Longhorn Love Stories
Love is in the air at McCombs, from surprise proposals in UTC to chance encounterse at Discover BHP. Eight couples from the classes of 1992 to 2012 share two decades of UT memories, life and love. Two things are clear: We're not all business, and it pays to take MIS 333K with Professor Rick Byars.
Did you meet your Valentine at McCombs? Tell us about it in the comments.
Kim Bell, MBA ’12, and Mitch Syma, MBA ’11
“I always tell people Kim was the pretty first year that sat in front of me in [our business negotiations] class,” says Mitch. “But the truth is I strategically sat behind her because I couldn’t keep my eyes off her.” That was one year ago. This past Christmas, Mitch gave Kim a romantic trip to Lake Tahoe for the last weekend in February, presumably when he would pop the question. Or so Kim thought. In reality, it was a clever ploy to distract her from his true plans. Mitch enlisted the help of Rob Adams, lecturer and director of Texas Venture Labs, to request Kim’s presence at a Friday roundtable at the school. That Friday, Kim walked into the quiet, near-empty UTC 1.116 classroom. When she saw Mitch, the truth hit her. This is where it all began: the classroom where they first met. Following his proposal, Mitch took Kim on a limousine tour of Austin landmarks that hold special meaning for the couple: Trudy’s, where they spent their first date; Kim’s old house, where Mitch asked her to be his girlfriend; and Midnight Rodeo, where Mitch first said, “I love you.” Kim will graduate this coming May and plans to open her own premier indoor cycling studio. Mitch currently lives in Houston and works in brand management at Coca-Cola.
Lauren Tumlinson, BBA ’08, and Matthew Malik, BBA ’08
First impressions don’t always count. Lauren remembers Matthew as the “know-it-all” guy that “sat with his hat on backwards playing with his computer” in Rick Byar’s MIS 333K class. Matthew thought Lauren was the “teacher’s pet.” Fate intervened with the help of Byars, when he asked them both to serve as TAs in his class the next semester. Lauren and Matthew bonded over prepping for class and the “infamous 333K project.” One night, Matthew asked if Lauren wanted to go to 6th Street with him, and the rest is history. Lauren recalls Eleanor Jordan telling their class about a married couple who met in the program years before. “I remember looking at Matt and just laughing,” says Lauren. Five years later, they’re still together. Lauren and Matthew both work for Pariveda Solutions and recently purchased a house in Garland.
Amy (Sherrill) Wittmayer, MBA ’04, and Brian Wittmayer, MBA ’04
Sometimes opposites do attract. As Amy tells it, Brian was the more “introverted guy… with a 4.0,” while she was “a bit more extroverted… and didn’t have a 4.0.” Amy and Brian ran in the same circle of friends from the Evening MBA Program and flirted for a long time before they actually went out. After their first date, Amy just knew. She called her classmate Michelle Murtha with the happy news: “Brian Wittmayer is going to be my boyfriend!” He just didn’t know it yet. Amy and Brian wed in 2005. The couple recently moved from Austin to Chapel Hill, NC, where Amy serves as director of MBA career services at the University of North Carolina and Brian runs his own sustainability and construction consulting firm. From their small class of 65, Amy and Brian are among three married couples, including Kerrie (Golomb) and Brien Davis and Michelle (Murtha) and Eric KIingemann. The class boasts five “100% TEMBA babies” among them, including Amy and Brian’s four-year-old son Ben.
Odile Kane, BBA ’09, and Yun Du, BBA ’10
Yun was a senior in high school visiting campus through Discover BHP. Odile was volunteering that day to “spread the BHP gospel” and ended up as Yun’s tour guide for the day. When Yun came to McCombs, the two became fast friends, living in the same dorm (Dobie), eating meals together, swing dancing and participating in Honors Business Association. Two years later, Odile brought Yun cookies after a particularly grueling group project for MIS 333K, “The Killer K Project.” They’ve been together ever since. Fast forward to August 2011. Shelley Nix, director of the Undergraduate Program Office, emailed Odile about volunteering at an on-campus mixer for prospective students. Odile agreed to help and offered to bring Yun along. Little did she know that Yun was planning a surprise, and Nix was in on it. The morning of the event, Odile opened the classroom door, expecting a crowd of eager high school students. Instead, she found a table for two with a bouquet of her favorite flowers, Chipotle burritos (their traditional Valentine’s Day meal) and a little black box. The couple will be wed in April. Odile has been with HP since graduation. Yun works at Bazaarvoice and plays in and manages local band Mother Falcon.
Jenn Hartfield, BBA ’99, and Jon Hartfield, BBA ’00
Jenn was heading up the newsletter committee for the Management Information Systems Association (MISA), and Jon volunteered to help. We suspect he had ulterior motives: “At the time, it didn’t occur to me that hanging out putting together a newsletter wasn’t typically how a guy wants to spend his free evenings,” says Jenn. A couple of issues later, they started dating. Some of the couple’s favorite memories include Mission to Mars pinball at the Tavern and MISA campouts and theme parties. After graduation, Jenn and Jon spent two years dating long distance, clocking many miles on 290 between Austin and Houston. The couple now lives in DFW with their son Bennett and daughter Ella, who was born Jan. 1. Jon works in business intelligence for Southwest Airlines’ IT department and Jenn is taking a leave from work to spend time with their children. The couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary this past December.
Kim Diamond, MBA ’05, and Matt Diamond, MBA ’05
Kim and Matt met the first day of their Business Immersion Course in San Antonio, a week-long seminar that was then part of the Evening MBA Program. They quickly became friends, and romance bloomed the next summer. Kim recalls their class trip to Southeast Asia, one of their peak experiences together as students. “We still talk about every time we are with friends from the trip,” says Kim. Life has been a whirlwind since graduation: Kim and Matt spent three years in Singapore, started a family and moved four times. The couple now lives in Austin with their three children: five-year-old Ainsley and three-year-old twins Jack and Kara. Kim is sales director at Bazaarvoice and Matt is director of global supply chain design at Dell.
Tina Beamer, BBA ’93, and Mike Beamer, BBA ’92
Tina and Mike first met while working on competing project teams in Rick Byars’ MIS 333K class. At the time, Tina had a serious boyfriend, so Tina and Mike remained good friends. A year later, they were dating. The couple’s fondest UT memories include happy hours at Scholz Garten and the Tavern and live music at Antone’s (when it was still on Guadalupe). Valentine’s Day is particularly meaningful for Tina and Mike: They became engaged on Valentine’s weekend of 1993 and married one year later. The couple now lives in Austin. Tina has worked off and on at 3M since 1996, and Mike has been with National Instruments for 17 years. This coming Feb. 14, they will celebrate 18 years of marriage.
Amanda Forry, MBA ’05, and Jared Lehne, MBA ’05
In the summer after her first year in the Full-time MBA Program, Amanda was interning in Austin and signed up for a negotiations night class with the Evening MBA Program. That’s where she met Jared. A friendship blossomed, and later that year, they began dating. Although they had different class schedules the next year, they helped forge ties between their classmates in the Full-time and Evening programs and knew some of the same professors. One time, Jared asked a professor to cold call Amanda as a “little Valentine’s Day hello.” Needless to say, it wasn’t Amanda’s favorite Valentine’s Day surprise. After graduation, Jared moved to Slovakia with Dell and Amanda joined American Airlines in Dallas. Their relationship stayed strong despite the distance, and the two wed in 2007. The couple now lives in Boston with their two kids. Amanda currently works with TJX, and Jared is with Boston Scientific. “We miss Austin,” says Jared. “Especially every winter!”