Match made on campus: Six couples connected by DePaul

From faculty to athletes, these DePaul couples are the definition of campus relationship goals. Here’s how they met, how they’re alike and what makes them special. 

Elena & Brian Boeck


History of art and architecture professor, history professor

How did you meet?
Brian: I was studying Russian at the University of Texas at Arlington. And I saw a sign that said, ‘come speak Russian and eat free donuts.’ And to this day, I maintain that I went to that meeting to speak Russian.
Elena: I was an exchange student in Texas. So it was the Gorbachev-Reagan Building Bridges Program. This was in 1990. We were invited to the University of Texas at Arlington to speak Russian to the students studying Russian. And he was the smartest one in the room, with a little powdered sugar.

What was your first impression of each other?
E: His Russian was impeccable. He was so genuinely curious. He had this magnetic smile.
B: You were beautiful. You had long brown hair. But also, the words you used were so out of the ordinary, kind of like from a Beatles songs. The way she spoke was just so fascinating. You probably never listened to Beatles songs, but you used these expressions like, ‘nothing doing,’ or ‘porridge’ or whatever.

What are your favorite things to do together?
E: We spend as much time as possible together. We travel, we go to the opera – so here, the Lyric Opera. We go to the museum. And we really enjoy long walks.
What is your favorite memory together?
B: I guess our favorite memory is the day we got married because we got married the day the coup against Gorbachev failed in the Soviet Union. There were tanks on the street, soldiers with machine guns. Our wedding was planned for the next day. The news was completely cut off. We didn’t know if we would be able to get married or not, and then we did.
E: That day was almost as if nothing had happened. Except people on the street were coming up to us and asking for a photograph because they wanted to be photographed with a bride and groom, because ‘this is a return to normalcy.’
B: The morning of the wedding, I’m putting in the (corsage) and I’m watching Gorbachev on TV as he’s just been released from captivity.
E: It was Aug. 22, 1991. Because on the 21st, the coup fell.

Do you have Valentine’s Day plans?
B: As an international couple, we celebrate Valentine’s Day and International Women’s Day. So Valentine’s Day is my holiday, and I’ll probably ask for something involving meat. And her holiday is International Women’s Day in March, and she’ll ask me to do something nice.

What is the recipe for a happy marriage?
B: Never go to bed angry at one another. Whatever you do, don’t let it linger over you at night.
E: Compromise.
B: Compliment.
E: Make your husband his favorite cake. Make him feel special.

Alex Godinez & Jordan Bazemore

(Photo courtesy of JORDAN BAZEMORE)

Senior PE major, junior public relations & advertising and hospitality major

How did you meet?
Bazemore: Long story short, Tinder brought us together. I spotted her on the train and thought she was super cute. It prompted me to download the app and scroll through to see if she was on it… which she was! I didn’t have the guts swipe right away so I waited two days, when I went back and finally swiped it was a match right away.
What do you like to do together?
B: We are huge movie buffs. I am a Regal Crown member so we are at the movies all the time getting free popcorn and drinks. I’m slightly addicted to the Coke Icee they sell there.
G: We also went through a phase of Geocaching in the summer.

How are you alike and not alike?
G: Being a college athlete is competition every single day. Games aren’t fun for me unless there is a winner and a loser. I know that sounds awful but it’s really not that bad. However, since I met Jordan, she has been my escape from that. For once I’m learning to do things without needing to win. It’s a wonderful experience. She gives my life some balance and knows how to calm me down. I am a huge hot head, while she is a patient butterfly.

What was meeting the family like?
B: I met Alex’s family for the first time last fall when they came to watch her soccer game then I spent a week with them in Colorado over spring break! They’re extremely nice and welcoming.
G: I’ve been to Jordan’s home in Philly twice. Her grandmom Marsha is one of my best friends now. And she makes a bomb Thanksgiving dinner.

Kristin Hecker & Mike Turel


Senior finance and economics major, recent DePaul graduate

How did you meet?
Hecker: World Cup game in Berlin. We were on a study abroad program a year and a half ago.
Turel: We didn’t talk for 6 months after that. We met at McGees until 4 am.

What were your first impressions of each other?
T: Super shy and very hard to talk to until she had a few drinks.
H: My first impression of him was I think I noticed him before he noticed me I think. He actually came into one of the abroad orientation meetings late. I was like, “oh this guy showing up late in a hoodie and a backwards hat.” Then I got to know him.

Do you have a favorite memory together?
T: Mine’s the first time I met her. That was a crazy night. It’s in Germany where the World Cup is. That’s when they won.

What was the experience of meeting each other’s parents?
H: When did I first meet your parents? Easter. He comes from a huge Polish family. So it was all of them speaking in polish the first time I met them, and I was like, “I have no idea what’s going on.” And he has two older sisters, so that was a little nerve wracking.
T: Both her parents are doctors and I heard that your dad was a little intense, so I was a little nervous meeting them for the first time. Her mom’s a sweetheart though.
H: It’s easier because his parents are here and he’s only met mine once. We’re at his house every week. It’s pretty laid back with his family.

Raeven Laviste & Gaspare Campo


Sophomore marketing major, sophomore finance major

How did you meet?
Campo: We met the very first day of orientation. From then on we kept talking, by the end of orientation we exchanged phone numbers, took a photo with each other.
Laviste: Then he never texted me back.
C: I wanted to seem cool by like only texting you a couple times over the summer, which was probably the worst decision I made.

What is a favorite memory you guys have had together?
C: Probably one of my favorites was our first date. It was an accidental first date, the first week of school. Went to the Bourgeois Pig with her friend, and she finished really fast and left. It was kind of the feeling like you couldn’t swim and someone throw you into the deep end.
L: For me, it’s the time at the playground where I told him to meet me by the swings. I just go there to let my thoughts out. And I was still conflicted with, “should I give him a chance? Am I ready to be in another relationship.” But he met up with me, and that was the time that I decided I would give him a chance.
C: For Christmas I took the Amtrak from Detroit to Illinois and I took her to the Signature Room on the 95th. It was the coolest thing.

What are your plans for Valentines Day?
C: She’s keeping it a secret from me.
L: We’re going to have a double date with his roommate and his girlfriend. That’s all he knows and he needs to know.

Tayler Whittler & D.J. Vazquez


Senior exercise science major, and senior psychology major

DePaul track & field athletes

How did you meet?
Whittler: It was after a track meet and we just kind of clicked. We just started hanging out and then we got to know each other a little bit more and then we were like ‘okay, I think we’re ready.’

What were your first impressions of each other?
W: The first thing that came to mind was his ponytail, and he was super quiet, but then when you were around him he just started to make you laugh and he was so funny he would just do like the stupidest things.
Vazquez: Taylor is very quiet, so when I first saw her she was just like a sweet little girl, you know. And then when I started to get to know her, she just got really goofy, crazy goofy.

How was it being teammates and being in a relationship?
W: He’s the first person I dated on the same team where you travel and do everything with that person 24/7. So I think it was more we’re used to always being around each other, but you always have to separate yourselves from you and him versus you as an athlete. I’m still here running, I’m on a scholarship and I still have to prove myself as that. It was actually fun though because we’re able to connect on that level. It can be hard trying to explain what I go through on a daily basis, I’m gone all times of the day, but he gets that.
V: Yeah it’s just understanding the struggle. Sometimes people don’t realize how much time a sport does consume, especially at the college level. You’re always gone, you have practice, you have meetings. On top of that, you still have classes or whatever else is going on in your life. With us both being on the team together, it was very easy for us to relate and also our schedules matched up really well.
Honestly it made it a lot better for our relationship because even at practice, we won’t necessarily show that we’re together — at practice, we show how we’re friends and how we initially started as friends and we try not to let our relationship interfere with the chemistry of the team or others.

Tiffany Hung & Francis Andoh


Senior intercultural communication major, senior health science major

How did you meet?
Andoh: We have two different stories about that. We used to live in the residential area 1237. During moving in day she said she saw me in the hallway so she thought I was fine. I didn’t notice her. Later on I saw her at a party, a friend introduced us.
Hung: My story is, it was move in day I opened my door and I ran into the hallway and I bumped into this guy. It was him. When I bumped into him I thought he was really good looking and I thought he was older. Then the next day we met, and I think from then on we just really enjoyed each other’s company. But we didn’t start dating until March even though we met in August.

How do you think you’re alike and different?
A: I feel like I’m definitely more calm. I don’t take things too seriously. She definitely has a lot of anxiety. We’re like fire and water in that aspect. I definitely think we have a great sense of humor. We see eye to eye on a lot of stuff, except how much toilet paper I use and eating too many of the chips.
H: I think the biggest thing being together was the fact that obviously I’m Chinese and he’s African. Being in an interracial relationship has taught us so much about each other’s cultures, but also being able to come together and find how similar we are. We were both raised with strict parents and though our cultures are different, they’re similar at the same time. We’re not full American.

Do you have compatible horoscopes?
H: We were just talking about this, I’m a strong believer in horoscopes. I’m a Leo, he’s a Pisces. We are really complete opposites on the horoscope spectrum, but I feel like we play off of each other. I get bad anxiety so he calms me down, or when he needs a boost of energy I’m there for him.
A: I didn’t really believe in horoscopes. Ever since I started dating her I started paying attention and relating to it more.

What do you like to do together?
H: We really enjoy watching basketball together. I actually didn’t know anything about basketball until I met him
A: I totally beat you.
H: He educated me. Now I’m a really big fan. We like to do that together. We like to eat together.
A: We like to force each other to try different things. We come from two separate cultures.
H: I think we like getting into debates because we disagree on a lot of things and can pique each other’s brains.

Read more Valentine’s Day stories.