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BW campus connections paved with love

On this Valentine's Day 2023, we celebrate BW's more than 2,000 alumni couples with another round of love stories. Thank you to the 45 couples who shared their love connections; we look forward to sharing them in the future. Happy Valentine's Day!

A Valentine's Day to remember

Photo of Rob Preseren ’01 and Kelly (Kilbane) Preseren ’01 and their children

What is something a college football player and a college cheerleader have in common? Friends!

That was the case for Rob Preseren '01 and Kelly (Kilbane) Preseren '01. Mutual friends introduced them sophomore year, and they spent the next few years hanging out with friends, attending bowling nights, mug nights at Mad Jacks and Delta Zeta sorority socials and formals. Senior year, the couple got engaged on this very day - Valentine's Day! Now married for 21 years, they are enjoying life with their three children.

"We cherish our days from BW," they say. It's where they met each other and some of their best friends. They are still in touch with their college friends, many of whom also met at BW and got married. The family comes back to campus for games, and when driving through Berea, they always take the opportunity to share memories and show their kids the places they cherish on campus. "BW will always have a special place in our hearts!"

Just in time

Photo of Willie (Wil) Avery ’73 and Lydia (Coffin) Avery ’00

Willie (Wil) Avery '73 and Lydia (Coffin) Avery '00 would not be celebrating 50 years of marriage this fall if it weren't for three things: the Vietnam War, Lee Tressel (former BW head football coach) and Jim Tressel '75.

Wil met Lee Tressel at an awards banquet, and Lee suggested that he apply to BW. Wil was immediately admitted and able to enroll in spring quarter just before his draft notice arrived. Wil and Lydia met at The Skyline, a nearby dance club where teenagers 18 and up went to dance and meet. They both loved to dance and enjoyed talking with each other. They kept running into each other around Berea.

Wil asked Jim Tressel, a Berea High School junior who hung around the football field, for Lydia's phone number. Wil was surprised that Jim knew the number by heart and later learned that Jim was dating Lydia's sister, Laurie. Wil and Lydia remain close with several classmates, coaches, professors and colleagues and love to talk about what a great experience BW has been for them and their family. Wil and Lydia have supported BW financially each year and hope to leave something to the University in their wills.

From scavenger hunt to ultimate find

Photo of Anthony (Tony) Walker ’92 and Jennifer (Walton) Walker ’92 with their son Xavier

Anthony (Tony) Walker '92 and Jennifer (Walton) Walker '92 met one Saturday morning as he was going from room to room gathering miscellaneous items for his fraternity's scavenger hunt. As luck would have it, Jennifer's door was open, and she was ready to help the cause. Jennifer's sorority sisters knew he would be the perfect date for their fall formal. You guessed it; he was. Thirty-two years later, they continue to enjoy life together.

"Baldwin Wallace has given us confidence in our careers, prepared us to embrace challenges and, most importantly, gifted us with enduring friendships." Tony and Jennifer's legacy continues at BW through their son Xavier, a current BW sophomore. They enjoy sharing stories about BW life in the '90s. "Our philanthropic support for Baldwin Wallace is but a small thank you for the generosity of a university dedicated to educational excellence."

Matchmaking Roomie

Photo of Devon Campbell ’07 and Alyson Cotter Campbell ’08

Devon Campbell '07 and Alyson Cotter Campbell '08 met the first weekend back at school in 2006. Devon's roommate was Alyson's friend in her freshman dorm, Saylor Hall, and introduced them. Unfortunately, a week into dating, Alyson informed Devon she would be leaving for Australia to study abroad for the upcoming semester. Luckily, Devon wasn't scared off. They dated during the months before her departure, and Devon even took a trip to Australia to see her! After Alyson's return, the spark continued and was brighter than ever.

"BW is a special place. We both knew when we visited BW that it was 'home.' BW allows you to both stand out and fit in. You feel safe but encouraged to grow."

BW is very important to the couple. They stay very engaged as alums through on-campus activities, committees and philanthropy. Their love for Baldwin Wallace extends now to their 8-year-old triplet daughters too! Alyson is a proud founding member of Women for BW. Alyson and other members are the prime contributors to the many fun events this group plans yearly.

Life-changing Reunion

Photo of Bob Baxendale ’71 and Kathy Gordon ’72

Bob Baxendale '71 and Kathy Gordon '72 visited campus for a multi-class 50th reunion. Kathy was reluctant to attend as she had not been in touch with many of her classmates over the years. The first person she saw was Bob 'Bax' Baxendale. Kathy greeted him, "Hi, Bax," and quickly realized he had no idea who she was. As the evening and weekend unfolded, they kept running into each other, saying something and/or laughing. They danced and continued to learn bits and pieces of what had happened in each other's lives over the past half-century.

As Kathy was leaving Berea to return to Kentucky, her phone rang. It was Bob, and they spoke for most of the four-hour trip. They FaceTimed several hours a day for two weeks until he came for a weekend visit with a bouquet of flowers in hand. "By the end of that visit, we knew our futures were to be entwined."

That July, Kathy sold her home. Bob purchased a home in Strongsville for them, and the movers were scheduled. "I never imagined that the reunion I was trepidatious to attend could result in a major shift in my life, but I will be forever grateful for friends who urged me to be there," says Kathy.

Bob continues to be active in and philanthropically supportive of BW Athletics alumni engagement events since his graduation and is a Brown & Gold Club board member. The couple continues to thank COVID-19 for giving them the multi-class reunion. "Thanks to the reunion, it changed our lives as profoundly as the first time we set foot on campus."

A bold move stands the test of time

Photo of Hayden Stinnett ’19 and Nalini (Nina) McCargar Stinnett ’17

Hayden Stinnett '19 and Nalini (Nina) McCargar Stinnett '17 met in an Intro to Business course. They led busy lives on and off campus, which caused them to lose touch. About a year later, Nina made a bold move that proved to be the right move; she reached out on social media. They reconnected and started dating shortly after. The rest is history!

When asked what BW means to them, they answered, "BW will always be special to us because it's where we met, grew together and eventually married." The couple remains connected and engaged with Baldwin Wallace. On campus visits, they attend events like Homecoming to see old friends and their favorite professors.

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