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Terp First Dates to Celebrate

On Valentine’s, Happily-Ever-After Couples Share Stories of Getting Together

By Lauren Brown

Animation of turtle-shell-shaped box of chocolates

Animation by Valerie Morgan; photos courtesy of Terp couples

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Terps shared their stories about memorable first dates, including dinner at Three Brothers Pizza, dancing at basketball games, sharing fries at The Diner and more.

Nothing says romance like dinner at Three Brothers Pizza, or a rump-shaking dance at a Terps basketball game. Ooh, ooh! How about shared fries at The Diner? (Getting tear-gassed seems to bring people together, too.)

Such are the starting points on the path to true love for Maryland students. They may be hampered by college-size wallets, a lack of private transportation or a bad case of tongue tied-ness. But they have imagination and heart, and dare we say, a little bit of fearlessness.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked Terps on social media to share their stories about memorable first dates, expecting to hear tales ranging from the silly and sour to the sweet and sentimental. We got it half-right. The surprising number of responses shared one theme: Terps love Terps.

Here are 10 of the first-date stories we enjoyed:

Jennifer was a teller at the Citizens Bank of Maryland in the basement of the Stamp, and I was desperate to ask her out. I went to the bank every day so I could stand in her line. I withdrew and deposited the same five dollars every day for a solid week before getting the nerve to ask her on a date. Thankfully, she said yes. I took her to Sir Walter Raleigh Inn for dinner. We ended the night in Lot 1, slow-dancing on the back of my pickup truck to her favorite country music. It was a great first date. We've been married 34 years.
—Stephen ’85 and Jennifer Ayers ’83

Sadie Lynch, Daniel Callow and President Loh at a UMD soccer gameI met Daniel Callow, my fiancé, at Orientation, and our first date was a men’s soccer game freshman year where we got to sit next to President Loh! He proposed this past December after sending me through a scavenger hunt throughout campus where we walked around and reminisced about our time together at UMD. 
—Sadie Lynch ’18, M.S. ’19

On May 5, 1971, the first anniversary of the invasion of Cambodia, I was walking toward Route 1 after class when a most enthusiastic tall guy with a camera around his neck stopped me to say the National Guard was gathering behind the Book Exchange. We started chatting, and I thought he was cute and funny. Suddenly, people were throwing rocks at the Book Exchange windows, and the National Guard started advancing. He asked if I was game, I said yes and we ran the other way. Best decision of my life. We spent six hours together, getting tear-gassed while he took pictures documenting the events and meeting many of his friends along the way. As martial law was declared, he walked me to my dorm, where I was the only occupant of LaPlata Hall unaccounted for. He called his sister that night and told her he met the girl he was going to marry. Four years later, he did! My husband, physicist and Distinguished University Professor Jordan Goodman, never left Maryland. Between the two of us and our two children, we have eight degrees from UMD (plus one from the School of Medicine). In March, as lifetime members of the Alumni Association, we celebrate 45 years of marriage and 49 years since we met at the University of Maryland.
—Carole Goodman ’73, M.A. ’78

Jennifer and Ting Yang with arms around each other Back in 2001, I was a junior when I went out on a date with a classmate who was a senior. We had taken an acting class together the year before, and the teacher paired us to do our final scene, about a married couple, from “Our Town.” We never really hung out outside of class until the following semester, when we ran into each other three times in one week. We decided that the universe was telling us we needed to hang out, so we went to dinner in Rockville at Tara Thai. I was trying not to stuff my face, so I left a good portion of my meal to box up for leftovers, but when I returned from the bathroom he told me he had taken care of it—he ate it! It was love at last bite. We have been married for 15 years (this July) and have two kids! Thanks, UMD! 
—Jennifer ’03 and Ting Yang ’02

I met my now-husband, David Levitt, in Spring 2005. We were chatting over AOL Instant Messenger one night before a Terps basketball game when David informed me he was going to win “Dance for Your Dinner” there. I didn’t believe him, so I told him if he won he would have to take me out to dinner with his winnings. I went to the game, and when they started “Dance for Your Dinner,” I looked up at the screen and saw David dancing around and smacking his rear end. He won dinner at Three Brothers Pizza in Beltway Plaza, so we took a Shuttle-UM bus to our first date. The rest is history. We have been married for seven years and have two little Terps of our own. Testudo even surprised us at our wedding! Thanks and go Terps!
—Amy Levitt ’07

Evan Lutz and Lauren MasonWe met during a party on a snow day in February 2014. I lost my wallet and recruited Evan to help find it. Turns out it was buried in a pile of snow. We exchanged numbers, and our first date was at the Jerk Pit. We shared a love for delicious food, the outdoors, dogs, adventure and, of course, Testudo. Evan proposed while on vacation in Austria, and I said yes! We’re getting married in November. We frequently return to campus to root for our Terps, get our favorite foods and reminisce. We hope our future children attend UMD someday. Go Terps!
—Lauren Mason ’14 and Evan Lutz ’14

My husband, Bob, and I have been married 48 years, and it all started my junior year in November 1970 with a concert by Grand Funk Railroad at Cole Field House. We had seats near the front entrance, and when people tried to storm the entrance, the police tear-gassed them. The tear gas made its way into the building, and our eyes were watering so badly we couldn’t help but laugh. What a crazy first date!
—Rita Phelps, School of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies retiree

Marina Farrugia and Garrett DeardenOur first date wasn’t on the University of Maryland campus, but while studying abroad in Meknes, Morocco through UMD's Arabic Flagship Program. We spent June 2017 to May 2018 in Morocco studying our butts off, and learning we had a lot in common. Our first date was at the only American-esque restaurant in the city, where we enjoyed a taste of home by eating wings covered in Old Bay we both had brought with us. Since then, he has represented UMD as a now-first lieutenant in the Army stationed at Ft. Hood, while I help our communities through law. We are forever grateful that our experiences at UMD brought us together. 
—Marina Farrugia ’18 and Garrett Dearden ’18

My girlfriend and I met at UMD, when she was in the chemistry program and I was in the Russian program. There was very little crossover in classes, but we both ended up working at PNP, the on-campus group, and I knew from the moment I saw her there that she was different. We started talking at work and had our first date at the Diner to eat fries, an event later dubbed the Fry Run. And even though the night ended with a respectable exchange of peace signs, I couldn’t wait for the next—she gave me butterflies that persist to this day. We’ve been seeing each other for over five years, thanks in part to the welcoming and open community at UMD that made our meeting possible. In case this gets posted, I love you, Ren!
—Kevin Hille ’17

Jon and I met on the third day of school, freshman year, almost 20 years ago (August 2000) on Easton 7. I lived on Easton 5 and we had a mutual friend in the building. We went to a poster sale and mapped out our path to get to classes! Our first “date” was on Valentine’s Day at the buffet outside our dorm. A friend who didn’t know this came and sat with us for a most memorable date! We’ve been together ever since.
—Jennifer Lloyd ’04

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