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BW love connections

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your Valentine! And, special cheers to our over 2,000 BW couples. Below are a few of their stories. Enjoy!

Love and Learn

Photo of Randy Bierman '16 and Natalie (Castrigano) Bierman '17Randy Bierman '16 and Natalie (Castrigano) Bierman '17 were education majors at BW. Randy was a special education major, and Natalie was a middle childhood education major.

They met at a "Teaching Together" club meeting and kept returning in hopes of seeing each other. On November 20, 2015, they started their dating journey, and on that day, four years later, Randy took Natalie back to the spot where they met behind Wheeler Hall and proposed. They married on June 26, 2021.

They say their passion and love for teaching, instilled by BW, played a big role in their relationship. Natalie says, "BW holds a special place in our hearts. We both chose to attend BW because of its amazing education program. Because of BW, we earned our degrees and got our dream teaching jobs and fell in love!"

First year, last year

Cliff and Angela PowellCliff Powell '04 was in his last semester at BW when Angela Golden '06 arrived on campus and started hanging out in the same group of friends. Cliff claims he could tell Angie was interested in him because she broke out in a sweat around him. Eventually, friendship led to dating. The photo here was taken at a Black Student Association (BSA) Ball.

"BW means everything to us," Powell says. "We got to see a lot of each other after I graduated because I soon started working at BW in the BW Scholars Program, Office of Community Outreach."

They both added graduate degrees from BW as well. Angie earned an MAEd in 2011, and Cliff earned an MBA in 2008. "We actually got married at the chapel on campus on my last official day as a graduate assistant," he added.

"We often dream of moving back to Berea," Powell says. "Our time at BW was some of the greatest of our lives."

From senior year to 50 years

Photo of Doug MacGilpin '69 and Sally (Hart) MacGilpin '69Doug MacGilpin '69 and Sally (Hart) MacGilpin '69 met the first week of May in their freshman year in Ritter Library. Although they met fresh into college, they didn't begin dating until senior year. They married in the summer of '71 after Doug's first year at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. Sally taught second grade in Nashville for three years while Doug completed medical school.

In 1974, they moved to Hartford, Connecticut, for Doug's internship and residency program at the University of Connecticut. In 1977, Doug opened a pediatric practice in Newington, Connecticut. They bought a house in West Hartford and then had their first son. Two more sons and a daughter would follow. This past August, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with their family.

The couple says, "We would never have met if it wasn't for BW. Doug came from Worcester, Massachusetts, and Sally grew up in Elyria, Ohio. The education we received at BW helped us reach our goals in life! We were thankful to be able to attend our 50th reunion and reunite with friends and classmates. We feel by supporting BW, we are helping other students reach their goals!"

A Life-Changing Sunday at BW

Photo of Tom Maher '71 and Gail (Stephnes) Maher '73It was a Sunday in September 1969 when junior Tom Maher '71 met Gail (Stephens) Maher '73 on her first day on campus as a freshman. Tom saw Gail in the Union and knew he had to meet her. When Gail sat down in the Hive, Tom walked over and introduced himself. Their first date, a week later, was a Blood Sweat and Tears concert followed by a fraternity party, and they have been together ever since.

They both majored in health and physical education and enjoyed success at BW academically and athletically. Tom was a captain of the football team and a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. Gail was a captain of the volleyball team and an Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority sister.

Following graduation, they entered the field of education. Together, they have served children for a total of 72 years. Tom and Gail raised two sons, Rich and Tim, both football players and now successful businessmen. They also thoroughly enjoy being grandparents.

After being together for 53 years and married for almost 49, they say, "BW is truly a very special place for us." They remain in contact with classmates and continue to support BW in all endeavors. They reside in sunny Vero Beach, Florida, and enjoy the Atlantic Ocean. Both are still active; Tom bikes, and Gail plays tennis.

The Goalie - Gamma Love Connection

Photo of Austen Peppo '17 and Jiana Koussa-PeppoAusten Peppo '19 and Jiana Koussa-Peppo met their freshman year through a mutual friend in Lang Hall. Although they shared many classes, they didn't share many conversations. Jiana transferred to another school her junior year but reconnected with Austin a few months later at Wild Senoritas restaurant on Front Street. They describe the November 2016 serendipitous event as "when we met again," and the rest is history. They got engaged in November 2020 and married on December 18, 2021.

Jiana describes their BW connections as life-changing, "BW means so much to us. It is where we found each other and where we found love. We even took our engagement photos at BW! We found our 'chosen few' (which is a line from my sorority's purpose): Austen with the BW lacrosse team, where he was a goalie, and me with Alpha Gamma Delta sorority. We stay connected with our friends and even invited two of our favorite professors to our wedding!"

A not so random meeting

Photo of Brandon Wojtasik '13 and Stephanie (Starek) Wojtasik '15Brandon Wojtasik '13 and Stephanie (Starek) Wojtasik '15 met while she was eating dinner with her ZTA sisters in the Union. Steph saw Brandon (a PKT) across the room talking with one of her co-workers. Steph, smitten, asked her co-worker to arrange for them to "randomly" meet for a drink at Mike's Bar and Grill near campus. Fast forward almost 10 years, and Steph and Brandon would return to Mike's for drinks followed by an engagement photo shoot on BW's campus.

When asked what BW means to them, they responded that BW is not only where they met and fell in love, but it is also where they both gained life-long friendships and the education to help them excel in law school and become attorneys. The couple comes back to campus regularly for Homecoming and other alumni events. Brandon also serves on the advisory board for PKT. "We continue to support Baldwin Wallace as a way to ensure future Yellow Jackets can continue to have the same amazing experience that we had."

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