George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Love at Mason

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Demonstrating their love for their alma mater and each other, six Mason couples share their love stories. From being classmates to living in the same residence hall, each couple recounts a sweet moment in their Mason history when they met their significant other. Some alumni stories go back more than 40 years.


Alissa Patanarut Mills, MBA ’17
Jeremy Mills, MBA ’17


Alissa and Jeremy met in 2015 when they were part of the same cohort for the MBA program. They went on their first date in March 2016, got engaged on Christmas Eve in 2017, and married in March 2019.

What role did your friends play in setting you up?

Alissa: Those efforts mainly started on my end, since my closest confidantes in the cohort knew that I was interested in Jeremy. There were several attempts (some hilarious) made to figure out if he was single, but it ultimately came down to when our cohort was preparing our managerial finance midterm. As cohort representative, I decided to put together a study session on campus and invite our finance-savvy folks to help tutor and answer questions. Naturally, one of those invitees was Jeremy. It took a few email exchanges, but we finally reached a point where we agreed to hang out after the study session, and the rest is history.

How did you know Alissa was the one?

Jeremy: I knew she was the one just by observing how giving and thoughtful she is and has been from the beginning. Combined with an easygoing nature, positive outlook, and many other qualities, she embodies the type of person I have always wanted to be with.

What’s the engagement story?

Alissa: The proposal was perfectly executed in a Russian nesting egg box approach (started with a large Amazon box, then a medium Amazon box, a Triscuit box, an iPhone box, and finally the ring box). Considering that it was our first Christmas being celebrated at the house, with a tree and everything, the proposal made the holidays even more special.


Evan Del Duke, BA Government and International Politics ’15, MBA ’18
Alexis Del Duke, BA Communication ’15

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Evan and Alexis met as high school students in their Advanced Placement government class. They had their first date in April 2011, got engaged in December 2016, and married on July 1, 2017 in Philadelphia, their home city. Evan currently serves as the associate director for development and external relations at Mason’s College of Science, and Alexis is currently the marketing project manager at Sonatype.

What’s the engagement story?

Alexis: We had returned to the Philadelphia area for the holidays, and Evan had planned an evening out to dinner and to Longwood Gardens. We were walking around the gardens, and he got down on one knee and asked me to spend our lives together. To make the evening even more special, Evan hired a photographer to capture our special moment.

What are your future goals?

Evan: We recently moved out of Arlington, Virginia, and settled in Fairfax County. We look forward to exploring and traveling together, starting a family, growing our careers, and being active members of the Northern Virginia community.


Jack Currier, BA Psychology ’81
Thea Currier, BS Business Administration ’81


Jack and Thea had their first date in January 1978 after meeting at a fraternity party. They got engaged in October 1980. They’ve been married for 38 years and have three daughters and multiple fur babies.

What were your first impressions of each other?

Thea: I fell for his big brown eyes and great sense of humor.

Jack: How pretty she was and her nice personality.

How did you know they were the one?

Thea: I was never interested in a romantic relationship at all before I met him. I just wanted to date lots of different people. After I met Jack, I didn’t feel that way anymore.

Jack: Just did.

What are you looking forward to in the future?

Thea: Retirement and spending more time together, which will hopefully include lots of travel. It will be nice to mellow out the schedule a bit


Jeanine Callahan, MS Technology Management ’98
Colin Callahan, MS Technology Management ’98


Jeanine and Colin were students in the very first Technology Management cohort. They met in December 1996 on the first day of orientation outside Enterprise Hall, got engaged in April 2002, and married in August 2002.

How did going through the program together strengthen your relationship?

Colin: I think it’s foundational. We had a chance to grow together, both in knowledge and having a sense of who we were as people, and develop from there.

Jeanine: Cohort programs like that can be really life changing in general. One of our classmates and his wife are godparents to our son. Those relationships came out of that cohort experience, and we just happened to have that extra bit of magic associated with falling in love. The strength of our relationship comes from, and was nurtured by, that cohort experience.

What’s the engagement story?

Colin: It was Jeanine’s birthday and I gave her a gift bag of Disney princess items in the morning. I was still trying to figure out how I was going to propose. We were having dinner with her parents that night, and she was late getting back from work to get ready. I decided to put the ring in the Disney gift bag while she was getting ready and told her she had to wear everything in the bag to dinner. She dumped everything out and the ring slid into view.


Louis Fernandez, BS Sports Management ’16, MS Management ’17
Tameka Parker, BS Psychology ’16, MSW ’18

Fernandez and Parker

Louis and Tameka met in 2012 as freshmen, when they lived just a few doors down from each other in Dominion Hall. They will be getting married on November 30.

What was your first impression of Louis?

Tameka: My first impression of him was that he was a man of few words (I was wrong).

What’s the engagement story?

Louis: I popped the question on August 19, 2018, after a wonderful night at National Harbor celebrating our four year anniversary. We walked around the area, rode the Ferris wheel, and went to MGM. I was a nervous wreck the whole time.

How did you know he was the one?

Tameka: I honestly don’t remember when I first knew he was the one, but every time he does something thoughtful, big or small, I’m reminded how much I love my life with him.


Connor Leipold, BS Management ’14
Veronica Leipold, BS Community Health ’14


Connor and Veronica met in fall 2010 as freshmen living in Monroe Hall. They were introduced through a mutual friend, built a solid friendship, and started dating during their junior year. They got married in August 2018. Connor is a current MBA student at the School of Business, and Veronica is pursuing a master of public health degree at George Washington University.

What was your first impression of Connor?

Veronica: The first thing that caught my attention about Connor was his slight Midwest accent. I grew up mainly in Virginia and thought he sounded funny. I also liked that he laughed at my jokes. As we got to know each other, I admired how he placed such an importance on his relationships with family and friends.

What’s the engagement story?

Connor: We got engaged in August of 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, during our trip to see the Great American Eclipse. We spent a few days in the city, and on the day of the eclipse we drove 45 minutes north of Nashville to a small city called Gallatin to watch the eclipse. Gallatin was the perfect location, because it was directly in the middle of the “path of totality,” giving us a full two minutes and 30 seconds of the total eclipse. About a minute after the eclipse ended, I told Veronica how special she is to me and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her; then I dropped to one knee to ask her to marry me.