We received over 50 submissions for our IWU Valentine’s Day contest, and have loved reading each and every one. These are the stories only God can write! From coffee dates at McConn to proposals at the Williams Prayer Chapel, game nights in dorm lobbies to long conversations in Baldwin, the IWU campus has had the privilege of connecting generations of students in lifelong relationships.
While this article highlights the special gift of marriage, we recognize that there have been other special relationships formed at IWU with friends and professors with stories just as beautiful. Take a moment this Valentine’s Day to thank God for the blessing they have been in your life and send them a note of encouragement.
And now, without further ado, please enjoy these three featured IWU love stories, and a special Alumni staff member’s love story, in the words of those who are living them!
Names: Josh ’15 and Ashley (Foote) ‘ 14 Witkowski
Years Married: 5
Story (as told by Ashley): It was the second day of classes at the beginning of a new school year. We happened to meet randomly (or, not so randomly!) in the lobby of South Hall. We hung out with mutual friends a few times before I got a call one night from Josh. He was at the intramural football fields on campus and needed to get to Marion General Hospital for a severely dislocated pinky finger, and I was the only person he knew with access to a car. The rest is history – and Josh still has a slightly crooked pinky to remind us of those early days.
Post-Graduation: Josh is an investment consultant at Charles Schwab, and Ashley is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom. We live in Westfield, Indiana, with our 16-month-old daughter, Peyton.
Names: Mark ’07 and Helen (Strycker) ’08 Mahoney
Years Married: 13
Story (as told by Helen): Mark and I were introduced by Dr. Wilbur Williams. We had both had a “Coffee Date” with him the same week and he wanted us to meet. On a Friday in October, we had a blind date, going to a haunted house with a junior high youth group. We had plenty of time to ask a million questions and even talk about beliefs and how much God means to us. By the end of the night, we knew that we wanted to see more of each other. A little over a year later, Mark proposed to me (an elaborate scavenger hunt all over campus that even included me walking and talking with Dr. Wilbur Williams!). We were married the next summer after I graduated.
Post-Graduation: We have been married for 13 and 1/2 years. We have three amazing children, Liam (7), Lily (5), and Kendrick (3). Mark has been in youth ministry for 14 years with me serving as a volunteer beside him. I do some camp nursing, but mostly am a stay-at-home mom. We love playing volleyball together at our local YMCA. There are opportunities to play Frisbee disc golf and hike. We also enjoy watching football and movies.
Names: David ’69 and Pat (Walter) ’67 Troyer
Years Married: 52
Story (as told by David): When I entered Marion College in the fall of 1965, I assumed I would meet my future wife there. At that time, it was probably more of a priority than getting a fine education. I had dates with a few girls—some more steady than others—during the first part of my freshman year. But then I met Pat Walter. [Not Walters – she made it plain she was singular.]
Her roommate and I attended Home Corner Wesleyan Church in Marion, chauffeured by one of the college professors, Dr. Byron Tippey. One encouragement (as I remember it) from Dr. Tippey, I sat beside Pat. I asked her for a date to an upcoming Fine Arts or Audubon program at McConn Chapel on the campus. Our first date was on April 1, 1966. After the program, we played a board game in the Student Center in the Library basement.
I dated a few other ladies after that, until my second date with Pat in May, and then I was on the hook—no more dates with anyone but Pat. After some of our dates we would take a “shortcut” to her dorm through the orchard.
She had a call from the Lord to Native American ministry, and I had to pray through about that before I could ask her if she wanted to spend the rest of her life as my wife. I did and she said YES.
Pat graduated in 1967 and I graduated in 1969. We were married on July 19, 1969. It was Pat’s parents’ 28th and my parents’ 27th anniversaries.
Post-Graduation: We spent 35 years in Native American ministry for the Lord and the Wesleyan Church, as teachers and principal at Brainerd Indian School in Hot Springs, South Dakota, and at Wesleyan Sioux Christian Academy in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, and then as pastor and Wife at Lake Andes Wesleyan Chapel, in Lake Andes, South Dakota, on the Yankton Sioux Reservation.
My sister and two brothers found their spouses at Marion College. Our three children are graduates of Indiana Wesleyan University as are two of their spouses.
We have retired to LaOtto, Indiana, where I drive public transportation and Pat keeps the house. We are active in the Cultivate (Wesleyan) Church and are living happily ever after.
Names: Michael ’00 ’11 and Krista (Nyquist) ’05 Brown
Years Married: 25
Story (as told by Krista): Mike and I met briefly at FNL in the spring of 1995. He swept in at the last minute, put on his Swedish Chef costume and microphone, jumped up on the stage and he. was. hilarious. We didn’t actually get to know one another until that summer. I was traveling on one of the Summer Ministry Teams and ended up at a camp in North Carolina (shout out to North Carolina East camp!). Who should walk into the counselor meeting but none other than Mike Brown. Mike had been on one of the traveling teams the year before and loved that camp so volunteered to come back that summer to be on staff. By the end of the week, I was smitten. We spend the rest of the summer writing letters and started dating when we got back to campus in the fall. There were many walks around campus. (We even explored the PPAC while it was still being built. Mike’s idea…not mine.) By November we both knew that we had found the one that we would spend our lives with and were married in October of 1996.
Post-Graduation: We have been married for 25 years and we reside in Marion, Indiana. We have 8 kids (plus 2 wonderful daughters in law), 2 grand kids and 2 dogs. Mike recently graduated with his doctorate in Missiology. He teaches and writes for IWU National and Global. Krista works for IWU in the Alumni and Parent Relations office.
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