years.
The following stories of love offer a glimpse at the role SU has played in bringing these couples together. If your name and story aren't included and should be, let us know.
Taka Nakamura, '98 and Jennifer (Manne) Nakamura, '99
Jennifer, '99, and Taka Nakamura, '98, on their wedding day at the Chapel of St. Ignatius
and (right) during a recent visit to the SU campus.
You wouldn't imagine that core requirements at Seattle University could lead to marriage vows. But when you ask Taka Nakamura, '98, and Jennifer (Manne) Nakamura, '99, how they met, they'll tell you it happened in January 1996 in Father James Reichmann's philosophy class in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"Taka was impressed when I said thank you in Japanese when he held the door for me," Jennifer recalls.
Outdoor activities, sports in general and basketball in particular, reading, watching movies and rock 'n' roll— Aerosmith and Bon Jovi, among others—were among their shared interests. Taka was a sociology major and Jennifer, an international business major, was minoring in Japanese.
"One of the things that attracted me to Jen was her understanding of my culture," says Taka, a native of Shizuoka, Japan, roughly 30 miles from Mount Fuji. He first came to the United States to attend high school.
While a student at Sammamish High School, Taka learned that SU was a sister school to Sophia University, a well-respected Jesuit university in Tokyo. That was enough to convince him to attend.
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