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The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

Serving the UMN community since 1900

The Minnesota Daily

UMN alumni love stories: from college sweethearts to “I do”

If it weren’t for campus engagement opportunities, some University alumni would not have met and decided to live life together.
Image by Wejdan Al Balushi

College is a place where people work towards a degree, build connections and prepare for their future. 

Some students may choose to have a part-time job, join a club or organization or attend University of Minnesota sporting events. By participating in the campus community, students meet new people and become close with them. 

For some University alumni, however, their connections extend beyond friendship. 

The origin of the love stories website

The University of Minnesota Alumni Association (UMAA) created a page sharing the stories of couples who met during their time at the University. 

The project began in 2021 to continue the UMAA’s mission to inform University alumni about news happening on campus, according to Carter Collins, director of UMAA. The Love Stories project was meant to be a positive and fun project amid the negativity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is no doubt that the University of Minnesota impacts the lives of every alumni and they’re very fortunate to have such positive stories and experiences,” Collins said.

The website is updated every year, typically around Valentine’s Day, with many stories about couples who met during their time at the University. According to Collins, UMAA gets over a thousand love stories every year. 

“These alumni love their university so much because it has set them on to a certain career path because they met their significant other and because they learned so many things,” Collins said. 

Collins said one of UMAA’s goals was to present the project to alumni as an opportunity to be ambassadors for the University without having to take on a leadership role. 

“Our hope is that any student or alumni who hears a fellow alumni story is that they feel a sense of pride and know that they’re not alone,” Collins said. “I hope students know that there are amazing people at the University of Minnesota that can change your life and one day be the love of your life.” 

Dave and Linda Mona (class of 1965 and 1967)

Dave and Linda Mona knew of one another before attending the University because their dads taught at South High School in Minneapolis. 

They first met in person as freshman camp counselors, a now-retired program for first-year students to connect in a summer camp-like style. 

“He called me and asked if I and another young woman could come over and help get stuff set up because we weren’t having summer meetings,” Linda said. “Right away, we were very intrigued with each other.” 

The Monas dated for the remainder of their college years and got married after graduation, according to Linda. 

Dave lived at home while Linda lived in Bailey Hall, which meant they would see each other on weekends due to Bailey Hall’s strict dorm schedule that prevented students from leaving the dorm late at night. 

“I just signed out that I would be going home and he would take me home for the weekend many times,” Linda said. 

Even calling each other was difficult. In a time without cell phones, Linda had to use a phone booth, located on every floor of the building, to contact Dave. 

Conversations had to be brief because other people were waiting to use the booths, according to Dave. That did not stop them from attending events and being involved on campus. 

“We went to everything and we were involved [on campus],” Linda said. “When things happened in our organizations, we went together.” 

Dave, who has a degree in journalism, was the sports editor at the Minnesota Daily and wrote for the Gopher Yearbook. Linda, who graduated with a degree in home economics education, participated in the Senate Committee on Student Affairs and the campus choir. 

“I had passes to go to sporting events, lectures and concerts,” Dave said. “If you were dating, you’d get two passes and you’d go to the concert. We benefited greatly from that.” 

During their time at the University, they would also attend get-togethers, which consisted of picnics or softball games, with some professors and faculty Dave knew. 

“It was a great way to get involved in the school,” Dave said. “You’d have these people in class and then you could play softball with them.” 

The Monas continue to stay involved with the University community, as they were both the chairs of the alumni association at their respective colleges and the UMAA. 

They also spoke in classes and worked with the University to build the McNamara Alumni Center, and Jim was part of the presidential search committee that appointed former University president Joan Gabel. 

“I’m very happy that I had the opportunity to do it,” Dave said. “I’ve done a lot of University-related things before, but never done anything like that.” 

Despite being heavily involved with the campus community, the Monas continue to enjoy their time together. They currently live in Edina, Minnesota, and have two sons and a 16-year-old grandson who also live in the area. 

“We have fun together, we use humor a lot,” Dave said. “We don’t get angry, we compromise. We see each other all the time, but it’s because we like to be with each other.” 

Jim and Jen Schweigert (class of 2002)

Paths always crossed for Jim and Jen Schweigert, who both majored in public relations, were on the leadership team for Spring Jam and were a part of Greek life — Beta Theta Pi fraternity and Delta Gamma sorority, who would host events together. 

They lost touch as the years went on, with Jim studying abroad and Jen being involved in other organizations, but reconnected in their senior year while taking classes at the Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication. 

“We always wanted to be involved, going to school was super important,” Jim said. “We both got good grades and we are always looking for leadership opportunities and [to] invest in ourselves.” 

In addition to Greek life and Spring Jam, Jim was a part of the University’s cheer team and the president of the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and Jen was the president of the Panhellenic Council. 

“Both of us have a very driven personality,” Jen said. “We tell each other our goals and support each other and make each other better through encouragement.” 

They agree their love for the University is due to the activities they were involved with and the friendships they made. 

They wanted to continue to stay involved with the University through the UMAA, donating to the Gophers football team, supporting Gophers athletic programs and creating a scholarship through the Hubbard School, according to Jen. 

“We were so involved beyond classes and had leadership opportunities, they really build the strong connection,” Jim said. “We wouldn’t have the same connection with the University.” 

Today, they both live in Platteville, Wisconsin, where Jim is the president of GRO Alliance, a seed and soybean production company serving people in the United States and Chile, and Jen is a personal trainer and competitive athlete, competing with the U.S. national team in road running and triathlon. 

They enjoy playing Scrabble together and are competitive with it, according to Jen. Jim created a spreadsheet of all their Scrabble games — they have played over 2,000 games together — because of his determination to prove he was better than Jen at the game. 

“We play it while we eat dinner, and it’s time for us to focus on each other, have a conversation and enjoy our meal. It keeps our brains sharp,” Jen said. 

Both said the University has lots to offer for students to get involved, such as companies with internships and a variety of student groups and involvement opportunities, which brought them together. 

“That’s been a real key, being involved in leadership and helping the school be better,” Jim said. 

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