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Love Generally W&L holds a special place in the hearts of its alumni.

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It’s no secret that Washington and Lee University is a special place. With a beautiful campus nestled in the Shenandoah Valley, students come to W&L eager for new opportunities and leave it with years’ worth of memories and lifelong friendships. Some lucky Generals even find the ultimate W&L connection during those four years: love.

From early dates spent studying in Leyburn Library or trying (and failing) to appear disinterested at a party, to emotional proposals and weddings at University Chapel surrounded by loved ones, W&L holds a special place in the hearts of its alumni.

Through the following vignettes of W&L couples who found love during their four years as Generals, we think you’ll see that if you look for it — on the Colonnade, in the classroom, at the Marketplace — you’ll find that love, generally, is all around.

Making the first move: Megan Hess ’97 and Drew Hess ’97

Hess-photo-scaled-350x263 Love GenerallyBoth W&L professors, Drew majored in economics, and Megan majored in politics. Drew is the Ehrick Kilner Haight Sr. Term Professor of Business Administration and associate department head of business administration. Megan is an associate professor of accounting. They live in Lexington, Virginia.

Drew maintains that he saw Megan first, and he remembers the night they met like it was yesterday. The night of Fancy Dress their sophomore year, Megan and Drew had each lost their dates somewhere along the way and ended up at the same after-party hosted by Drew’s fraternity. Drew saw Megan dancing and tried his best to look disinterested, eventually asking a friend to give her a drink on his behalf.

“Why that move worked I will never know,” Drew said. “But Megan, as she has done for 30 years now, pulled me out of my shell and onto the dance floor.”

After the party, they walked and talked for hours up and down the deserted streets of Lexington. When Drew dropped Megan off at her apartment as the sun was coming up, they already knew this was something special.

Drew and Megan were married in 1999 in Megan’s hometown of San Antonio with many W&L friends in attendance. The couple eventually made their way back to W&L as professors, and their two children now love the campus as much as they do. And while they can’t agree on a favorite place on campus, they can agree on a favorite time: 8 a.m., when the campus is still waking up. Walking the Colonnade never gets old, and they still talk like they did on that first night after Fancy Dress, but now it’s about their kids, teaching and research.

“We both count our blessings that we have been able to get to do what we love in a place that we love and with the people we love,” Megan said.

After nearly 25 years of marriage, Drew and Megan’s relationship is one of love and complements. If their family is a sailboat, they like to say, Megan is the keel and the rudder keeping the family on course, and Drew is the spinnaker, focused on discovery and excitement.

“I think that while opposites attract, complements stay together,” Drew said. “The difference between the two is that while Megan and I are very different people, we are not so different that we can’t value and respect what the other brings to our partnership.”

“Plus, he still takes my breath away,” Megan added.

Favorite spot on W&L’s campus: “Campus before 8 a.m. has a wonderful energy, like the calm before a storm,” they said.

Friends first: Josephine Schaeffer Covington ’96 and Robert Covington ’97

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Josephine is the Annual Fund chair and Parents Leadership Council Steering Committee member. She and Robert are the proud parents of current W&L student Nell Covington ’24. They live in Dallas.

Friendship came first for Robert and Josephine. After meeting at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting during Winter Term 1994, the two remained friends for several years before they began dating during Winter Term 1996. Their first date was a memorable one, involving dinner at Hunan Garden and the movie “Mortal Kombat.” “To think that I actually went out with him for a second time!” laughed Josephine.

Covington-photo-2-150x225 Love GenerallyLuckily for Robert, Josephine did agree to go out with him again, and they continued to date after Josephine graduated in 1996 and began teaching school not far from Lexington. Robert invited Josephine to attend Parents and Family Weekend that fall and proposed on the Colonnade, their favorite spot on campus. They were married in Josephine’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee, in June 1997, just a few weeks after Robert graduated.

Josephine and Robert are grateful for the relationships with W&L friends that they’ve maintained over the years, and always make a point of connecting with as many people as they can when back on campus. Fortunately, the couple have had the perfect reason to keep returning to W&L these past four years, to visit their daughter, Nell ’24.

Favorite spot on W&L’s campus: The Colonnade

Cheering each other on: William Johnston ’82L and Mary Miller Johnston ’84L

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Graduates of W&L Law School, Mary is a Superior Court of Delaware judge, and Bill is a partner at Young Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor LLP.

Mary and Bill are each other’s biggest supporters and have cheered each other on since they met as law students at W&L.

“I believe we each take more satisfaction and pleasure in the other’s accomplishments — both professional and personal — than we do in our own achievements,” Mary said.

The couple met during an informal welcome party at Bean’s Bottom, and their relationship blossomed over study dates in the Law School Library followed by a drink at The Palms. Finding that shared values and a sense of humor go a long way, Mary and Bill were married in May 1983 in Mary’s hometown of Richmond, Indiana. Bill had graduated in 1982 and was clerking for Chief Justice Daniel Herrmann of the Delaware Supreme Court, and Mary fondly remembers planning the wedding alongside her classmates and friends.

Mary’s housemate, Robin Jackson Allen ‘84L, was a bridesmaid, and Mary’s classmates teamed up to throw a bridal shower for her at which they gave recipes as gifts — many of which she still uses. Mary’s mother even brought her sewing machine to Lexington and spent a week at Mary’s house sewing her bridal gown. The law ladies had a “viewing” once the dress was complete.

Favorite spots on W&L’s campus: The Law School lounge at lunchtime with other “All My Children” aficionados (Mary); The Moot Court room (Bill)

A trans-Atlantic date night: John Jensen ’01 and Lauren Stearns Jensen ’02

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John, history major, is the executive director of alumni and career services. Lauren, history major, is the director of reunion and class campaigns at the Lawrenceville School and former W&L employee. They live in Lexington, Virginia.

Between studying in the old fishbowls in the depths of Leyburn Library, attending parties at John’s fraternity house and having the same class with Professor H.P. Porter Jr. ’54, Lauren and John kept running into each other.

John eventually asked Lauren out on the final night of sorority recruitment, and their first date was dinner at the Sheridan Livery. Since they met during the fall of Lauren’s freshman year, she never attended a Fancy Dress ball without John. He even returned from London after he had graduated to go to her senior year Fancy Dress together.

John and Lauren were married in September 2003, and the wedding was a true W&L affair. The ceremony took place in University Chapel, and Treasurer Steve McAllister granted the couple permission to get ready for the wedding in the lobby of Washington Hall. Lou Hodges, professor of journalism, officiated the wedding, and Patrick Hinely ’73 was the photographer. And in one of life’s full-circle moments, John and Lauren’s reception was held in the Hotchkiss Alumni House, which is now the location of John’s office as executive director of alumni and career services.

“We are so blessed to have been married for 20 years and to have two amazing children,” John said. “We are very grateful to be on this journey together and look forward to lots of special times to come.”

Favorite spots on W&L’s campus: Their wedding venue, University Chapel, followed by the Colonnade.

A record-setting proposal: Vance Berry ’09 and Elizabeth Webb Berry ’09

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Vance is managing attorney at Tailwind Immigration Center, and Liz is assistant professor of dermatology at Oregon Health & Science University. They live in Portland, Oregon.

Love was waiting at the finish line for Liz and Vance. The two met at first-year orientation, during an icebreaker game in Doremus Gym in which everyone had to introduce themselves to as many people as possible in 60 seconds. Liz remembers trying to figure out what name Vance was saying to her among the hundreds of other voices in the gym — Lance? Vince? — but fortunately, the pair would have plenty of opportunities to get to know each other as members of the cross country and track and field teams.

Their first date was a three-part epic that included dinner at the Pink Cadillac Diner, a walk through Natural Bridge’s Foamhenge and a race at the Natural Bridge Speedway. “When we pulled into the muddy parking lot, Liz was less than thrilled,” said Vance, who was amazed (and thankful) that she wanted to continue dating even after witnessing a brawl on the racetrack between two drivers. But the real dirt from their date? Liz fell in love with Vance that night.

In February of their senior year, the W&L track team was scheduled to race at the Armory in New York City, on what is known as “the fastest track in the world.” Liz knew this meet would be her best chance to qualify for NCAA nationals in the mile, and Vance knew it was the perfect place to propose. Vance raced first, running the 5K and setting a school record in the event, and warmed up with Liz while keeping one hand in his pocket to make sure the ring didn’t bounce out.

Liz finished her mile — also setting a school record and qualifying for nationals — and as she stepped off the track, Vance dropped to one knee.

Liz-and-Vance-2-232x350 Love GenerallyVance and Liz were married a few months after they graduated in 2009 at University Chapel in front of a crowd of friends, family, coaches, professors and classmates. Burr Datz ’75 played bluegrass at the rehearsal dinner and presided over the ceremony, and Liz’s father passed a W&L baton to Vance at the beginning of the ceremony. Whenever the couple is back in town, they love to reconnect with professors and coaches, and they never miss a chance to run on the Chessie Trail.

One of Vance’s favorite things about Liz is that she’s a helper, and she fills her days with acts of kindness. “It is so refreshing to share life with her,” he said.

For Liz, Vance’s sense of humor and joie de vivre light up her life, and she admires how hard he works for his clients, students and daughter. “I have truly loved getting to ‘grow up’ together, and I cannot wait to see what the next few decades hold,” she said.

Favorite spots on W&L’s campus: The tunnel on Woods Creek Trail below Cadaver Bridge and the track, of course!

If you know any W&L alumni who would be great profile subjects, tell us about them! Nominate them for a web profile.