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From Down the Hall: February 2023

When I stepped onto campus for the first time, I did not fully understand how many special moments I would share with others as part of my lifelong WVU journey. Like me, many alumni have shared experiences with fellow Mountaineers that provided opportunities for their paths to cross forever changing the course of their lives. To celebrate the month of February, we recently asked alumni and friends to submit their Mountaineer love stories. 

Each is unique and includes its own special journey and relatable Mountaineer moments. As different as each may be, all have one thing in common: the bond was formed because of our beloved alma mater. As couples grew to families with children and fur-children, their commitment to the Mountaineer spirit has remained long after they departed Morgantown. I invite you to take a moment and enjoy some heartwarming tales of connections made at WVU.

1 - Leslie E. Hawker and Donna Hawker

Leslie and Donna Hawker in the late 50s

Leslie E. Hawker (‘61) met his wife-to-be, Donna, during the 1958-59 academic year. They were both students, and Leslie only knew Donna on a casual basis, as she was one of a cohort of women that donned long tan raincoats, scarves and white socks with penny loafers during the unpredictable Morgantown winters.

In February of 1959, Leslie remembers seeing Donna at a fraternity party where she was talking to his roomate. He did a double-take when he recognized her as a member of the raincoat, white socks, and penny loafers group! At that moment, Leslie knew he was falling for Donna.

The next week, Leslie called to ask Donna to go on a date. She replied, "That depends." At first, Leslie was taken aback by her response and asked what she meant. Donna said she wanted to know what he had in mind for the date. Leslie doesn't remember his response, but it must have been good because they went out, and the rest is history! In August of 2023, Leslie and Donna Louise Tracy will have been married for 62 years. They tell us their love is as strong as ever!

2 - Brandon Enochs and Drew Enochs

Brandon and Drew Enochs posing for a picture

Brandon Enochs (‘05) lived at Evansdale Residential Complex for one semester before going off to Basic Training. He met his future wife Drew in Lyon Tower, and then left campus for a year. Brandon returned to Morgantown the following spring but lost touch with Drew. 

They eventually ended up in a class together, where Drew told Brandon she was moving back home to attend the University of Pittsburgh. I know that some of our loyal fans may think about skipping the rest of this entry after hearing that, but please keep reading, I promise you'll want to hear the end of the story.

Fast forward a few years; Brandon and Drew met again at the 2006 WVU vs. Pitt football game. They’ve been together ever since and have made it a tradition to attend every edition of the Backyard Brawl as friendly rivals. Brandon made sure to let us know that Drew always roots for WVU… except when they square off against the Panthers!

3 - Teri (Sabatelli) Murray and Bob Murray

Teri and Bob Murray posing for a picture at a WVU game

Sometimes, we hear stories of strangers' paths crossing once, and it's fate. Teri (‘90, ‘92) and Bob Murray (‘91) were born just 12 days apart in July of 1968. Teri was from Masontown, PA., and Bob grew up in Syracuse, NY. Both attended WVU August of 1986 and lived at the Evansdale Residential Complex. 

You might think that living in the same residence hall, eating at the same dining hall, and riding in the same PRT cars, would have facilitated them meeting as freshmen, but they didn't. The following year, they both moved downtown and lived a stone's throw from one another for the next three years. They had plenty of mutual friends and attended the same social gatherings and Mountaineer athletic events. Their paths still never crossed.

It wasn't until October of 2013, many years after their time at WVU, that Teri and Bob would see each other on, both proudly wearing gold and blue apparel! They met “officially” on High Street during Homecoming Weekend in 2013. They were married on campus on July 14, 2018, at St. John's Parish. An incredible story!

4 - Jayson Hamrick and Caroline Hamrick

Jayson and Caroline Hamrick posing for a picture in WVU gear with their daughter

Jayson (‘15, ‘19) and Caroline's (‘18) story started early - they first met at an Honors Tour Day before their freshman year and kept in touch over the summer. By the time fall classes rolled around, they had their first date and were officially a couple. They spent their time at WVU going to classes together, attending WVU games and sharing moments they'll never forget.

When it was time for their wedding, Jayson and Caroline made sure it was a true celebration that captured their Mountaineer spirit! The wedding was packed with fellow alums and, of course, featured plenty of Flying WV cookies. They still make trips back to WVU for game days and now have a daughter, who they hope will grow to love WVU as much as they do.

I always enjoy the stories of personal connections our alumni share. Each is unique and further adds to the fabric that is our shared WVU experience. I, too, met the love of my life at WVU. My wife, Katie (‘93, ‘04), and I became acquainted as sophomores and shared many common friends. During our senior year, we spent the summer working together as New Student Orientation Student Assistants. (As a quick plug, working orientation is an incredible job I would highly recommend to any student looking for summer employment in Morgantown). And, the rest, you might say, is history. We were married the following summer and will celebrate our 29th anniversary in July. Needless to say, Simple Gifts and Country Roads were played proudly on our wedding day.

My time at WVU and after graduation has also been surrounded by many great Mountaineers, both friends and mentors, who have become a lifelong system of personal and professional support. We’ve stayed in touch over the years and have celebrated many of life’s milestones together including graduations, career changes, moves across the country, marriages and the birth of children, to name of few. We reunite often, over the phone, via text message, on social media and of course, on-campus here in Morgantown. I’m confident our common WVU bond and the moments we have shared together will be everlasting.

There are many similarities in these stories to all of yours, and in fact, most of the WVU Alumni Association staff also have stories of their own about meeting some of the most influential people in their lives through shared moments as Mountaineers. 

Thank you all for sharing your stories with us and for reading those we’ve passed along. This month, while we celebrate joy, connection, and love, I encourage you to take some time and reach out to someone important to you that you may have met during your time on-campus or after and create your next WVU moment together. Let’s Go!

Kevin Berry ('94, '95)
WVU Vice President of Alumni Relations
CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, Inc.