Augie Sweethearts

Happy Valentine's Day
There are more than 2,000 Augie sweethearts across the globe. These alumni started their love story at Augustana and eventually married - some of them even said their vows at the Augustana Chapel.

On Valentine's Day 2011, the Office of Alumni Relations asked all Augie sweethearts to share their stories and photos of how they met their spouse at Augustana. Just moments after the message went out, our Facebook page was filled with messages from our alumni.

Below are all the stories from that first year. But every year there are new Augie Sweethearts, so we've made it an annual tradition. Share your photos and stories on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #AugieSweethearts.

Augustana (SD) Alumni
Viking, you make my heart sing. You make everything groovy! #AugieSweethearts
Make this Viking couple your social media profile pic for Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2011 at 9:21am
Happy Valentine's Day! Did you meet your Valentine at Augustana? If so, upload a picture and share how you first met on campus.

Kris Matchett Zerse I did. I was visiting my sister who was a freshman (I was a junior in high school) and he was a sophomore and in one of her classes. I would later come to Augie as a sophomore, but we didn't start dating until after he graduated. We married a year & a half later - 19 years ago!

Tara Fagerstrom Rogness I met my valentine at Augie. We met on move-in day, were in the same new student orientation group, but didn't start dating until May of our senior year. It's so fantastic to marry your best friend! We've been married for 11 years!

Jill Kolsrud Blom I did! We worked at the help desk together during the summer of 2000. We lost track of each other after that until another Augie student set us up for a date about four years later. We were married in 2008!

Melissa Engel Dykstra 21 years ago TODAY I had something in my mail box (#381) at Augustana! It was a Snoopy Valentine's card from Darin Dykstra!!! How random. But, looks like it may have worked. We will be married 20 years in October.

Gretchen Papik Jepperson Ryan and I met in the choir and were friends for a long time before we started dating during my senior year. We have been married for almost 10 years and have 4 beautiful children.

Shannon Bjelland Viereck I met my husband at Augie in the fall of 2001. However, we didn't start dating until a few months after graduation in 2005. I still remember the first conversation we ever had. His girlfriend at the time introduced us and said "Shannon, this is Tom." I said, "I'll remember that name - my uncle's name is Tom." Tom then famously answered, "Does he have a cabin? 'Cuz then it would be Uncle Tom's Cabin!" I guess the line took about 4 years to grow on me, but I did end up marrying him so I guess I must like corny jokes! We have been married for 4 1/2 years and are expecting our first child (a girl!) in May!

Erin Bennett Horstmeyer I met Jeff during welcome week my freshman year. We became great friends and started dating in February of that year. We have been together over 16 years and married for 13. He is definitely my greatest Augie advantage!!!

Megan Olson Johnson I met my valentine, Nathaniel right before Valentine's Day 9 years ago. We started dating after having a J-term class together & going on choir 'ter'. We got married after I graduated. It has been 6.5 years! We now have 2 kids & have gone through a lot. I feel very blessed to have an amazing Augie sweetheart!

Sharla Shurr Krell I, too, met my valentine at Augie. Matt and I were in the same NSO group as freshmen and became good friends but didn't start dating until our junior year. After graduation, we got married in the Augie chapel almost 17 years ago! It's still a great day to be a Viking!!

Lisa Christensen Pole Andrew Pole and I met in the Augie band when I was a freshman, 19 years ago. Even though we had gone out to dinner with 2 other friends, he still had no idea I was interested in him! I asked him what he thought would be the perfect Valentine's Day gift--he said a bag of Cheetos and a kiss. So I had his best friend put a bag of Cheetos in his locker along with a note from me. That finally gave him a clue! We just celebrated our 15th anniversary last summer and have many happy memories of our time and friends at Augustana.

Andy Vander Linden I met Kendra (Neu) Vander Linden junior year in a psychology class. She was skipping class that day and she asked me to turn in her paper for her. From there, we began studying together and eventually went on our first official date to the Spicy Pickle (so sad it is no longer exists). We were official as a couple on Valentine's Day 3 years ago. We were married in August 2010 and we will both soon have full-time jobs after 6 years of school! Wohoo!

Deb Piehl Lund We did not meet there, but we were students there when we got engaged, and enjoyed our first year of marriage as seniors at Augie!

Becky Blue Dan and I met in our freshman chemistry class in 1977. We sat alphabetically and I sat behind him. Our first date wasn't until Interim when he took me to the UBG movie in GSC and then on to the Crack'd Pot (yes, that was really the name of the restaurant) for pie.

Corey Camp I met my wife at Augie as a result of my college roommate and my wife's college roommate are siblings. Thanks Reisters!

Jason Glaser Becky (Stromstad) and I had several classes together, including one taught by Ron Robinson in 1995. Fun fact: Ron Robinson also taught an English class where my parents met in 1967. Ron is apparently responsible for two generations of Glaser Augie romances.

Rhiannon Johnson I met Jason at the end of freshman year in Bergsaker and started dating at the end of sophomore year. We got married a year after we graduated and have been married 10 years. And I didn't even have to change my last name!

Jennifer Thomas Vance and I were in band together -- brass and woodwinds on opposite sides of the room and we had a few mutual friends. we started dating at the end of our freshman year, were engaged on valentine's day our senior year, and married after the first year of seminary. We've been married 15 years! a side note, the first time I remember seeing him in the Huddle he was fresh from an art studio and looking a little scruffy! A diamond in the rough!

Jessica Cooper Graumann Aaron ('06) and I ('07) met my freshman year at a friend's house. He says that I didn't notice him at first but I did ;) We started dating the next year and got married in 2008. Our years at Augie have been some of the best memories for both me and my husband!

Carrie Leber Erickson Chris and I met during fall camp our freshman year (he as a football player and myself as a volleyball player). We soon found out that we were both athletic training majors, sharing many of the same classes. We became the best of friends but didn't officially start dating until mid-way through our senior year. We got engaged less than a year later and then married 1 year after that. We both have very fond memories of our Augie years and beyond!

Brandi Koester Sestak I did! Tim and I met the first week of our first year at Augie during the first year theatre production, but didn't connect until "J-Term" our junior year. Our second "date" was going to see the UBG-sponsored movie "The Ring" on-campus. We will be married 5 years in March.

Jonathan Toso Mary (90) and I (89) met the fall of 1986 (yikes) at a Halloween Party. I chased her around for the next few weeks until she said yes to a date. Married in August of 1990 at the Chapel, we have now pulled off twenty years of Augustana wedded bliss. Ha! We have four wonderfully unique children. Now that's Alumni Relations.