Photo courtesy of Mike and Lisa Ahren
Mike and Lisa Ahren are alumni who made it official at the Kissing Rock. They met at Drake in the fall of 1984 when they both lived in Crawford Residence Hall. Mike was a transfer student moving into his first Drake dorm and Lisa was on the Move-In Crew. She was a senior graphic design major, and he was a fourth-year pharmacy student — back when pharmacy was a five-year program.
Some of the couple’s early dates were going dancing and watching “Top Gun” and “St. Elmo’s Fire” when they first came out at Billy Joe’s Picture Show theater.
“We had a lot of fun with our friends — Crawford had some great parties, and since the drinking age was 19 they even served beer at them,” Lisa said.
Lisa said that Mike proposed to her on her birthday in August 1985.
“He proposed at the car before we went into dinner because my sister told him I’d cry,” Lisa explained. “She was right.”
The wedding was small, as Mike was still in school and the new couple didn’t have a lot of money. Mike wasn’t even able to show up to the rehearsal until finishing a test at Drake first.
Now, 25 years later, the couple is living in Clear Lake, Iowa. Mike is the manger of Acute Care Pharmacy Service at Mercy Medical Center and Lisa is the creative services manager at the Globe Gazette. Lisa said the stories of their lives at Drake may have very well influenced both of their children — Alyssa and Adam — to attend Drake as well.
Oddly enough, Lisa said Adam is following in the footsteps of his parents in more ways than one, and will be marrying Drake pharmacy student Elizabeth Marks in June.
Lisa hopes her children have fond memories when they remember their days at Drake later on in life. She said she looks back fondly on her Crawford days.
“I still keep in contact with nine other girls from my floor in Crawford,” Lisa said. “The name of the floor was ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and we painted a great mural at the top of the stairs back when the floors had names. You could paint in the dorms and the freshmen lived in GK.”
Of those friends, three others married men they met at Drake: Susan Bauers and Mike Lyons; Lisa Simons and Mike Stang; and Frank Ferraro and Steve Whiteford.
“We have been having a yearly reunion for most of the years since college, with the first ones being at each others’ weddings,” Lisa said.
LOVE AT THE FRONT DESK
Professor Jeff Hatfield and his wife Liz Johnson Hatfield started dating in October 1985, and have been married 21 years as of April 14, meaning they’ve been together longer than most seniors at Drake have been living.
Jeff had a part-time job working at the front desk of Crawford Residence Hall, which is where he first met Liz.
“I basically made up a lot of reasons to talk to her when she passed by or received mail,” Jeff said. “I asked Liz out in the lobby of Crawford in front of a group of people. She couldn’t, or at least didn’t, say no.”
The duo’s first date was actually to go see the homecoming football game at Jeff’s high school, where they met up with some of his old friends.
“I went to a very large high school and she attended a small one, so she was in awe the whole time,” Jeff said. “The marching band was bigger than her senior class. It must have impressed her, because she went out with me again after that.”
Jeff said the twosome worked a lot and were on modest budgets, so their favorite date spots in the Drake neighborhood were getting hotdogs at the Doggery, — now the Library Café — meeting friends for a beer at Peggy’s and dancing at fraternity parties.
So, what was the proposal like?
“Let’s put it this way, I wasn’t very smooth,” Jeff said. “It was my senior year and I was a 21-year-old boy. It wasn’t classy, but she’s still with me.”
Senior Andy Smith and junior Kristin Kowalski will be married in June. Kowalski became engaged to Smith on the Agora through a handmade magazine.
Now-married couple Chris and Mary Beth Meyer met while attending Campus Fellowship. Not even an ice storm the day before their wedding could put a damper on the couple’s spirits.