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Penn State Love Stories: A Second Chance At Love

At a school as large as Penn State, you’ll cross paths with countless other students during your four years. Most of these encounters are small — a walk-by on the way to class, a question asked about the previous night’s homework, or a conversation at a party. The majority of these interactions last only a brief moment before they are gone. But for Chantelle and Dan Otto, this chance encounter wasn’t nearly the end.

It was 2004 and the dawn of Chantelle’s freshman year at Penn State when she and her friends headed out for the night to an apartment party. From the moment she opened the door to walk inside, she couldn’t help but notice the boy across the room.

I walked in, saw him in his yellow polo and knew immediately I wanted to talk to him,” Chantelle said.

When Chantelle approached Dan, they hit it off instantly. Their chemistry sparked a conversation that lasted the entire evening. But even though both students noticed the undeniable connection, it would be a year before they would cross paths again.

During the fall of 2005, Chantelle went to hang out with some friends at a Beta Sigma Beta fraternity party. Little did she know that Dan was pledging the fraternity at the time. Despite being in the same house, Chantelle didn’t happen to lay eyes on him that night. But when Dan saw the girl from the party the previous year at the last minute, he knew he couldn’t pass up a second chance with her.

The next day, a simple online message would change Chantelle’s life forever.

The next day I received a Facebook message (back when Facebook was just for a select number of colleges) from him asking if I wanted to go to his next formal,” she said.

She said yes, optimistic about finally getting to see Dan again. Despite having a year’s worth of catching up to do, their first real date proved the connection remained.

(Photo: Chantelle Otto)
(Photo: Chantelle Otto)

The two students immediately began dating and remained in a steady relationship throughout their time at Penn State. Dan graduated with a finance degree from Smeal in 2008 and Chantelle graduated with a chemical engineering degree the following year. Even after graduation, the couple never stopped bleeding blue and white. In fact, each future milestone of the relationship revolved around their alma mater.

“After graduation we continued our love story, got engaged at Penn State during the first football weekend of 2012, and got married on June 28, 2014,” Chantelle said.

The couple enjoyed taking their engagement photos at their favorite spots around campus. In fact, they even celebrated their perfect wedding with the theme “An Elegant Penn State Romance.”

The couple has such a love for the university that they even chose to hold off on receiving wedding gifts in order to donate to a cause close to their hearts.

“In lieu of traditional wedding gifts we gave donations in our guests honor to Beta Sigma Beta Autism Speaks U and the David S. Lipson Trustee Scholarship (as David Lipson was a Beta Sig and friend and mentor to Dan),” Chantelle said.

It’s no question the couple owes the best four years of their lives, as well as the budding of an amazing romance, to Penn State. One of the best parts of their relationship is their shared love for the place they still call home.

“I am a fourth generation Penn Stater, so we truly bleed blue and white,” Chantelle said. “Dan and I travel to Penn State at least five times a year for fall games, Beta Sig Autism Speaks U Run, Blue/White weekend, and whenever another family member graduates.”

Though Chantelle admits there have been tough moments over the years, the couple knows they can always rely on each other — the connection they formed as young college students has never faltered. After 12 years, the couple is expecting their first baby in November, with whom they can’t wait to share their love for their school.

“We cherish Penn State and the tradition it brings to our lives.”

About the Author

Claire Fountas

Claire Fountas is the student life editor for Onward State, as well as a junior pursuing a double major in journalism and psychology. She lives in a suburb of Chicago and strongly disagrees with anyone who hates the Cubs or the Blackhawks (so, pretty much anyone at Penn State). You can follow her @ClaireFountas or email her at [email protected]

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