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Shell-ebrating Valentine’s Day With 5 Terp Couples

From Dungeons and Dragons to Flag Football, Alums Share What Brought Them Together

By Karen Shih ’09

pink and green terrapins with hearts

Terp couples celebrating recent weddings or decades of marriage share the stories behind their connections.

Animation by Gail Rupert M.L.S. ’10

Craving something sweet this Valentine’s Day? Maryland Today is here to help. We might not be able to gift you a box of bonbons—plan ahead next year by ordering chocolate-covered strawberries from the Dairy—but we’ve got a collection of delectable tales from Terps in love.

Whether they met on the field or crunching numbers for homework, these alums share a love of the University of Maryland and each other, and many are raising a new generation of little Terps. Here are five stories:

Michael Shindledecker ’16 and Colin Morrow ’16 pose with dogs

Game, Set, Match
Love, in many cases, can be a roll of the dice. Just ask Michael Shindledecker ’16 and Colin Morrow ’16.

“We love Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer and really any type of board game with friends,” said Michael. “We’re very big nerds.”

They met at a Pride party as sophomores, then reconnected at a Pride parade in Washington, D.C. Michael proposed to Colin just months after graduation—with a Ring Pop for a little levity—and they took engagement photos on campus. They’ve been married since 2018, and now live in Herndon, Va., with their two dogs.

“Communication is key,” said Colin. “When problems arise, because problems are always going to arise, it is us versus the problem, not one of us versus the other.”—by Andrew Faught

then and now pictures of the Crandons

A Romance Engineered to Last
Electrical engineering major Laura (Randall) Crandon ’91 struggled with differential equations as an undergrad. Luckily, mechanical engineering major Heston Crandon ’90 stepped in as her tutor.

“He was kind, a real family man,” Laura said of Heston, a first-generation immigrant from Guyana who was working his way through school. After many study sessions, she gave him a card for his birthday, the first he had ever received.

Today, they have three children—two biological sons and an adopted daughter—who have carried on Terp pride through UMD summer camps, Homecoming games and Nyumburu events. This summer, they’re heading to the Seychelles Islands for their 30th anniversary.

Jason ’00 Emala holds Ashley (Mandel) ’01 upside down

Upside Down in Ellicott
“Jason and I met a few hours after my parents left on move-in day in the fall of 1997. We both lived on Ellicott 7.

He was a sophomore and told me he didn’t date freshmen. This fall we’ll celebrate 19 years of marriage.”—Ashley (Mandel) ’01 and Jason ’00 Emala

wedding photo and athletic portraits of Kirstie (Dennig) ’13 and Casey ’15 Ikeda

A Winning Combination
Not every wedding can have two national-champion coaches among the guests. But for field hockey alum Kirstie (Dennig) ’13 and lacrosse alum Casey ’15 Ikeda, it was a given, because they met while part of two of Maryland Athletics’ most successful sports programs.

After getting married in 2019, they’re now proud parents to boys Grant, 2, and Quinn, 6 months, and have rounded out their family with a golden retriever named Knox—named after the street where they lived together in College Park.

“Hopefully the boys will be Terps too,” said Kristie. “Maryland just means so much to us and it’s such a big part of our family.”—by Alyssa Muir

Joe Oudin '14 and Liz Wasden Oudin '15 hold yellow Lab

STARTing a Love Connection
Walking backward across campus as Maryland Images tour guides, Joe Oudin '14 and Liz Wasden Oudin '15 had plenty of opportunities to cross paths. But it wasn’t until after they graduated and Liz joined the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) team, where Joe already worked, that they got to know each other better.

After a few seasons playing in the faculty/staff intramural flag football league, they finally went on their first date in February 2018 and tied the knot in October 2022.

"The best part of being married to a fellow Terp is having someone to continue to share in University of Maryland traditions as alumni," said Liz. "We love tailgating UMD football games in the fall, supporting Terp basketball from sports bars around our house in Baltimore, and celebrating with friends at the Alumni Association events."





Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.