Finding love at #MacEwanU

February 9, 2015

Meeting your perfect match at university isn’t a new story, but no matter how many times you tell them, tales of university romance that lead to lifelong commitments are pretty sweet.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, we want to hear your stories of post-secondary amour. Do you have a favourite date spot on campus or nearby? Want to share a picture of you and your MacEwan sweetheart?

Use #macewandates on Twitter and Instagram to share your photos until noon on Friday, February 13 for a chance to win two tickets to see the MacEwan University theatre production, Big Fish, on Valentine’s Day and a $50 restaurant gift card. Get the details.

And don’t worry if you’re still searching for the perfect token to show your special someone you care—we’ve got you covered with our MacEwan University Valentine’s Day cards.

Need some extra inspiration? We’ve got that too. Check out these three stories featuring MacEwan University alumni couples who made the leap from university sweethearts to life partners.

IMAGE_STORY_Valentines_BarberMaking music together

Kirby and Dave Barber

When Kirby Barber (then Kirby Green) came to MacEwan University to study guitar in 2005, she didn’t know anyone in Edmonton.

“I’m originally from Salmon Arm and ended up going to MacEwan because my brother was studying music there. I was friends with my brother’s friends, who were all a year ahead of me, and Dave, who plays banjo and guitar, was one of them.”

Their friendship grew into a marriage and a music partnership. The duo often gets hired into the same band, and they’re also getting ready to record a second album as GB Roots.

“A lot of musicians I play with ask me how I can be married to a musician, but in our case it works really well,” says Kirby. “We have our own projects—writing and singing—but we’re both experiencing the same thing and I think that helps us understand each other.”

Even when they’re out on the road touring with different bands, they’ll meet up to play a GB Roots show. And Kirby says that performing the songs they’ve written together in their living room is something special.

“It's a bit different than backing other artists up. They're our own songs that we've written and can believe in together. Being able to share the weight of the lead singing and to have those experiences together is so cool. It’s all about making your own way and working hard. If you do that, you really can make a career out of loving music.”

IMAGE_STORY_Valentines_KramerDesigning their future

Julie and Geoff Kramer

Julie Kramer recalls tugging on her sister’s sleeve and together peeking around the corner at the cute guy she saw in the hallway at the Centre for the Arts and Communications. Back then, when she was working up the courage to talk to him, she was Julie Lewis and she had no idea that Geoff Kramer would become her husband and business partner.

“We started chatting and realized that we had a lot in common—we were both studying design, we both grew up in southern Alberta and we loved snowboarding and playing volleyball,” says Julie.

“The rest is history,” says Geoff, who graduated from the Design program in 2001 and started Perpetual Notion Design a year later, right about the time Julie was graduating. When their design firm’s client list began to grow, the couple started working together. “We have very different working styles—I’m very systematic and organized and Julie is really good with people. It makes for a perfect match.”

With their company now in its 12th year, Julie and Geoff have learned a thing or two about how to make the most of that match, building on each other’s strengths and finding ways to make sharing a home and an office with your spouse work.

“It’s really all about balance,” says Julie. “I think that any couple that works together runs the risk of having their dining room table turn into the boardroom table, so we work hard to separate our business life from our personal life.”

But there are definitely advantages to co-owning a business, including having the flexibility to support each other as they pursue their creative goals—Geoff is currently working for Olive Skateboard and Snowboard Manufacturing and Julie is keeping shop at Perpetual Notion.

“It’s great to know that the brick walls of our office aren’t a limit to what we can each do. We’re constantly learning from each other and working toward our passions at the same time.”

IMAGE_STORY_Valentines_KempBack where it began

Amanda Janacek and Adam Kemp

On a visit home from working in Hong Kong, Adam Kemp and his long-distance sweetheart Amanda Janacek visited the campus where they first met as students. Amanda had been in Accelerated Management Studies and Adam in Aviation Management Studies, and their paths first crossed when they met in an economics class. But their journey to this moment was a long one.

They had been seeing other people while attending MacEwan together, and it wasn’t until a year later that they began dating.

“It didn’t last long,” admits Adam, who says he was committed to finishing a business degree in Australia. “About six years later, I found Amanda on Facebook and messaged her.”

Though she lived in Edmonton and he was more than 10,000 kilometres away in Hong Kong, the distance did not deter the happily reunited couple.

“We wrote back and forth and I came back to visit a number of times,” he says. “We knew we were serious when we started dating again.”

It was on one of his return visits that they took their walk down memory lane, returning to the campus where it all began for them. They wandered down to Building 5, exploring how things had changed. In front of their old econ classroom, Adam popped the question and Amanda said yes. The couple married in September.

“A solid relationship takes work, but the work pays off,” says Adam.

Photo by, Jin Media 

Valentine’s Day cards

Save your favourite MacEwan University card and send it to your sweetheart.

IMAGE_CARD_Valentine1      IMAGE_CARD_Valentine2     IMAGE_CARD_Valentine3

Valentine’s Day photo contest details

Prize: Two tickets to the Saturday, February 14 showing of Big Fish and a $50 restaurant gift card

How to enter: Share your photos of the best date spots on or near MacEwan’s campuses, or a picture of you and your sweetheart. Use #macewandates for a chance to win. A winner will be randomly selected at noon on Friday, February 13. Tickets can be picked up at the box office on the night of the show. Winners will be emailed additional details.

Who can enter: MacEwan University students, staff, faculty and alumni.

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