A graphic illustration of hearts across a hilltop at Cornell University.

Hearts on the Hill

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Big (Red) Love: A Celebration of Cornellian Couples

In a Valentine’s Day photo tour, we showcase Cornellian couples on and around campus, captured by Cupid’s camera

By Lindsay Lennon

Marti Reisman Sheldon ’83 and Mark Sheldon, MS ’85, met in 1983 through a new dating service called Campus Connections—which, for $2.50, would match an aspiring Cornellian lovebird with a hand-picked potential mate.

“For that price, who could resist?” says Marti. “I picked up the paper application at the Straight and applied.”

It was just before Winter Break—and when she returned to campus in January, she had her match. Mark called her, and they arranged to meet at the Nines in Collegetown a few days later. They’re still together to this day—after 36 years of marriage.

If you had your own Big Red sweetheart—whether or not the romance became a life-long partnership—you may be feeling particularly nostalgic for the Hill this time of year. And what better way to celebrate than cozying up for a romantic photo tour of campus from the comfort of your loveseat?

In advance of Valentine’s Day, we asked two-alumni couples to send us their favorite photos of themselves—recent or vintage, taken on campus or around the Ithaca area.

And … we were overwhelmed by the love! Not only did we receive photos of more than 200 alumni, but we had the pleasure of reading romantic tales from across the decades.

Some now-married couples were platonic for years before Cupid struck. Others were set up on blind dates by their roommates—or even their Cornellian parents. For at least a few, it was love at first sight.

Many met through academic pursuits—like Xinran “Elsa” Li, MEng ’14, and Fengyu Lu, MEng ’15, who were classmates in operations research and information engineering.

As Bri Rosen Griffin ’11 notes, she and Aaron Griffin ’10 “met in an organic chemistry lab—seriously.”

Some now-married couples were platonic for years before Cupid struck. For at least a few, it was love at first sight.

Tami Tiamfook-Morgan ’00 and Dwane Morgan ’02 met when Tami was assigned to tutor Dwane in Spanish at Uris Library.

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They stayed together after Tami graduated—and when she returned for Dwane’s graduation in 2002, he proposed to her by the clocktower during a Chimes concert.

Greek formals and Slope Day have proven to be particularly fruitful spots for first dates with lasting results—and a certain ambulatory music group has spawned countless nuptials.

“We can count 14 Big Red Marching Band weddings this past year alone,” says Emily Frech Preciado ’17, who met Sergio Preciado ’17 while they were serving as the band’s drumline captain and drum major, respectively. “It would seem the cult-like environment of the BRMB fosters lifelong relationships.”

Other couples connected only after graduation, taking a circuitous path to Big Red love.

“Despite Marc’s fraternity and my sorority being next-door neighbors, we don’t seem to have crossed paths as undergrads,” says Jill Hai ’85, who met husband Marc Rubenstein ’86, JD ’89, years later in Boston through far-flung Big Red connections. “All roads lead back to Cornell.”

(If you missed last year’s Valentine’s Day feature—in which a few of these couples also appeared—you can read it here. Have an idea for next year’s theme? Show our inbox some love!)

All images provided (unless otherwise indicated).

Published February 10, 2023


  1. Laura Higgins Oalmer, Class of 1975

    EE ‘75 BFA ‘75 💕🌈🥸🌈💕🌈🥸🥂🥂🥂🥂🥂🥂

  2. Carol Wiley Bossard, Class of 1964

    We have three family weddings connected to Cornell (no photos, though). My eldest brother (20 years older) met his wife at Cornell and they were married in Sage Chapel.
    I met my husband, Kermit, at Cornell at a square dance on the top floor of Warren Hall. We weren’t married on campus, but hold some great memories from our time there.
    And our eldest son, Shawn, met his wife (after he graduated) at Cornell too. So Cornell is obviously a great match-maker!

  3. Michael Rubin, Class of 1967

    I met Margie (née Greenwald) the first night she was on campus in 1964. We dated thru our years at Cornell, married in 1968, and now, 54+ years and 2 children and 3 grandchildren later, are on a cruise to Antarctica, which will be our 7th and final continent visited. Sorry, no photos handy from our time at Cornell.

  4. Dorothea Bamberger Aronson

    Coming to Cornell for a weekend visit to reconnect with some friends turned out to be a life changer. On the spur of the moment,I stopped in at Hillel’s Friday night services. At the kiddush after, the Rabbi, knowing both of us, introduced us to each other. Raph, a mechanical engineer, had just joined the faculty. He offered to drive me to my friend’s house. The rest is history. In March, we hope to celebrate our 60th anniversary.
    Dorothea Bamberger Aronson MA’59

  5. Gail Allen, Class of 1986

    I (Gail Schlussel Allen) met my husband Keith Allen ‘86 down at the gorge as a Sophmore. Friendship led to romance and we began dating senior year. We have now been married for 32 years. Our 3 children Sophie ‘15, Natalie and Ross ‘19 attended Cornell and Ross has been dating Vanessa Garcia ‘20 for several years now. Cornell is definitely a great place for romance! ♥️

  6. Oksana Yuzefovich, Class of 1998

    I met my future husband (Yakov Shkolnikov, Engineering 1999) on a College Express Bus going from campus to Washington, D.C. for Thanksgiving break in 1995. We got married in 2000, and our older son is a freshman at Cornell now. We have many fond memories of Cornell!

  7. Marti Reisman Sheldon, Class of 1983

    Good job at capturing our story in just a few short paragraphs — Marti Reisman Sheldon

  8. Henra S Briskin, Class of 1965

    In 1964, when I was a senior living at Hasbrouck Apartments (the first seniors permitted to live in off-campus housing), my roommates met a group of 2nd-year law students living down the street. They helped us move some furniture and, in exchange, were invited for dinner. Dick Briskin was one of those students. We enjoyed a year of Cornell life together, before I went on to graduate school. Dick joined me in Boston after he graduated Cornell Law, and we both completed our masters in Boston before marrying in 1967. Our son, Seth,(1991) met his wife-to-be (1991)at Cornell as seniors and married a few years later. As for grandchildren, the first two did not choose Cornell. The tradition ended there, though our second son has two younger children. Maybe the story will continue!

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