How We Met

Mocs Would Do It Again

Alumni share their stories of meeting on campusWe met in a class, ironically a sociology class titled “Marriage and the Family.” Our first date was on Oct. 23, 1965 — the homecoming game and victory over nationally ranked Xavier. We became pinned on Nov. 27, 1965, over hot tea at the fraternity house; and were married on June 4, 1966 (yes, it’s been 45 years). We graduated in May ’67. Planning to return to Chattanooga, we left for Mike’s mandatory two years of Army active duty; however, the Army was a rewarding lifestyle for us (and our two future daughters — one of whom was a UTC Brock Scholar), and two years turned into 30 years. During that time, Tommye managed several adult education programs, and I ultimately retired as a colonel.

Since returning to Chattanooga, we have been involved in a number of UTC and alum activities. We are Moc Club members and season ticket holders, and we’re savoring the resurgence of Mocs athletics, the growth of the university, the quality of the young men and women with whom we interface in various activities, and the recognition and support of UTC by Chattanooga. It has been a great ride, and we’d unquestionably do it again; however, we attribute our success more to our own hard work and compromise than to that ancient sociology course. — Michael Byington (Chattanooga ’67) and Ada Ione “Tommye” Thompson Byington (Chattanooga ’67), Signal Mountain

Remember the Moment

My wife, Tory Jackson Parish (Knoxville ’00), and I met at the Baptist Student Union in 1995. I still remember seeing her walk into the BSU. It’s really cool thinking back on that moment in time.—Adam Parish (Knoxville ’99), Windermere, Fla.

Half Century of Marriage Began at UT

My wife and I were undergraduates in the College of Business Administration, and we graduated in 1957. Her maiden name was Patricia Ann Taylor. We had been introduced once in the hallway of the BA Building, but we barely remembered it. After I graduated in March 1957, I accepted a job in the treasurer’s office at the university, where the treasurer was J.J. Walker. Later, Pat (or Miss Taylor, as she was called since the treasurer’s office was quite formal) came to work there also. I did remember that I had met her once, so I managed to strike up a conversation. I asked her out on a date, and we started dating regularly, which was against office rules. On Oct. 5, I left to take a job with the CIA in Washington, D.C. But Miss Taylor started corresponding, and I drove back to Knoxville as often as I could to visit her.

We got engaged in December 1957 and married on March 21, 1958, in Caryville, Tenn. We lived in Washington for about three months until leaving for my first overseas assignment in Okinawa. We spent 11 years overseas in several different places in the world. I worked for 35 years with the CIA and was appointed by Director of Central Intelligence William Casey as director of finance for worldwide operations in September 1983. I worked for five years before retiring in 1988. Pat also worked for the CIA for over 20 years, had two daughters, the oldest of whom was born in Rome, Italy, and passed away Sept. 14, 2010. We were married for 52 years, but it all started back at the University of Tennessee.—Allen Elkins (Knoxville ’57), Williamsburg, Va.

It Began with Fashion

My wife and I met while students at UT Martin. It was during the winter quarter of 1971. We met at an off-campus party. My wife had a date with a friend of mine (he never made it to the party), and she was wearing the identical outfit as my date. Naturally, the girls talked about this fashion disaster. My future wife and I had an instant connection and began dating. After my graduation, we were married. My Bachelor of Science is in physical education and health. Julie earned her Master of Science in education.—Wayne Gutch (Martin ’73), Memphis

Engineered for Each Other

My husband, W. Keith Story (Knoxville ’94), and I met at UT in the fall of 1990 when I arrived on campus. We were both part of the Minority Engineering Scholarship Program, and he was assigned as a mentor for my roommate. We both ended up being industrial engineering majors and then both worked for the same company when we graduated from school. We were married in 1999.—Brooke Bowie Story (Knoxville ’95), Osseo, Minn.

Meant to be Together

I met my (future) husband on the Martin campus in fall 1964. We both graduated from Martin in 1968 with the Bachelor of Science in education. Later we also got master’s degrees there. We met at band camp in 1964 but were destined to meet anyway: We had a mutual friend who had told my husband at Scout camp that there was this girl that he just had to meet. We met the friend in the registration line, and he started to introduce us but realized we had already met. After four years of being together on campus (we were regulars at the T-Room, and I rode behind him on his bicycle) and a year of teaching, we got married in August 1969.—Mary Ann Moffatt Claxton (Martin ’68, ’79), Buchanan, Tenn.

Love at First Ride

I met my future wife during my junior year on Friday, Feb. 11, 1966. A friend and I were going up to Ohio State for the weekend. A few days earlier I had posted a “Need a Ride?” note at the student center. A freshman girl wanted a ride home to the Cincinnati area. I picked her up at Clement Hall on Friday morning. Is there love at first sight? Yes! The second I looked at her, I knew she was the one. We returned on Sunday, and the next day, Valentine’s Day, I sent her a dozen roses. Just as interesting is the fact that, when she returned to her dorm on Sunday, she told her suitemates, “I think I just met the man I’m going to marry.” She was right. We will be married 43 years in November.—Jack Topchik (Knoxville ’67) and Carol Lee Topchik (Knoxville ’69), Frederick, Md.

Rearing the Next Generation

Heather and Derran Stalvey renewed their vows in April 2011 in Belize.I met my wife, Heather Lane Stalvey, when we both served as orientation leaders the summer of 1998. A friendship grew into a great relationship. We graduated UT Knoxville in 2000, and we were engaged the day of graduation. We were married the next spring and celebrated our 10-year anniversary in 2011. We have two daughters, ages 3 and 7, who could be future Vols.

We spent the first six years of marriage in Knoxville and now live in Chattanooga. Our family returns to all the home games and many away games. A video of our oldest daughter singing the alma mater when she was 3 has been viewed more than 12,000 times on YouTube. It is in her blood!–Derrall Stalvey (Knoxville ’00), Ooltewah, Tenn.

Walking into a Relationship

My first class on The Hill in 1985 was biology. I walked from Carrick, and it was a haul! When I walked into the building, all sweaty and tired, I saw my future husband looking around like he was lost. He turned to me to ask where his classroom was, and I told him. My husband, Craig, said he thought I was an upperclassman because I looked so confident. Yeah. I fell for him that day, and we’ve been together from that day to this one!—Aurora Murry Phelps (Knoxville ’90, ’91), Antioch, Tenn.

It Started with a Sandwich

I met my spouse at freshman orientation. On the first day of move-in, I went with some friends to get our meal cards and dinner. My meal card had not been processed, so I couldn’t go to the cafeteria. I headed back to Massey by myself, lonely, hungry and with no money available yet. Walking down the hill between Greve and Massey, I saw a guy leaning on the rail. He looked at me and said, “I know you!” I didn’t recognize him at first, but he reminded me we had met at orientation. I told him my sob story about the meal card and how I didn’t know how I was going to eat. He took me to the deli on 17th Street and bought me a deli and a beer (the drinking age was 18, and I was a few days from that!). I’ve been with him ever since, for 33 years. The way to my heart is definitely through my stomach!—Louise McMurray Young (Knoxville ’82, ’83) and William P. Young (Knoxville ’83), Canal Winchester, Ohio

Dancing in Chattanooga

I met my husband at the University of Chattanooga. I even have a picture of us that night by the local newspaper. It was a dance that I almost didn’t go to since I already had a date.—Mary Neal Wheelock Alsup (Chattanooga ’44), Westminster, Calif.

Their Own Special Bench

While at UTK, I helped the lacrosse team with the time and stats at their games. At the time, my husband, Joe, was the goalie, and we were friends. After we graduated, we stayed in close contact. About five years after we met, we realized we’d become more than friends and began dating. Five years later, Joe went with me to an alumni chapter awards dinner in Knoxville. When we left the dinner, we walked up to Circle Park so I could take pictures of the Torchbearer at night. Sitting on a bench in the park, looking at the statue and the stadium, Joe said this place was where it all started and all came together. We both think of Knoxville as where we grew up, and it just so happened to be where we found each other. He said he couldn’t think of a better place to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together. We go back to campus at least once a year, and every time we pay a visit to our bench in Circle Park. When the original letters from the VOLS sign on the JumboTron were auctioned off, I bought Joe the “O” as a gift. I can’t believe I spent that much money on something so impractical, but I’d pay even more if they ever auctioned off that bench!—Rachel Weatherly (Knoxville ’00), Falls Church, Va.