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Happy Sweetest Day, SXU!

Date:10/18/2019
Tags:Alumni

Happy Sweetest Day, Cougars! While considered a somewhat obscure holiday that's grown in popularity over time, Sweetest Day observance originated in Cleveland in 1921. When candy-company employee Herbert Birch Kingston decided he wanted to bring happiness into the lives of orphans, shut-ins and others, he began to distribute candy and small gifts to the underprivileged.

The holiday is celebrated for romantic and platonic love as a way to show appreciation and care for family and friends and is a perfect way to celebrate many of the University's core values. With compassion, hospitality and service, the SXU community works tirelessly to deliver service and happiness to others in many different ways. With the vibes of love surrounding, the impending celebration of Sweetest Day brings the SXU community to take a look back at alumni sweethearts who met on campus.

David Gomez '74 and Caroline Gomez '75: David and Caroline connected through the untimely death of their classmate, Rina Imbriano. David worked with then-SXU President Sister Irenaeus M. Chekouras to locate funds for a classmate to attend the funeral services, which were to be held in New York. Caroline, a good friend of Rina's, introduced herself to David to see if he could help her find a way to attend. Within one year, the two were married and are still best friends to this day. With six children and 20 grandchildren, the blessed couple consider SXU a gift from God.

Patrick Clifton '99 and Karen Petrey Clifton '97: Patrick and Karen met in the halls of the Warde Academic Center. Karen, who worked for the SXU Media Department, was pushing TV monitors into classrooms, and Patrick held the door open for her. With love and support through education and beyond, the couple now live in the south suburbs with their three children and enjoy returning to SXU to catch up with friends.

Timothy O'Neill '04 and Lesley Podlasek '02: Tim and Lesley met in an Art Communication class. While Lesley thought Tim was cute, she couldn't get past his Cubs hat. Later, after seeing him in the diner with a Sox shirt, she changed her mind. They have been married for nine years and reside in Mount Greenwood.

Jeremy Zientek '08 and Gretchen Hendrix-Zientek '08: Jeremy and Gretchen met in a Nutrition class at SXU in 2005, and they've been together ever since. Both Cougar athletes, Gretchen played basketball for University legend Bob Hallberg, and Jeremy was quarterback of the SXU Football team. They married in 2012 and have three daughters.

Chris Hollock '08 and Jamie Bisiules Hollock '09: Chris and Jamie were Communication majors and met as members of a group project during class. The couple lives in Chicago Ridge and are expecting their first child, a boy, in December 2019.

Mark Piper '10 and Regina Byrnes Piper '10: Mark and Regina met at the Campus Ministries New Student/First-Year Student Retreat. Both were part of the first Mercy International Student Service Trip and stayed active in ministry together after graduation. Regina serves in the Mercy Volunteer Corps, and Mark is part of the Amate House of the Archdiocese Chicago. The couple have two children and reside in Beverly.

Jack Krieger '15 and Courtney Correa Keiger '17: Jack and Courtney met while hanging out with friends at Rubloff Hall. Both athletes, Courtney ran cross country and track, and Jack was a basketball player. They've been together since their first date on Valentine's Day 2014.

SXU is thrilled to be the root component of these couples' years of love and encourages the SXU community to celebrate Sweetest Day by giving back and spreading love and service every day!


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