Penn State news by
Penn State's student blog



Penn State Love Stories 2015-16: Part 7

Welcome to another Penn State Love Stories Friday! I hope your weekend is full of  lovely Homecoming festivities! Who knows, you may end up like our one couple who were brought together by being on Homecoming court together. Or maybe your just had your first meeting with you THON committee, and that one person who made your heart flutter when you walked through the door may end up saying their wedding vows to you. Or perhaps, you will be like another one of our couples who are enjoying 51 years of marriage!

Jennifer Lynn Leary and Benjamin Michael Jabara 

Graduation Dates: Both in 2007

(Photo from: Jennifer and Benjamin)
Jennifer and Benjamin were selected as members of the inaugural Penn State Homecoming Alumni Court for 2015, nine years after they met while serving on Homecoming Court in 2006 as they were paired based on height. In two weeks, this homecoming king will finally have his queen, as the two will be married.

The two remained friends after graduation, and when Jen found herself traveling to San Diego, where Ben was attending school, the two made plans to reconnect.  After a fabulous week in the California sunshine, the goodbyes were difficult, and Jen started making plans for her next trip to the West Coast. Ben also started making plans to move back to the East Coast. The two planned weekend adventures and remained close. Jen eventually moved to DC to pursue her passion for cancer research and found herself working mere miles from Ben.

Over the last few years the two have experienced sickness, health, joy, and sadness with the other by their side. They have driven the length of the East Coast, rode their bikes for hundreds of miles, watched the sunrise over Hawaii, stamped their passports, and supported one another’s dreams unconditionally.

Jen’s bucket list item for years has been to return to her family’s roots in Ireland. When the two learned that Penn State was to play in Dublin, their guidebooks were ordered, and plans were made. Jen had originally surprised Ben with the game tickets, but he had a much bigger surprise in store for her. On the third day of their Ireland trip, after having her make a wish on an Irish Penny and having wished on an American penny himself, Ben knelt down on one knee in the walled gardens of Kylemoore Abbey and asked her to make his wish come true, and be his wife. She said YES!

The two will be wed at a vineyard in Maryland in two weeks, on the eve of the Penn State-Maryland game. They will be joined by friends and family on Saturday for a bridal tailgate with a “WE ARE…MARRIED” theme as they watch their first game as Mr. and Mrs. Jabara.

Jennifer currently works as the Clinical Nurse Manager for The Pediatric Ambulatory program of care at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. She is also a full time Doctorate candidate at Vanderbilt University with interest in pediatric end of life care and quality of life in adolescent cancer survivors.

Benjamin works as an IT manager at Geico in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He is attending the University of Maryland pursuing dual Master’s Degrees: Master of Science in Information Systems and Master of Business Administration.

The two live in the DC metro area with their two rescue dogs, Lola and Izzy, who enjoy spending their time chasing squirrels, watching Penn State & NCIS, and snuggling on the couch. In their free time the two have trained for multiple century rides to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, enjoy taking cooking classes, recently started taking dance lessons, and traveling the world. As Jen says, they hope to see the world together and hopefully leave it a better place than they found it.

Nine years later both are thankful for the celebration that introduced them, and are so grateful to again be a part of Penn State Homecoming.

Current status: Engaged; 9 year friendship/relationship/pending marriage

Casey Holderbaum and Chris Mugford

Graduation dates: Chris 2014; Casey 2015
(Photos from Chris and Casey; Left is from their first THON together and Right is from Chris’ last THON)

“We were on the same THON Communications committee, Donkey Comm. It was my second THON experience and Casey’s first ever, but it was by far my favorite and most memorable. Everybody was scrambling the first time the group came together for a scavenger hunt, but that night we got assigned our first lunch dates, and you’ll never guess who ended up together…” Chris explained.

“At that lunch I immediately knew Casey was somebody special…she was so gorgeous, funny, and outgoing. She is the most confident and genuine person I have ever met and spending time with her was contagious. Even though we didn’t start dating for another year after that lunch date, I still sat next to her every single meeting, would go to any event or party she went to, and even helped her out on some accounting homework (still not sure if she really needed it even though she insists she did to this day). She was just so much fun! Needless to say we became really good friends,” he added.

“As soon as THON ended a lot of the relationships I had with other committee members sort of fizzled out into acquaintances, but not with Casey…we were just getting started. We met up at Arts Fest over the summer and that’s when the romance began. She walked me back one of the nights when I got a little too tipsy, and I held her hand for the first time (which always makes us both smile uncontrollably when we remember that night). Later in the summer we would flirt a little back and forth over facebook, and she joked about things like coming all the way to Virginia from Blairsville to see “The Dark Knight Returns” premiere. When school was back in that year we were hanging out more and more and by Halloween we both knew that was where we wanted to be…Neither of us has looked back since. We are truly inseparable — she is my best friend and I have no idea what I would do without her.”

Current status: “Spicy”; Will have been dating for 3 years this November

Bonus: “Fun fact, I composed a rap song with a few friends for her 21st birthday here is a link.”

Christopher from Lisa's birthday -2
(Photo from Chris and Casey)

Rosemary (Uhar) and Michael Gurysh

Graduation dates: Michael 1962 & 1964 College of Education; Rosemary 1964 College of Education

(Photos from Stephanie Krohto)
**This story was submitted by  Rosemary and Michael’s daughter, Stephanie Krohto**
“My parents met in a zoology lab when they were both undergraduates. My father was dressed up that day in a suit because he had a job interview after class. They were paired up as lab partners to dissect a fetal pig. My father asked my mother if she would perform all of the cutting & handling of the pig because he didn’t want to risk getting anything on his suit. She obliged and this then led to their first date,” Stephanie explained.
“Their first date was at the Boalsburg Steakhouse. They discovered that they grew up 10 miles from each other in two small towns about an hour east of State College. They continued to date even while my father did his student teaching outside Harrisburg. During the summers he would visit my mom at “The Fence” where she worked as a waitress. This was an eating establishment where the waitresses brought the food out to their customer’s cars,” she added.
“My father graduated from Penn State in 1962 with his B.S. degree. He then returned to Penn State to complete his Master’s degree & be near his “Ro.” He proposed to her on the grass in front of Frear Lab. They both graduated in May 1964 and were married in August 1964.”

Current status: Married 51 years!

Bonus: “Both their children & one of their grandsons attended Penn State.” Here’s a list of the family alumni: Stephanie (Gurysh) Krohto – Eberly College of Science ’89; Michael Gurysh – College of Education ’92; Colin Krohto – freshman, College of Engineering; Additional family alumni -David Gurysh (my father’s brother) – College of Engineering; Ken Gurysh (my father’s nephew) & his wife Michelle Duva Gurysh; Wade Gurysh (my father’s nephew) & his wife LeeAnn Foellner Gurysh. Quite the Penn State family tree!

To submit your own story, fill out this form. And be sure to check out our previous Love Stories, parts one, two, three, fourfiveand six

Your ad blocker is on.

Please choose an option below.

Sign up for our e-mail newsletter:
Support quality journalism:
Purchase a Subscription!

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].”

[Photo Story] Penn State Basketball Returns To Rec Hall

Our photographers were on hand to capture the sights of Penn State basketball’s return to Rec Hall.

No. 1 Penn State Wrestling Stomps Edinboro 55-0 On Senior Night

All 10 wrestlers secured bonus point victories, including four pins.

Former Penn State Hoops Guard Andrew Funk Signs Two-Way NBA Contract With Chicago Bulls

Funk helped the Nittany Lions make the NCAA Tournament in 2023.

Follow on Another Platform
Other posts by Brandilyn

Penn State Love Stories 2015-16: Part 9

This week’s love stories follows a few long-distance relationships that overcame the odds thanks to true love.

The Life And Death Of The Penn State Elms

Penn State Love Stories 2015-16: Part 8