Manchester University / Alumni / Manchester Mates

Manchester Mates
Stories of alumni who found "the one" at Manchester.

001Tom and Vera 1951 (002)

My mother, Vera Winger ’52 and my father, Tom Swantner ’54 met at a mixer on the first weekend of 1950-1951. It was a square dance (I think), and the men came in one door of what later became known as the women's gym, and the women came in the other door. Whomever you met at the middle of the floor was your partner for the night. Tom and Vera were hit by kismet when they met. That was on a Saturday. A week later, they were engaged. In June of 1951, they were wed. Their marriage lasted until his death in 2012.

- Becki Swantner ’76 Heusel

In the Courtyard (002)
The next story is of Kim and Becki Swantner Heusel  '76. We were each selected for A Cappella Choir for our freshman year, and came a week early to rehearse for the opening convo in September 1972. I sang soprano and sat in the front row. Kim was a tenor, sitting two rows behind me. For the first hour or so of the morning, he only saw the back of my head and my hair that reached my waist, and he thought it was pretty. He was okay with the face when he saw that, too. We began dating at Christmas of 1972, went to Europe with Prof Holsinger during January term of 1974, and married in August of 1975, between our junior and senior year. Still learning and growing!

- Becki Swantner ’76 Heusel

Rebecca Hawley
My husband, Kevin Hawley ’19, and I, Rebecca Kaplan ’19 Hawley, met in Professor Gilliar’s TESOL class our junior year. He sent a late night email to our class, I responded, and the rest is history! If I hadn’t changed my major, we never would’ve met. Now, we’re both educators working in the same school district, and have been married for almost 2 years!

- Rebecca Kaplan ’19 Hawley
Heather Jones
I met Matthew Jones ’04 in the fall of 2002. It was my first year and his 3rd. I lived in Schwalm and one of his best friends lived down the hall from me. One day he showed up in my doorway and I would joke that from that moment on he never left. Turns out we both were in the psychology department. Not only that, I met my best friend through him. We married in August 2006 and had our son in Oct 2018. Manchester gave me an amazing education and experiences, but it also led me to the love of my life. 

- Heather Selby ’06 Jones
Kerry Price and spouse

I was in Chapel Choir my Freshman year at MC in 1968. That’s where I met my future husband, Kerry Price. We worked together building the Chapel Choir Homecoming float. We began talking to each other and started a friendship. He asked me to have a coke date at the Union. I spilled the coke on the table and myself. I guess I made an impression because he then asked me to go to the Holiday on Ice show in Ft Wayne. The car had a flat on the way home, we arrived on campus past curfew and we were escorted back to Oakwood by the security guard. We married in August,1972 and look forward to our 50th anniversary this coming August. The picture was taken in 1970 behind the Union, we were Co-Chairmen of Parent’s Weekend.

- Sue Cassell ’72 Price 
Mike and Kathy
- Mike Leckrone ’92

Riley and I met at Manchester and began dating the fall of my junior year and her sophomore year. I really noticed Riley for the first time when I went to watch an MU volleyball game with some friends and saw her playing on the court. I convinced a mutual friend to introduce us, and soon after we went on our first date. That spring, Riley began her pharmacy school career at the Fort Wayne campus, and one year after that I received my undergraduate degree from Manchester. In October 2019, I proposed to Riley on campus during Homecoming and we got married in May 2021. This continued a tradition as my parents and both sets of grandparents all met at Manchester College.  

- Connor Eichenauer ’19
Photo taken by J3Designs Photography

I was headed into the basement of Oakwood where the dining hall was at the time with my sister, Joy, in the fall of 1962. We were both Sophomores. An attractive young lady came up the steps as we went down. She said Hello, Dean, with a smile on her face. I responded, probably with a little shock. When she had passed us I asked Joy, “Who was that”.  Thankfully she knew that it was Susan Weddle. I made a mental note and asked her for a date at the first opportunity. I found out some time later that another Beery on campus had asked her out. She wasn’t able to accept the invitation, but didn’t get his name clearly and thought it was me, thus the warm greeting. We were married a year and a half later.

- Dean Beery ’65

Our romance began as a rescue mission. I was lost and homesick standing in the quad when Rex Miller came to my rescue. Later he related what he had done to a dorm mates, Jim Stull and Jack Buchanan. They decided to make it their duty to help me adjust to college life. That year all freshmen ate dinner together family style. The three guys always sat at my table to keep me company with the added bonus that I didn’t eat much leaving more food for them. They included me in many of their activities. Jim , who sat in front of me, helped me with my Chemistry class. When Rex and Jack began to spend more time with their girl friends and Jim’s fiancé sent him her engagement ring, Jim and I became more than friends. During Spring break our junior year, the four of us drove to Orlando, Fl. The guys stayed with Rex’s parents and I stayed next door with his Aunt. One evening as Jim and I sat outside on the lawn between the two houses, Jim proposed. We married a year and a half later on August 16th. We have been happily married 52 years.

- Carol Trissell ’69 Stull

marv bittinger
marv bittinger 2

Marv:  I think it was God’s timing. You see Elaine and I are both prone to rising early, getting our days started in a flurry. It was a Saturday morning about 7:30 and I was leaving the Oakwood Dining Hall walking toward the back of the Ad Bldg.  I look up only to catch sight of this beautiful girl – so compelling, that I said to myself “Wow!” She was in her task mode, wearing a green corduroy coat, carrying her clothes bag to the laundromat.  (The coat bares little relevance other than it reminded me of our story as I recurrently saw it in the closet over the years.) We are both shy people, as revealed in my reaction – I did nothing!  That could have led to losing her forever after first sight.  In hindsight, I should have charged up that sidewalk, stopped her, and said something to the effect, “I think you are so pretty.  Could we go on a Coke Date to the Oaks sometime!”  Indeed, considering her shyness, she might have run the other way. I was a Senior, she a Junior, and it was the Fall of my senior year.  Time for us to have a relationship was slipping away.  Later I was in the Oaks sitting at a table with some buddies, and she walked in. (I rarely went in there.)  I gathered my nerve enough to ask my buddies, “I’m really interested in that girl.  Do any of you know her?”  Mike Minter was at the table, and he quickly responded “I ride back and forth with her to our homes in Logansport.  She is the kind of girl you would want to take home to your mother and say ’Mom, this is the girl I’m going to marry!’”  Well, that did it!  I asked Mike if he would fix me up with her?  He quickly consented. More time flew by.  I was hanging out with those same guys in Ikenberry Hall.  Mike was there. “Have you fixed me up with Elaine yet?”  He quickly responded “Yes, you are all set.  Just call her.”  My mind was fixed on finding a phone and some privacy.  I lived in Lewis Hall – a private home one block south of Oakwood.  It was packed with 11 guys.  Needless-to-say, a private phone call to ask a girl for a date was tough on my shy nature.  Instead, I went to my Aunt’s apartment and called Elaine, feeling Mike’s assurance.  When she came to the phone, I said confidently, “This is Marv!”  Her quick response was, “Marv who?”  After I picked myself up off the floor, I decided I had nothing to lose and asked her for dinner and a movie. 

Elaine:  I lived in Oakwood Annex next to The Oaks.  Our house parents were Louann (Weiand) and Jim Talbot.  God had intervened again because Marv had sat across from Louann in Freshman dining hall and they knew each other.  She heard me ask “Marv, who?” and she whispered to me “He’s nice!”  I consented to the date.

Marv:  We drove to Ft Wayne for pizza and a movie.  The movie, entitled, “The Yellow Canary,” starred Pat Boone in his one and only attempt at playing a bad guy.  The movie was a flop but the marriage a success, soon to reach 57 years.

A postscript seems to be in order.  After 50 years of marriage, I was determined to confront Mike regarding his white lie, “Yes, you are all set. Just call her.”  It took forever to track him down.  He had become a Dentist in Wisconsin.  He had no recall of the incident. At the least, the three of us had a fun phone call regarding a very unique MU love story.

- Marvin L. Bittinger ’63 & Elaine S. Sailors ’64 Bittinger
  Married June 6, 1965