With the emergence of dating apps and hookup culture, it seems like less students find love through school involvement and more so on a frat dance floor. But don’t give up hope! You never know where love could find you. Many lifelong couples kindled their romance right here on campus—these are just a few of their stories.
ED ♡ GINA
In 1981, Ed Pozzuoli and Gina Rodriguez were undergraduate students studying business at The U. It all started when they were paired on a student government campaign ticket—Ed was running for president and Gina as his treasurer. But Pozzuoli wished to be more than friends with Rodriguez—he wanted her to be his first lady rather than his treasurer. Ed asked her out, but she declined. “When we first met, I kind of didn’t like him much,” Gina said. “I thought he was kind of, you know…it just wasn’t really love at first sight.” Although the couple didn’t secure the presidential win, they would soon gain something more.
Months later, on the day of the Penn State vs. Miami homecoming game, the two stood in the stands of the Orange Bowl next to each other. While watching the field intently, it began pouring rain. Naturally, Pozzuoli offered to share his umbrella with Rodriguez. “That’s just when it kind of clicked,” Rodriguez said. “After he asked me out the third time, I said yes.” The couple has now been married for 39 years.
UM was meant to be, but that’s not how the pair saw things earlier in life. After graduating from high schools in Florida, both Pozzuoli and Rodriguez had hopes of attending northern schools. But their parents said they had to stay local. As it turned out, this was fate taking its course.
Dating life at UM has changed quite a bit since the 80s, said the couple. “There isn’t even a dating scene today,” said Rodriguez. But meeting your true love in college is not impossible. In fact, their own daughter, Elizabeth Pozzuoli, met her current beau in much the same way as her parents.
ELIZABETH ♡ WILL
It started in the spring of 2017. The two freshman had a class together in the School of Communication—Elizabeth was studying public relations and Will media management. They were classmates, but nothing more. “I didn’t think anything of it. I always thought he was cute, and he was one of few boys in communication school classes,” Pozzuoli laughed. The next fall, Elizabeth was planning an event on campus as part of her role in UM’s Homecoming Executive Committee. She’d booked one of the school’s Sebastian mascots to be there. The person who showed up in an Ibis costume turned out to be, you guessed it, Will LaRossa. After that, Pozzuoli and LaRossa began getting closer. The pair talked almost every day via Snapchat over winter break of their junior year. Both of them came back to campus before the start of the spring semester, Will to be an Orientation Leader and Elizabeth for sorority recruitment. Pozzuoli said she casually asked LaRossa to grab some food. “I never really interpreted it as me asking him on a date, but he thinks of it as our first,” she said. They went to Spris, a pizza restaurant near campus and hit it off. “We were there until the place closed just talking,” Pozzuoli said.
Their favorite memory at UM, though, is Homecoming week during their senior year. Elizabeth was head of the homecoming committee and Will was a dedicated (but devotedly anonymous) Sebastian. “It was one of most memorable weeks at UM for us,” Elizabeth reminisced fondly.
When COVID-19 sent students to virtual classrooms in March 2020, the couple were just weeks away from earning their degrees. Both graduated virtually and began applying for jobs. But a tough job market led them right back to each other—both are now back at The U in the MBA program.
DEAN ♡ CHRISTIAN
In the fall of 1988, Dean Furman spent his days leading up to the student government election searching for someone to be the Mahoney-Pearson senator on his ticket. “I didn’t have someone to fill that spot, so a friend of mine had a friend who was a freshman, and her name was Christian Davis,” said Furman. Davis ran over to meet with Furman immediately after rowing practice and agreed to be on the ticket.
A few days later, the two spoke on the phone to cover campaign logistics. Furman mentioned to Davis that she would have to contribute to a shared campaign fund. “She didn’t know there was money involved, and said no to being our Mahoney candidate,” said Furman. This left Furman with a day to find a replacement. “It left a bitter taste in my mouth and she was definitely on my ‘out’ list at the time,” recalled Furman.
Once the heat of the election died down, Furman was able to focus more on the student-led paper, The Forum. He put his phone number in the paper for peers to give their feedback. “There was only one person who called me,” Furman recalled. “It was Christian.” Davis had been a fan of The Forum and decided to give Furman her positive feedback, unaware at the time that they had met previously.
Furman had not forgotten the bind Davis put him in during the prior semester, but Davis had. This was the last time the two spoke until they were coincidentally Resident Assistants on the same floor of Mahoney.
As RAs, Davis and Furman experienced special events together, including a retreat to Key West. During a round of ice breaker games, Davis made it clear that she was interested in Furman. “I kept asking him, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ ‘Your favorite food?’ It was obvious that I was trying to get to know him,” said Davis. One evening, at the dining hall, a fellow RA mentioned that Stevie Nicks would be coming to town. Furman said he would be interested in going. “As soon as I agreed Christian piped in…” said Furman. “I love Stevie Nicks. He is one of my favorites!” said Davis. She didn’t have as much interest in Stevie Nicks as she did in Furman. “I didn’t even know that was a girl!” she said. Their first real date consisted of them, Stevie Nicks and a fellow RA, Earl.
Furman proposed to Davis during the winter break of her senior year. The couple was meeting up for the holidays, but Furman had bigger plans. “I was totally shocked,” remembered Davis. Clearly forgiving and forgetting can be worthwhile.
HERB ♡ SALLY
Although the college dating scene has changed throughout the years, persistence remains one of the most vital tactics. In the summer of 1965, Herb Ford was attending the University of Miami to get his master’s degree. He spent the summertime studying and singing in the South Miami Methodist Church choir, that is, when he wasn’t teaching math. During one special choir practice, a girl named Sally Lieux walked in. “I was back in the bass section, and she walked in, and that’s where I saw her for the first time,” said Ford. She immediately caught his attention and he decided to try to catch her after rehearsal let out. “I thought, ‘Gee, maybe I should check out this girl.’”
Lieux, going into her final year at the University of Miami, was to be married to a man serving in the Vietnam War. They had been dating for a few years and were to be engaged her senior year, according to her plan.
After choir practices, many members would congregate at a local bakery for dessert and Cuban coffee. “Oh, it smelled delicious. You would go up US-1 and smell them baking bread,” said Lieux. Ford took this opportunity to ask Lieux out. “I can go out with you as a friend. My boyfriend is in the service,” she said. “No problem,” he replied. Five hot Miami weeks went by on campus. After a Tuesday night date, Ford confessed how he felt about Lieux. “I told her she was making a mistake by marrying the other guy and that she should marry me instead, because I loved her.” Lieux responded, “Well, let me think about it. I’ll give you an answer in a week.”
Lieux, a duo bass musician, played summer concerts with a local orchestra. She invited Ford to a rehearsal on a Friday night. As the musicians tuned their instruments, Ford wondered what Lieux’s answer would be. Lieux requested that Ford meet her underneath the bleachers. “She was standing there talking to a man I didn’t know…he turned out to be her teacher,” said Ford. Ford and the professor were mid-handshake when Sally said, “I want you to meet my fiancé.” The two were shocked, but Ford was thrilled to finally have the answer he was looking for.
The two were married the day before Lieux’s graduation in 1966. After a night in Miami Beach, they headed to the Convention Center, where Lieux turned her tassel and graduated from the University of Miami. “Can we leave now?” Lieux remembered thinking. She was ready for the honeymoon.
The two have since lived in Miami and are grandparents to Ethan Ford, a current student at the University of Miami. Lieux reminisced on the layout of the campus when she went to orientation with Ethan. “I asked, ‘Where is the bowling alley?’ That was where we had our first date…It’s not there anymore!”
PATTI ♡ ALLEN
You’ve heard their namesake around campus, but you might not know the epic love story of these UM beneficiaries. Together, they’ve given over $100 million to our university, benefiting the business school, the wellness center and Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, to name a few.
Patti and Allan Herbert crossed paths on campus in 1954, when Allan spotted her typing in the University’s student union while applying for a job with the Miami Hurricane student newspaper. “For me, it was literally love at first sight,” recalled Allan Herbert.
But it would take a 3,000 mile trip to officially kick-start their relationship. While on vacation with his parents in California, Allan Herbert ran into, of all people, Patti McBride, who was also vacationing in the Golden State with her family.“
That really started the romance,” said Allan Herbert. “I figured if it was that fortuitous that we could meet 3,000 miles away in a western town, then there was something special about it and we had to make the most of it. It was the beginning of a love story that would last forever.”
So, he invited her on a date to visit a new theme park called Disneyland. It was Allan Herbert’s persistence that won Patti McBride over. “He wore me down,” Patti Herbert said.
The couple married in 1958. Patti didn’t want a big wedding. “She said we should use the money to go on a honeymoon to Europe.” So, they did. They flew for 13 hours to attend the 1958 World’s Fair. From there, they took a helicopter ride to Paris, landing at the Eiffel Tower. “There we were, a 21-year-old and 22-year-old seeing Europe for the first time—on our own,” Allan Herbert said.
*reporting courtesy of UM Communications
words_natalie abatemarco. photos_nailah anderson. design_avani choudhary.
This article was published in Distraction’s spring 2021 print issue.