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Penn State Love Stories: Part Four

Happy Friday, Penn State! In this week’s installment of love stories, the Nittany Lion saves the day as ring bearer, sparks fly over parking tickets, and a budget ninja finds love in Robin from Batman. I know what you’re thinking: stories this ridiculous could only happen in Happy Valley. Well you’ve got that right, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Hope your Friday is filled with as much love as there is in today’s featured stories!

Jennifer and Justin

Graduation date: 2003

We met working for University Police Security and Traffic. (Yes, we ticketed cars!) Specifically, we met at the traffic light of Park and Bypass 14 years ago this football season, working at a game directing traffic” Jennifer said. 

We were friends for years! We immediately connected because we were both from Philly, both loved Dave Matthews Band and the Flyers hockey, and had a similar sense of humor. It wasn’t until 7 years that we realized we wanted to be ‘more than friends,'” Jennifer said. 

The two were married on May 16, 2015, seven years to the week that the two officially started dating. “We were married on the patio of the Nittany Lion Inn and had our reception at the old Elks Club in Boalsburg,” Jennifer said.

The two no longer live in State College but both agree that their best years were spent in Happy Valley. “Being at Penn State makes us so happy ,and since we met there, we couldn’t think of a more fitting wedding setting. It was amazing. All 117 guests came from 11 states and 2 countries (England, Luxembourg, California, etc.), and loved everything about our wedding. Our colors were as close as we could find to PSU blue. I wore blue shoes, and the men blue vests. Our rehearsal dinner was ‘jerseys and jeans’ attire, and my now-husband and I wore [jersey numbers] 5 and 16 for our wedding date. All of our details were PSU themed. and we walked into our reception to Zombie Nation, and had a long round of We Ares! Our favors were a donation to THON. We had a Penn State wedding at Penn State!”

Current status:  Married!

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 Photo: Jennifer and Justin

Kate and Matt Budura

Graduation Dates: Kate: 2008 (BA Philosophy, Honors BA Sociology); Matt: 2004 (Masters in Biotechnology), 2003 (BS Life Science)

Kate and Matt didn’t meet at Penn State, but their love story would not have been possible without Penn State’s massive alumni network.

“We first met at an alumni watch party in Miami for the 2011 PSU-Michigan night game on October 30. Matt asked me out immediately, and I declined. We didn’t cross paths again until June 2011 for a PSU happy hour, and Matt asked me out immediately again. I accepted. After a few weeks of dating, we knew it would be forever. Unfortunately, I was moving to DC to attend grad school only a month into our relationship. After over a year of long-distance dating and PSU cheering, we moved in together and got engaged!”  Kate explained. 

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 Photo: Kate and Matt Budura

The two were married in the Eisenhower Chapel with the Nittany Lion as their surprise ring bearer. “Our original ring bearer was the friend that introduced us, Kevin Cartier, president on the Miami Alumni Chapter. He forgot the rings, but the Nittany Lion saved the day by storming into the chapel with the rings!” she said.

The wedding program featured Suduko, and place settings with mini Joe Paternos on them. “I also put the ‘bottled tears of Tim Tebow’ on our registry, but no one came through on that one.” Kate added.

After the wedding, the reception was at the University Club where the bride and groom hosted trivia. After the reception, it was off to the bars. “We hit up the bars and Cafe 210 had the audacity to card me while I was wearing a wedding dress, that I miraculously did not spill any tea on,” she said.

“Our honeymoon was in Dublin to see Penn State play UCF. We were on TV a bit during the game so I feel comfortable claiming celebrity status. This is also probably a good point to mention Matt wore a kilt for our wedding,” Budura said.

Current status: Married! “Matt and I also joined the Board of Directors of the Metro Washington DC Alumni Chapter in 2013. In July 2015, Matt was elected President of the Board,” Budura said.

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Photo: Kate and Matt Budura

Prianka and Juan Barrios

Graduation Dates: Prianka 2013, Juan 2012

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 Photo: Prianka and Juan Barrios

We were both attending different Penn State campuses at the time. I was at the Lehigh Valley campus in my hometown, and Juan was at University Park. I was a sophomore and he was a junior at the time. It was Halloween weekend, and my friends wanted to go to Main campus for that weekend. I was excited since it was my very first trip up there. It was Saturday night, I was dressed up as Robin from Batman and we went to a friend’s apartment party. I walk in to see this cutie standing in the middle of the living room with aviators and a t-shirt that read ‘Budget Ninja Costume.’ I looked at my friend and I noticed she was giving me the eye that she wanted to go talk to him. I pushed her out of the way and went up to him to say the first words that came in to my head…’O-M-G you are so hot!’ Right after I stated these pathetic words, I thought he’d look at me weird and just walk away. Little did I know, he fully turned around to smile at me and asked what my name was! I asked if we could take a picture and it all started from there. It looked like his group of friends wanted to leave, and I got upset until he held his hand out and told me my friends would be coming with them too. Our walk down Beaver Street, he was telling me what year of college he was in and that he was a Penn State cheerleader. It clicked to me when I remember staring at the mic man at the game the day before! It was him! My heart continued to melt even more,” Prianka said. 

“We ended up exchanging numbers, and when I was packing my things Sunday at my friends dorm, he dropped by to say goodbye. He gave me a long kiss and said he hoped to stay in touch. We were texting everyday from then on and met up for Thanksgiving and New Years. He asked me to be his girlfriend at midnight on January 1st of 2011. After finishing up my sophomore year at Penn State Lehigh Valley, I decided to finish my major out at University Park. We continued our relationship. The last two years were filled with memories, and I was happy to not have a long-distance relationship anymore until he graduated in 2012. His hometown was Erie, PA and he ended up getting a temporary job there. Our relationship was back to long-distance, and we made sure to keep up with the visits. Come graduation day, he asked for my father’s blessing to propose to me that summer on our family vacation trip to Puerto Rico.” she added.

Current status: Married!


 Photo: Prianka and Juan Barrios

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Check out our previous Love Stories, parts one, two, and three.

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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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