Alumni share their UA love stories
Over the decades, love has bloomed all over The University of Akron campus — in class, over meals at the Student Union, even on the soccer field! With another Valentine’s Day upon us, we asked our alumni couples to reminisce and many happily shared their stories. We’ve highlighted a few here, and there are many more on our Facebook page.
Mutual love of arts and athletics
“My husband and I met at the Student Union for lunch every day for four years,” says Courtney Johnson-Benson.
“We were introduced by a mutual friend and quickly realized we were unknowingly attending the same University,” recalls Courtney.
She was a political science/pre-law major and a dance minor, and Toby Benson was a middle-level education major in social studies and science.
Courtney and Toby Benson share hugs with Zippy.
“We both worked part-time and attended school full-time, so we got off to a slow start, but as years progressed we were soon inseparable,” says Courtney.
In addition to those weekday lunches, they also went to Zips football games and live events at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. “We love the arts and athletics equally, and that is what brought us together,” adds Courtney.
“Our engagement photo was taken on the steps of my favorite building on campus, Buchtel Hall,” says Courtney. “This was an important place for both of us, and we wanted a reminder of where we fell in love.”
Now married for nearly 10 years, Courtney is now an assistant director in the Office of Admissions here at UA. Toby is his 11th year of teaching for Massillon City Schools, where he also is a football and baseball coach.
The Bensons are still going to games, events at Thomas Hall and Toby is on the Roo Crew, helping out at Admissions events.
“We plan to do a fun photo shoot here on campus for our 10-year wedding anniversary in June,” says Courtney with a smile.
Travel abroad adds to romance
It was fall 2004 when freshmen Brittany Wolonsky and Craig Rohner met in an honors psychology class. They began to “hang out” and quickly became friends.
“We ‘officially’ started dating in early December of that semester,” says Craig.
Travel would bring Brittany, a psychology major, and Craig, a general business administration major, even closer together.
“Dr. Doug Hausknecht recommended a study abroad program since I was interested in international business,” Craig recalls. “Britt had a passion for traveling, and I convinced her to sign up for the trip with me. We ended up going to Paris and London in the summer between our freshman and sophomore years. She switched her major to human resources, and I changed to international business.”
Brittany joined Delta Gamma and Craig joined Alpha Sigma Phi. She worked as a manager of the game room in the Student Union and he worked in judicial affairs.
Brittany and Craig Rohner on their wedding day.
“I did propose to Britt on campus,” says Craig.
At a movie challenge night among the Greek organizations the semester after their graduation, with the Student Union Theatre as the venue, Craig put together a video proposal and asked many of her friends to attend the event. After all the Greek life movies were screened, his proposal video filled the screen and Brittany’s friends escorted her down to the front where Craig says he gave her the ring and, “Thankfully, she said yes!”
Married in 2009, the Rohners now have two young sons. Brittany is human resources manager for four manufacturing and research sites at Omnova Solutions. Craig is an analyst at Goodyear’s corporate headquarters. Brittany is on the alumni board for her Delta Gamma chapter, and Craig serves on the advisory board for Alpha Sigma Phi at UA.
“Our time at The University of Akron was important to us, and we truly enjoyed it,” notes Craig. “We are blessed to have made so many close friends from the University that we still see regularly. They all have been a big part of our journey and our success as a couple.”