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Penn State Love Stories: Missed Chances And The Halloween Party That Started It All

It’s a common belief: There’s a right time for everything. In fact, people often go years without knowing someone is the one for them (or even meeting this person) even though they were right there the whole time. For Dave Kaminski and Ashley Occhipinti, it took a slew of missed chances and even moving to a new campus before fate finally brought them together.

Kaminski attended Penn State Worthington Scranton for his first two years as an undergrad. Throughout his enrollment, his friends were convinced that there was a certain girl on that very campus who was perfect for him. As friends often do, Kaminski’s buddies even made a few attempts at trying to get him to meet their friend and set them up — however, the timing simply never worked out. By the time Kaminski finished his time at Worthington, he had never even met his alleged perfect match, and he even went on to begin a new relationship.

After transferring to the University Park campus, Kaminski and his friends got together to hang out on the night before a football game. That night, he finally ran into the girl his friends had once aimed to set him up with. But the encounter didn’t go as his friends had once planned — the two students were both still in other relationships when they finally crossed paths for the first time.

“At the time, we were seeing other people,” Kaminski said. “So I thought nothing of it.” 

But life often has a way defying our expectations when we least expect it. The two students continued their careers at University Park apart until one fateful night changed everything.

It was Halloween season in 2008 and Kaminski joined his friends at a costume party in Cedarbrook apartments. Kaminski was enjoying time with his friends when he suddenly heard one of them mention a familiar name — it was the name of the girl he was supposed to meet long ago, and she was going to stop by that night.

When Occhipinti walked into the room, it was as if something new had suddenly awakened inside of him. Kaminski knew he had just laid eyes on the girl he was supposed to be with forever.

“…it was almost destiny that we were both single and happened to run into each other,” Kaminski said. “I knew by the name that this was the girl I was supposed to meet, and it finally was happening…by pure coincidence.” 

The two students introduced themselves and sparked an instant connection when Occhipinti noticed his Philadelphia Eagles hat. They discussed their love for their favorite team and, from then on, conversation flowed perfectly. They even discovered they grew up 15 minutes away from each other without meeting once.

The group later traveled to the Phyrst and Cafe 210 before the night was over. Although surrounded by a crowd, the two continued to spend the evening getting to know each other. They knew they’d be hanging out much more often after that, and on November 28th of that same year, they became an official couple.

As time went on, Kaminski and Occhipinti enjoyed the rest of their time together as undergrads before graduating from Penn State in December of 2009. As they moved on to their new careers and the next step in their lives, Kaminski knew it would soon be time to take the next step in their relationship as well.

It was November 15, 2014, and the couple decided to come back to campus to hang out with old friends and go to a football game later that day. Kaminski knew that proposing at the school that first brought the couple together was the perfect way to start the next part of their lives together. However, Kaminski’s plan started off with a small bump in the road.

He had planned to take Occhipinti on a walk around Beaver Stadium before the game, eventually ending at the Pennsylvania State University sign nearby. But Kaminski began to feel anxious when Occhipinti said her ankle was hurting her and asked to drive to the game instead.

“I’m thinking, how am I going to pull this off with everyone waiting and hiding because of traffic?” Kaminski said. 

But despite the change in plans, luck was on his side and the timing worked out perfectly. Kaminski got down on one knee surrounded by the couple’s friends and family, and it was a day that changed their lives forever.

The couple held their Penn State-themed wedding at Montdale Country Club and St. Ann’s Basilica in Scranton, but they made sure to stop at the Worthington campus for photos that day. 

“Ashley and I came out to Zombie Nation, and every now and then had the “lion roar” played and sang Sweet Caroline with our closest family and friends,” Kaminski said. “That too was a beautiful day weather-wise and such a special moment for us.” 

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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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