Throughout February we asked Marshall University alumni to tell us their #MarshallULoveStory detailing how our wonderful university brought them together. Below are five of the best stories among the hundreds of submissions received. Enjoy!

NAMES: Thomas and Samantha Burwell
CHILDREN: Alexander and Christian
ANNIVERSARY: June 26, 1999
YEARS AT MARSHALL: 1994-1999 (Both)

THOMAS’ STORY: Samantha Burwell and I met on December 8, 1997. A mutual friend thought we would hit it off, so she asked me to come over and meet her. So, basically a blind date. Samantha was dressed for bed not knowing I was coming over and her friend told to get some clothes on as a guy was coming. I arrived under the guise of studying with the friend (we had class together) but definitely was there to check out Samantha. When she walked in the room, I knew she was the one. She later told me she felt the same way when she saw me. We had our first date the next night, got engaged 6 months later, graduated from MU, and married in 1999, and this year will be our 20th wedding anniversary. When people here in Morgantown (blah) ask why I love MU so much, I always respond “how can I not, when it gave me my degree, my fraternity, some of my closest friends, but most importantly, my wife.” We are a true son and daughter of MU.

NAMES: Ryan and Marla Blake
CHILDREN: Gianna, Gabriella, Giulana
ANNIVERSARY: October 16, 2004
YEARS AT MARSHALL: 1997-2001 (Marla); 1996-2000 (Ryan)

MARLA’S STORY: My husband, Ryan Blake, initially met outside the student center (at the bike rack specifically) in 1999 when we were introduced by a mutual friend. It wasn’t until May, 2000, when another mutual friend introduced us again at the Courtyard apartments pool, when we realized we had a lot in common. We went on our first date to see a movie downtown & had dinner at Chili Willie’s (I don’t think it’s there any longer) in 2000 & the rest is history!! We’ve been in a beautiful marriage since 2004 & have had 3 beautiful daughters who we are grooming to be Marshall Alumni as well! Growing up, my husband & I only lived 45 mins away from each other (Weirton & Moundsville) & it took going 4 hours south to Huntington, WV to find each other & to begin our happily ever after!! We literally owe our blessed life to Marshall University!

NAMES: Michael and Sara Foster
ANNIVERSARY: June 4, 2016
YEARS AT MARSHALL: 2009-2013 (Sara); 2009-2014 (Michael)

SARA’S STORY: Michael and I met in high school (Beckley area natives). Our fathers, both alumni of MU, were actively involved in the Beckley Big Green chapter so even our families knew each other. When we began our undergraduate careers in 2009 at Marshall we often hung out. In 2011 our friendship turned into love. There was a common love in our relationship- Marshall. We are devout Herd fans. Born to bleed green. On June 12, 2015 we took a stroll on campus and that’s when Michael got down on one knee near the memorial fountain. When we started planning our wedding there was no doubt in our minds where we had to say “I do!” Our ceremony was held at the student center plaza right where we got engaged and we conveniently had our reception at the beautiful Foundation Hall. I owe our love for Marshall for bringing us together. You can find us cheering on the Herd at the Cam or the Joan, or attending other various MU functions. Loyal to each other and our alma mater.

NAMES: Logan and Emily Williams
ANNIVERSARY: May 12, 2012
YEARS AT MARSHALL: 2006-2010 (Both)

EMILY’S STORY: I met my husband at a Greek community block party in April 2007, our Freshman year. He was standing at a bonfire across the yard and I noticed the most handsome smile from under a grey hoodie. I told my sorority sister that there was a boy who I thought was so cute! She didn’t see who I was talking about, but encouraged me to talk to him. I couldn’t possibly. Later as I walked with her into the house, she said “Hey, Logan!” ?? omg. It was that boy. She introduced us and we went on a double date the next day. This year will mark our seventh wedding anniversary. I am thankful every day for the friend who introduced us, the school that helped us grow together, and the amazing life that we continue to build.

NAMES: Matt and Lynne Arvon
CHILDREN: Justin, Kendra, Kara
ANNIVERSARY: April 22, 1984
YEARS AT MARSHALL: 1977-1982 (Matt); 1979-1982 (Lynne)

MATT’S STORY: I met my future wife , Lynne Carden Arvon, on her 1st day (1st hour actually) on campus…I was working the front desk as an RA at TTE in ‘79. She came to TTE with her roommate to visit her roommates boyfriend (who happened to be on my floor). She definitely caught my eye and I guess I flirted a bit…Her roommate later told me that when they returned to their TTW room that Lynne removed all of her HS boyfriends pictures from her bulletin board and proclaimed that she “was going to marry ”Duck’s RA” (ME)…Our 1st date was to a Marshall football game (only game we won that year). We’ve been together 40 years and married for 35 years…and all three children are proud Marshall grads…Our youngest also met her future husband on campus…he proposed on campus and they were married this past summer…WE ARE…



Larry Crum
Associate Director of Alumni Relations
Marshall University
519 John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV