Gettysburg College Sweethearts

By Ella Prieto, Managing Editor

Gettysburg College has proved to be a wonderful place to meet one’s forever person. With 1,923 (and counting) married couples alive today, the College makes it a point to celebrate relationships that begin here. Every year, the Office of College Advancement sends out Valentines to these special couples. For their wedding, however, the College sends these Gettysburg sweethearts Gettysburg College champagne glasses that read “Cheers to a Gettysburg Great Couple!” for use on their big day. Additionally, they send a card with blue and orange hearts joined reading “Best wishes for a lifetime of love and happiness from all of us here at Gettysburg College” on the inside. 

Another wedding tradition that the College does is send a Gettysburg College flag to any Gettysburgian at their wedding, encouraging there to be an alumni photo at the event around the flag. These images have circulated among many alumni spheres and serve as a sweet reminder of their undergraduate years.

Speaking on why the College provides special gifts for Sweethearts, Executive Director of Alumni Relations Joe Lynch said, “I think there’s the potential that alumni who are married to each other have an extra deep connection to the College and anything we can do to really remind them of that is worth doing.”

Four Gettysburg Sweethearts from four different generations (Gen Z, Millennial, Gen X and Baby Boomer) speak on their love stories at the College, highlighting just how special a place it can be. Each love story is different, with some meeting on campus while others did not get together until years after graduation. All of them, however, are filled with a sense of enchantment in a way that only Gettysburg can capture. As you read the stories, remember that your sweetheart could be just on the other side of Penn Hall.


Heidi ’94 and Gary Grassi ’94

Heidi ’94 and Gary Grassi ’94 together in Rice Hall. (Photo Provided)

Heidi ’94 and Gary Grassi ’94 together in Rice Hall. (Photo Provided)

In 1990 at Gettysburg College, a love story began to unfold for a now-married couple who first crossed paths as freshmen residing in Rice Hall, at the time a vibrant co-ed dorm. Amidst the bustle of campus life, Heidi occupied the second floor while Gary called the third floor home. Initially entwined in separate romances—she with a hometown boyfriend and he dating her roommate—their paths intertwined through a twist of fate when her roommate did not return after winter break.

Bound by shared moments and a common circle of friends, their connection deepened over the next few years. She would borrow his bulky word processor for assignments, and he would use her guest meals at Servo. As junior year drew to a close, Heidi bid farewell to her hometown beau, and Gary asked if she was coming back to campus to watch the seniors graduate. She took the train back to school from New Jersey and had arranged for a friend, who was spending the summer on campus, to pick her up. When Heidi got to the Harrisburg train station, Gary was waiting at the top of the stairs, having convinced Heidi’s friend to let him pick Heidi up. They spent all of graduation weekend together in 1993 and most weekends since. Now, 34 years later, their journey has evolved into a wonderful marriage of 25 years, blessed with three amazing kids and a treasure trove of nostalgic Gettysburg memories.


Delaney Borquist ’23 and Garret Donais ’23

Delaney Borquist ’23 and Garret Donais ’23 on their Graduation Day in May of 2023. (Photo Provided)

Delaney Borquist ’23 and Garret Donais ’23 on their Graduation Day in May of 2023. (Photo Provided)

Depending on who you ask, this story might begin in January 2020 or April 2022. It all started innocently enough during the spring semester of 2020 when a friend nudged Delaney, asking if there was anyone she thought was cute in her classes. Delaney’s reply was sweet and straightforward: “Well, there’s this guy in my environmental health class, but he’s from New Hampshire, so he might be weird.”

Fast forward two months and the start of a pandemic and the transition to virtual learning saw an end to their in-person interactions. Delaney found herself secretly wishing to be paired with him in Zoom breakout rooms and wondered if it was weird to respond to his discussion board posts. Back on campus, they kept bumping into each other in shared spaces, like puzzle pieces drawn together by fate. Whether it was their roles as a House Leader and an RA, their shared attendance at EI and GLC programs, or their mutual dedication to political science, their connection was obvious to everyone but themselves.

It took a bit of matchmaking from their friends to finally orchestrate a proper meeting, but once Delaney and Garrett started hanging out, they never really stopped. Perhaps it was Garrett’s trove of selfies with politicians or simply their constant proximity that sealed the deal, but the rest, as they say, is history.

Together, they’ve journeyed from passionate disagreements about the superiority of New Hampshire to making it their home, from solo snapshots with politicians to capturing moments together, and from thanking Gettysburg for their union to cherishing every moment of it.


Dave ’65 and Claudia ’66 Radin 

Dave ’65 and Claudia ’66 Radin after their engagement on Christmas Eve of 1965. (Photo Provided)

Dave ’65 and Claudia ’66 Radin after their engagement on Christmas Eve of 1965. (Photo Provided)

On March 14, 1964, Dave Radin met his future wife Claudia. Dave was an officer in his fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha, where he lived his junior year. Like most fraternities during that time, Lambda had a study break around 10 p.m. where the brothers would open the kitchen for what they affectionately referred to as “Late Chow.” On occasion, the social chairman would invite a sorority over to join in, and on that case, they would play music and dance as the cook made a sheet cake to be shared. 

On March 14, the Sigma Kappa sorority was invited over. Dave knew a few Sigma Kappas who he’d seen around campus, including Dee Tisdale, Bev Merkin and Claudia Wells. He doubted that they knew him, but he was still excited to see how the night would go. 

When they arrived, Dave found himself dancing with Claudia; however, he felt awkward and a little shy. After a few minutes of strained attempts to connect, he asked her if she knew how to thumb wrestle. Soon they were having multiple matches, which led to Dave proposing that the winner should get a kiss.

Three kisses later, Claudia had to head back to Huber Hall, and Dave walked her back, holding her hand the entire time. At the end of the night, he blurted out, “Owl and Nightingale is doing Othello this weekend. Want to go on Saturday?” Claudia said yes.

That day was 60 years ago. Dave and Claudia married in September after her graduation. Fifty years later, on March 14, 2014, they returned to Gettysburg and re-enacted the whole evening.


Bryan ’13 and Emily ’13 Barth

Emily and Bryan first met at an Alpha Delta Pi (ADPi) and Sigma Chi mixer in 2010 (her Jason White OU jersey caught his eye, and she was stunned he knew who Jason White was), but they did not start dating until a few years after graduation in 2015.

Emily was living with ADPi sisters in Philadelphia, and Bryan was invited to their housewarming party. They reconnected and started dating soon after. He proposed in 2019, and they planned a wedding, postponed a wedding (due to COVID), got legally married anyway and eventually got to have their wedding in December of 2021 with quite a few Gettysburgians in attendance. Now they are living happily ever after with their dog Marlo in Delaware County, Pennsylvania!

Bryan ’13 and Emily ’13 Barth with other Gettysburg College Alums on their wedding day. (Photo Provided)

Bryan ’13 and Emily ’13 Barth with other Gettysburg College Alums on their wedding day. (Photo Provided)

This article originally appeared on pages 12 to 14 of the February 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Ella Prieto

Ella Prieto ’26 serves as the Managing Editor for the Gettysburgian. Previously, she worked as the News Editor, the Assistant News Editor, and as a staff writer for the News and Arts & Entertainment sections. Ella is a double major in Public Policy and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies with a Writing Minor. On campus, Ella volunteers with the Casa Swim program, is an It’s On Us Fellow in the Office of Sexual Respect and Title IX, and is the President of the Panhellenic Council. She loves to read and keep up with celebrity drama in her free time.

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