Share your own on UWL’s Facebook page
About a month ago, we asked for UWL love stories. Many alumni shared on social media how they met and even married at UWL. Here we give you four of our favorite stories! Did you miss the post? You can still share on our university Facebook page.
Love emerges on an Amtrak train
Alums Crystal, ’03, and Adam Rogahn, ’02, tell their kids, jokingly, that they’ll fund their college education — if and only if — they attend UWL.
Because they know it’s a close-knit place. At UWL you can meet someone time and time again until you become friends — and sometimes even get married.
That’s Crystal and Adam’s story. It started on an Amtrak train in 2001 when they were both coming back to UWL from a weekend break in Milwaukee. Cyrstal and her two UWL friends were boarding the train when Crystal spotted Adam — black hair, dark-rimmed glasses, a muscular build and a somewhat nerdy look — that was exactly her type.
“Let’s go sit by that guy,” she told them. “He’s cute.”
Crystal took the open spot alongside Adam and the three-hour train ride flew by. They talked about their friendships, their majors and their lives. When the train arrived in La Crosse, they knew a lot about one another — except each other’s phone numbers. They didn’t exchange them.
Crystal later scanned the UWL directory for any “Adam,” but she couldn’t remember if he said he went to high school in Mukwonago … or maybe it was Muskego? (Years later she learned his mailing address was actually Waukesha).
Being in completely different areas of study — communication studies and computer science, Crystal thought they would never cross paths again.
But they did — a lot. Adam and Crystal ran into each other getting food at Whitney Center, walking past Hoeschler Tower, visiting a professor they both had, and even when looking to rent a house near campus. Their frequent meetings led to slowly forming a friendship.
Finally, on a freezing cold day in downtown La Crosse, the two decided it was time to date. The rest is history.
They married in 2006.
“You are always going to have relationships in college, but I think the relationships you build in La Crosse — they are for a lifetime. Our friends from La Crosse are still in our lives today,” notes Crystal. “If we had gone to a bigger school, I probably never would have ran into Adam again.”
Real campus roots
The roots of Julie and Shane Roh’s relationship are firmly planted at UW-La Crosse.
That’s not only because the couple met on campus. It’s also because they donated a tree to the university to celebrate their marriage in 1996. That tree is now growing tall between Graff Main Hall and Wing Technology Center, a commemorative stone with their names alongside it.
Although the two first met as residents in Trowbridge Hall, Shane, ’93, and Julie’s relationship bloomed in summer 1992 when they were both campus Vangaurds. They also held jobs downtown on Third Street as a bouncer and waitress, respectively.
Their engagement came not long after they graduated. They returned to La Crosse for a friend’s wedding and took a stroll through campus. Right outside Trowbridge Hall, Shane got down on his knee.
Although the exact spot of their proposal is now in the footprint of Centennial Hall, their tree serves as a memorial of their start.
They frequently return to visit it — at times with their two children.
Julie says her hope when they planted the tree was that maybe, perhaps, one day another couple of love birds would meet or marry at the same spot
Couple returns to the place they love
Rebecca and Dan Anderson, both ’09, married in Port O’ Call with UWL Alumnus Joe Gangl, the friend who introduced them, as their officiant.
The Cartwright Center ceremony made sense because UW-La Crosse is where they made some of their best memories.
Like move-in day in Fall 2006 when met hauling boxes into “Hutch” Hall.
Or, the many mornings they spent eating “Judy omelets” by cook Judy at Whitney Center.
Or, the evenings they spent enjoying a long conversation down in the Cellar.
They hiked the bluffs, took trips in downtown, cheered from the bleachers at athletics events and attended many Campus Activities Board events — except Taylor Swift. “We didn’t think she was that big of a deal. We thought, we’ll skip it… watch a movie instead,” recalls Rebecca with a laugh.
UWL is where they met their best friends — to this day — and the place Dan’s parents met too. Diane (Sprecher) Anderson, ’81, saw Todd Anderson, ’82, as they passed each other on the stairwell of Wilder Hall. They later became partners in the L-Bar-X Dancers, a folk dance group on campus, before marrying in 1982.
There is something special about UWL and the City of La Crosse. Dan and Rebecca feel it so much that on their 10th wedding anniversary, they have found a way to come back to make La Crosse their home.
Dan, who just completed his residency, will start as a neurologist at Mayo Clinic Health System – Franciscan Healthcare and the couple is in the process of packing up boxes to return.
“It was always in our end game to come back,” says Rebecca. “We did a lot of things during our time there at UWL — and also in the greater La Crosse community — and we fell in love with it.”
Just like they fell in love with each other.
Setbacks don’t stop this UWL couple
Melissa and Kyle met when a UWL English professor took attendance their freshman year. As their names were called, the two noticed they had the same last name.
Kyle Schulz turned to Melissa, “How do you spell it?” he asked.
“No ‘t,’” she replied.
“Me too,” he said.
That simple conversation starter transformed into a marriage that has endured some very fun, yet also exceedingly challenging times.
“We learned how to lean on each other — or at times even carry each other to continue our journey,” explains Melissa.
In college both faced health challenges. Kyle, an offensive lineman on UWL’s football team, suffered a knee injury that red-shirted him for part of the year.
During Melissa’s first year, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis — a disease that required giving herself daily injections. Through research, reading and conversations with her doctor, she eventually found ways to suppress MS with dietary changes and end the injections. Today, Melissa feels healthier than she did at age 18. Her adult life has been active, running 5Ks and participating in martial arts.
A big part of what helped her through was connection to family and Kyle, she says. “In a time that Kyle could have turned away from me due to this disease, he was a major support,” she says.
Today Melissa and Kyle, proud graduates of UWL’s teacher education program, are teachers in Omro and Ripon, Wisconsin.
While they’ve found happiness in their careers and life together, post-college plans brought new challenges.
Kyle and Melissa had hoped to start a family soon after their 2012 marriage, but they had difficulty conceiving. After a few years, they decided to try a different approach and adopted frozen embryos from another couple. When the embryos were transferred, Melissa was then able to experience pregnancy and the birth of their children.
The couple’s first attempt at frozen embryo transfer in September 2017 resulted in a miscarriage. “Although this was a sad time, we knew that we could not end our story there,” says Melissa.
The couple tried again in March 2018. When they had their first ultrasound, it confirmed Melissa was pregnant — this time with twin boys.
They welcomed the boys, Aiden and Theo, in October 2018. Born a little over a month early, at 5 lbs 4 oz. and 3 lb. 8.5 oz., respectively, the babies spent their first few weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The adventure didn’t stop there, explains Melissa. Doctors determined Theo could be experiencing heart failure and he was transferred to Madison’s American Family Children Hospital. The couple grew worried, but persevered through the first few weeks.
“With weeks of strong medical care, we were so happy to take both babies home the day before Thanksgiving,” says Melissa. “It was truly something to be thankful for.”
Melissa says the experiences she and Kyle have been through have transformed their relationship tremendously.
“This developed into a new level of love and respect for what our relationship meant and the value of the love we have,” she says. “Our challenges also lead to a deeper faith in each other and in God.”
Kyle and Melissa say their journey would not have been possible without the support from family, friends and people they met along the way with similar stories. The experiences have led to a willingness to help others in similar situations. Those undergoing struggles starting a family and have an interest in learning more about the embryo adoption process or those interested in managing MS through dietary means are welcome to contact Melissa and Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.