Classes, friends, studying, volunteer work, extracurricular activities … and love. According to some alumni, love is definitely in the air at DePaul. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with this collection of love stories submitted by DePaul alumni. Then be sure to visit the Alumni & Friends Facebook page to read additional stories; submit your own Demon Darlings romance and photo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meredith Derr (CDM ’12) and JJ Bakken (CDM ’12)
“JJ and I met during our freshman year [when] we both lived in the Belden-Racine Dorm. I lived on the first floor, and he lived on the fifth. My calculus class was tough, so I formed a study group and used the fifth-floor study room, as it was the only one usually open. Freshmen are encouraged to wander into each other’s rooms to make friends, so when I saw an open door across from that fifth-floor study room, I went in. I made friends with the guys who lived there, and one evening, JJ wandered in. We got to talking and became fast friends. Winter break started and I decided to write Christmas cards to my new friends for that year. I sent JJ one and from there we started talking almost every day. Once winter quarter started, he asked me on a few dates. We got engaged on Jan. 17, 2015 (our six-year anniversary), and were married in the fall of 2016. We’re so thankful DePaul brought us together!”
Cindy Volante (CSH ’79) and Frank Volante (BUS ’77)
“In 1975, I was a freshman at DePaul, and I purchased two season tickets for the basketball games. I remember going to Alumni Hall and [DePaul Women’s Basketball Coach] Doug Bruno (LAS ’73, MA ’88) was in the athletic office passing out tickets from a rubber-banded stack of student tickets. By pure coincidence, I ended up sitting next to a DePaul junior and we started talking. Well, one conversation led to another, and we started dating and never looked back. We will be married 36 years this August and we have Doug to thank! We laugh because of the way we met. Frank, my husband, and his friends had tickets that were not center court and mine were. The night we met, he and his buddies moved down to where my seats were, and when my friend and I arrived, I told him they were sitting in my seats, so they moved over. The funny part was that it was a Saturday night, Valentine’s Day 1976, and the place was almost empty. Why I told him to move over I will never know! But it was the best thing that ever happened to me!”
Patricia Salazar (EDU ’97, MED ’03) and Ray Salazar (EDU ’95, MA ’03)
“I was introduced to Ray Salazar by a mutual friend outside of the computer lab in SAC. We didn’t hit it off right away. Neither one of us was impressed with the other. I avoided him outside of our health class the following quarter, and our single, cold ‘hello’ confirmed he was not my type. It wasn’t until we were both invited to present on the same panel at the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies in California that spring that we realized we had so much in common. Our working sessions turned into lunches, then dinners. He wowed me with his presentation and sealed the deal with his dance moves on our last night of the conference. That was 19 years ago! We now have 16 years of marriage under our belts, master’s degrees from DePaul and are the proud parents of two beautiful children. We will forever be #demondarlings.”
Jerry Schnepp (CDM MS ’02, PhD ’12) and Trish Casabar (CDM ’04, MS ’06)
“Both my husband and I are Double Demons from what was then CTI but is now CDM. I did both my undergrad and grad and him grad and PhD. We met on a spring break trip to Prague in 2005 with instructor Ashley Morris. It’s funny: Before the trip there were two class sessions, but we didn’t even meet until waiting to board the plane at O’Hare. Once in Prague, we learned about IT abroad and explored the beautiful city. We had an instant connection and throughout the trip we were inseparable. Once we got back from Prague, we made sure to meet up after classes. After that, everything was history. We’ve been together for almost 12 years and got engaged in March 2015 in Lake Tahoe doing what we love: skiing and snowboarding. We got married May 21 of last year at none other than St. Vincent de Paul Church!”
Carlos Claudio (LAS ’94, JD ’02) and Marina (Kamenetsky) Claudio (LAS ’95)
“It was 1994 at DePaul University. I had just returned from Spain after completing a four-month study abroad program. ‘Who wants to hear about my trip?’ I asked friends at a DePaul Alliance for Latin American Empowerment organizational meeting. A handsome young man sitting in front of me turned around and said, ‘I do.’ Later that year, our story began.
We were part of the LAS Class of 1995 and, after graduating, spent some time in a long-distance relationship while pursuing our respective careers. We were married in June of 2000. I graduated from the UIC College of Medicine in 2000 and Carlos from the DePaul College of Law in 2002. We have stayed loyal to Chicago and currently live in Logan Square with our daughter, who dreams of attending DePaul one day.
Thank you DePaul University for our education and for helping two soulmates find one another!”
Lauren Harrington (EDU ’08) and David Araujo-Lopez (EDU ’08)
“My husband and I met at DePaul through mutual friends and found we had the same major, secondary education with a concentration in history and social science. We became close friends as we continued our coursework and ended up in many of the same classes. Today, we are both still teaching, but surprisingly, we are both working as kindergarten teachers at different schools in Chicago. We like to think that while we started as partners in school projects, we ended up as partners in life! Thank you, DePaul, for introducing me to my love!”
Colleen (Fulara) Saccotelli (LAS ’03) and Michael Saccotelli (CDM ’02, MS ’05)
“We were both very active in student organizations: Colleen was in student government and Mike was in the Blue Crew and Residence Hall Council. We met at a Campus Life committee meeting in 2000 and started hanging out afterward. We bonded over the election, DePaul basketball and other student activities.Over the years, DePaul has always been a constant in our lives. We got engaged over a Valentine’s Day weekend on campus on Feb. 12 in the Quad. We also got married at St. Vincent’s in 2006.”
Jessica Schubert (CDM ’11) and David Schubert (LAS ’06)
“Dave and I met when I was a resident in Corcoran in 2005. I locked myself out of my room on Halloween, and he was the FA on duty. At the time, I didn’t give Dave the time of day. We have now been married two and a half years. Locking my keys in my room was one of those moments in life that confirmed to me that everything does happen for a reason!”
Matthew Kluber (CDM ’15) and Maria Wojtas (LAS ’14)
“It was Immersion Week 2011, and it seemed like everyone came to the Student Center to have dinner at the same time. I walked into the big seating area where the buffet line was set with my roomie Brenda and saw that there wasn’t a single table or seat open. After we got our food, I spotted a guy who had a table with two free chairs. Wanting to make new friends, I suggested to Brenda that we sit with him. The boy at the table was Matthew Kluber. We learned that we had some childhood friends in common and that he went to the same high school as my cousins. We stayed friends the rest of our freshman year and would go on walks all around campus for hours just talking. In July 2012, we started dating. We have become one another’s best friends, travel buddies, adventure seekers and companions. We couldn’t be more thankful for DePaul for giving us a great education and allowing us to find each other! Demon Darlings for life!”