Alumni and friends share their OSU love stories

February 14, 2023

This special season, we put out a call to OSUAA members to share how they found love at Oregon State University. Oregon Staters from across the generations contributed numerous stories of falling head over heels in many ways – meeting their lifelong partner, landing on the major that would inform their life’s work or experiencing the invigorating energy of Beaver Nation. Here are a few favorites.  


Photo from the 1967 OSU yearbook featuring students sharing a kiss at a football game.


Jim Mutch, ’66, and Judy (Thompson) Mutch, ’65

Jim: “I met Judy during an OSU lab and asked her to go with me to the Sophomore Cotillion on October 12, 1962. Those familiar with Oregon history will remember what happened that day. The Columbus Day storm blew through the state and devastated the OSU campus. The cotillion was cancelled because we lost electricity. I lived in the Theta Chi house and our gas stove was working just fine. Judy and I had dinner by candlelight at the house and danced by candlelight to music from a transistor radio in the basement. The next day we toured the campus and observed all the fallen trees. Hardly a tree was left on the quad.”

Bob Grover, ’83, and Theresa Kirsch, ’85

“We got to know each other well by taking an OSU ski class together 40 years ago. Every Thursday, we rode up to Hoodoo on the bus together, skied together the entire day and rode the bus back to Corvallis in the afternoon. By the end of the term we were dating, and we married in 1986. Our love of Oregon State and skiing have been centerpieces of our lives ever since then.” 

Gordon Clemons, ’65

“Although generally shy, I mustered the courage to walk into Gill Coliseum to tell coach Paul Valenti that I wanted to play Oregon State Basketball. Five minutes later, I was playing one-on-one with Jay Carty, who became one of my all-time idols in sports. I survived that experience and the ensuing walk-on tryouts, and made the freshman team that year. My afternoons spent at Gill created my love affair with Oregon State’s values and athletic pursuits. 

“I was lucky to have spent time among some of OSU’s great athletes. Watching their dedication to competing and the maturity with which they approached the opportunity to represent the Beavers was a big part of my college education.

“My four years at OSU set in place the foundation for the rest of my life. That time included both failure and success, but it all seemed to fit together to provide me a vision of what I wanted to do next and upon what path I intended to set out.” 

Carly (Loving) Diehl, ’20, MS ’22, and Ben Diehl, ’20 

Carly: “My husband and I met in 2018, during class in Kearney Hall. Just over two years later, Ben proposed outside of Kearney Hall. Oregon State and Kearney Hall hold a very special place in our hearts, and we are so grateful that our lives crossed paths at such a beautiful place.” 

Gigi Merrill, ’84, and Bill Merrill, ’85

Gigi: “First, we commiserated over our hatred of the book ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’ by James Joyce at an OSU fraternity party. Then he asked me on a date. He ordered a pepperoni pizza even though he was vegetarian because he didn’t want me to think he was weird. Too late! Almost 38 years (and three kids!) later, we still love Woodstocks!”

John Heyerly, ’64 

“I fell in love with azaleas in the springtime on the OSU campus. It seemed like I had to do a great deal of walking to get on campus and go from class to class. So, I passed by a lot of azalea bushes. On a sunny day, with honeybees buzzing, it felt like I was at the edge of the woods. I don’t remember paying much attention to azaleas before that time – 1962 to 1964 – but they certainly reached out to me then. I hope they are still going strong.” 

Joel Morgan, ’77

“My years at Oregon State were some of the best days of my life. I felt that through the hard work, I was accomplishing something that would help me be a success in life. Not just in career, but in my philosophy of life and my knowledge of the world around me. I grew up to be an adult at OSU. 

“Today my wife says she does three kinds of laundry: darks, lights and oranges. My license plates on my car are the original Benny plates. I have Benny tattooed on my right shoulder. Nothing is to be planned on a day when there is a Beaver football game. I have a ‘Wall of Beaverdom’ in my office that is covered with Beaver posters and memorabilia.”

Randy Hledik, ’73, and Kathy Hledik, ’73

Randy: “Gill Coliseum, 1971. Kathie was sitting alone, saving seats for friends, studiously reading a book before the basketball game started. A mutual friend introduced us, but after the game we went our separate ways. Then, in late spring we learned we would both be resident assistants in Poling Hall the following autumn. RA meetings and shared dorm responsibilities, then post-game parties, desserts at the Big O restaurant and drives to the coast led to our wedding six days after graduation. This June we celebrate 50 years of marriage filled with family, friendships, fulfilling careers, fun adventures and fond memories of OSU, including those made while traveling with the OSU Alumni Association. We’ll have to be sure to make a return trip to Gill this year.” 


Shireen Bauer, ’92, and Thomas Bauer, ’92

Thomas: “We met at an OSU gymnastics event in Gill Coliseum in January 1992. Mutual friends arranged so that we would sit together. Her initial impression of me was not all that good though, as my exuberant fan behavior exhibited through loud clapping did not impress her too much. We each came to OSU from nine time zones away, just from opposite directions. She was from Singapore and I was from Germany. Fast forward 31 years. We got married, settled in Oregon and raised two boys, both of them also having now graduated (or about to graduate) from OSU.” 

Bill Turner, ’63, and Jean Turner

Bill: “In 1959, I met a girl from the University of Oregon and we dated for some time. Our relationship was much discussed on both campuses. We have been married for 62 years and still get teased by our alum friends from both schools.”