Alum says “yes” to marriage at swing

UW-L alums Jenn O’Neill and Michael Hemmer sit on the swing outside Graff Main Hall right after Hemmer's marriage proposal.

UW-L alums Michael Hemmer and Jenn O’Neill sit at the swing outside Graff Main Hall right after Hemmer's marriage proposal.

The swing outside of Graff Main Hall holds a lot of significance for UW-L alums Jenn O’Neill and Michael Hemmer. After meeting as seniors on the UW-L Student Senate, O’Neill and Hemmer started dating.

Their meeting place between classes and before dates was always the swing on the southeast corner of the building.

After graduation in May 2010, Hemmer started graduate school at North Dakota State University in Fargo, N.D., and O’Neill started law school in the opposite direction in Marquette University in Milwaukee. But the two continued to travel across state lines to meet every semester at the midway point — their alma mater.

On Friday, Sept. 16, the two had plans to meet again. O’Neill arrived first and headed to the campus bookstore where the two had discussed meeting first to buy some UW-L mugs. But Hemmer felt this time the swing where their relationship started would be the best meeting place.

“I told her I’m running late, so let’s meet at the swing,” he says.

The place has significance for the two now more than ever. When O’Neill arrived, Hemmer got down on one knee. O’Neill said, “Yes.”

“I was already excited to be back in La Crosse. No I don’t know what to do with myself — I’m very happy,” explained O’Neill right after the proposal.

Featured in the Winter 2011-12 Magazine