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Penn State Love Stories 2015-16: Part One

It’s the first Friday of the semester and I’m honored to take over an Onward State reader favorite — Penn State Love Stories. Last year, Jess Myers told us the stories of Penn State lovers, and this year I hope to do same.

This week’s installment features lovers being brought together through campus activities, loud music, and, of course, a little fate…

John Dixon and Erin (Nester) Dixon

Erin and John met each other during their time on the Penn State Crew Team in 2004. Their first date was a Crew formal, and (boys should probably take note) John Dixon certainly knows how to ask a classy girl to formal.

Graduation dates: John – Fall 2007, Erin – Spring 2008

Erin explains her story like so: “‘Dixon.’ That’s what I thought John’s first name was for the entire first semester of my freshman year on Penn State Crew. Years later, that’s where we would say that we met, but for those first few years on the team, I just knew him as ‘Dixon’ the always laughing, long-sleeve T-shirt wearing, 2006 President of Penn State Crew.

It wasn’t until November 2006, after our fall rowing season ended, that I really met John Dixon. My roommate and best friend, Tracy Norman, and I stayed up late one night brainstorming on who we could ask to the Crew Formal, which was quickly approaching. After a couple glasses of Franzia, we decided it was best to target a couple guys on the team. We needed a wanted ad. We typed a headline, “Tracy and Erin are seeking 2 strapping young men to take to the Crew formal”, cited our preferences: “Erin prefers clean cut. Tracy prefers burly,” and lastly, stated how to respond: “Please submit your cover letter and resume to the following email addresses.” It was stupid, we thought hilarious. We copied and pasted to a couple away messages on AOL IM, laughed some more, and went to bed.

I met my future-husband the next morning. Pounding on the door at 9 a.m., he showed up. Tracy opened the door to find him in a long-sleeve T-shirt, glasses, sweat dripping from his temples, holding a paper rose. He met me in the hallway. Holding a paper rose in his hand, he got done on one knee and asked, “Miss Nester, will you be my date to the crew formal?” I must have looked dumb-founded, as he asked if I checked my email. I didn’t. If I did I would have seen his cover letter and resume.

His resume was for Johnny Passion, he listed every dance he ever attended, made-up classes such as “Manners 301” and “Fine Dining 101.” He even included a cover letter. In short, he got the job.

Six years, 10 months and 18 days from the day of that dance, we got married.

It’s been a long road. John and I did long-distance, from England to State College, Philly to D.C, Philly to Virginia, California to New Jersey, Philly to New Jersey, State College to New Jersey, State College to Virginia, and the list goes on and on. Yet, somehow, we have always found a way to make it work.

I think, in part, it is because I can’t forget that day, way back in November 2006 when a boy asked a girl to a dance.”

Current Status: Married for one year and living in State College

Kris and Lisette Hickok

Kris and Lisette’s story should inspire you to meet your roommates, no matter how obnoxious they may seem.

Graduation: 1989 and 1997

Lisette’s story: “We were both living in off-campus housing (what was then called Heritage Oaks). Kris lived in the apartment above me. In the fall of 1988, my roommates and I were trying to study for finals, but had a hard time concentrating due to the loud music and thumping on the ceiling coming from the apartment above ours. We knew there were 4 guys in the apartment, but none of us had met before. Joy and I decided to knock on their door to ask them to please quiet down. No one heard us knocking (due to loud music), and when we walked in, we witnessed what was causing the thumping sound, they were jumping off of their furniture doing air guitars. When we asked them to please quiet down, they directed us to the library since ‘that is what it is there for.’ In the beginning of the spring semester of 1989, Kris and his roommate and best friend, Matt, came by to apologize for how things ended in the fall. They invited us to a party they were having to again make amends. Their party was Friday, January 13, 1989. Kris and I talked just about the whole night and we officially went out on our first date on Saturday, January 14, 1989.”

Current status: The two married in 1990 and have two children, who are both fourth-generation Penn Staters.

Elisabeth and James

Remember that person you sat next to in class on the first day of the semester? You know, the one who you thought was kind of cute? Well according to Elisabeth and James, you may just end up marrying them one day.

Graduation: Elisabeth – 2005, James – 2003

James’s story begins in Sociology class: “We met in Sociology taught by Dayananda Vanitha Shadrach. Her first lecture included a statement that a percentage of us would “hook up”, a smaller percentage would date, and a very small percentage would marry, if any at all.

My wife and I met just by chance. We sat next to each other. Within the first month I made a fool of myself as we were picking groups for a project. She was a freshman and I was a junior. I made the stupid comment of feeling old.

It must not have bothered her too much because shortly after this, she approached me before class, while I was reading Phroth magazine, and started talking to me.

AIM was still used and we chatted back and forth with it until around spring break. I used the PSU student search to find her phone number (aka stalker search) and called her. Her friend picked up trying to sound like a boy, as they had been harassed by one earlier. At first, she thought I was creepy to have just called her, and to this day I still get teased about it. We talked over spring break and met after for our first date. We ate at Chilli’s.

We dated though my graduation in 2003, and stayed together after I moved to Philadelphia. She graduated in 2005 and went straight to a Masters program at Johns Hopkins University. I followed her there for work and we were engaged in Dec. 2006, and married in June 2007. We have called Baltimore home since then and now have a 18 month old baby boy.”


That’s all we have for this week’s segment, but if you have your own Penn State love story please let us know here!

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About the Author

Brandilyn Heckman

is a junior majoring in Secondary Education (English). Though she commutes to class from her home in Penns Valley, she refuses to be called a 'townie.' Along with Onward State, she currently interns with the Centre Daily Times. In her spare time, she is unafraid to show her love for Penn State, Landon Donovan, and Captain America. You can follow her on twitter at @Brandilynh or contact her via email with [email protected].”

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