Oneonta Love Stories


From a math tutoring session to a dorm party at Ford Hall, we can’t begin to count the ways people meet and fall in love at SUNY Oneonta.

Nearly 70 students and alumni who have been together as long as 34 years recently shared their Oneonta love stories on our Facebook page.

We heard from couples who met at residence halls or in class; at a local watering hole—or on a school whale watching trip; and through student clubs and activities ranging from the Alumni Phonathon to the Zombie Defense Corps. Couples shared all kinds of how-we-met stories, from “It was love at first sight” to “I RAN back to my room and never forgot the encounter with the creepy kid!”

Here are a few of our favorites:

Love at first sight - Gregg Rosenbaum ’92 and Dawn Gregus ’92

Rekindling an old spark - Alan Chace ’81 and Teri Blau

One in a million - Kristen Scholl ’89 and Peter Ruiz ’89

Across a crowded room - Heather Mackay ’97 and John Gelatt ’00

Hulbert Hall sweethearts - Erin Silvernail ’04 and Josh McLear ’05

Love at first sight

Gregg Rosenbaum ’92 and Dawn Gregus ’92 met in 1987 on the second day of orientation.

“It was truly love at first sight and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her within weeks of knowing her,” says Gregg. “I thank Oneonta for the opportunity to meet my best friend and love of my life.” Gregg still has the Littell Hall Dorm Couple Award he and Dawn received, as well as the first valentine he ever gave her!


Greg and Dawn now

Gregg and Dawn live in Patchogue, N.Y., where Dawn is a manager at NPD Group, a market research company, and Gregg is a songwriter and music publisher. They have a 4-year-old son, Shane.

Rekindling an old spark

Alan Chace ’81 and Teri Blau met in 1979—but didn’t get married until 2010. 

“I was a freshman, and he was two years ahead of me. One of his friends was my boyfriend. I liked Al, but I thought he was Mr. Dangerous—wicked smart, wicked studly, rather wild.”

“I thought she was all at once the smartest, sweetest, and best-looking girl on the campus. She was my buddy's girl, and I loved her from afar, and in silence.”

Teri transferred to Bard College after two years at Oneonta. Al and Teri kept in touch over the years, through cross-country moves and marriages to other people, career changes, children and divorces. “Decades passed, lives were led, love made and love lost, but I never forgot Teri and after 30 years I grew into the sort of man she wanted, I hope,“ says Al. The couple reunited five years ago over brunch at the Autumn Café. “We talked for hours, catching up, sizing up the older version, feeling a spark,” says Teri. They married in March 2010.


Alan and Teri now

Al and Teri live in Little Falls, N.Y. Teri is a freelance writer and editor with over 30 titles in publication, including two books due out this year. Alan is a professional land surveyor and assistant professor at Mohawk Valley Community College in Utica, where he teaches surveying, geography and American history.

One in a million

Kristen Scholl ’89 and Peter Ruiz ’89 are a perfect match—literally. In 2002, when Kristen was suffering from end-stage renal disease, Peter gave her one of his kidneys.

“He said, ‘I’m going to give you my kidney,’” Kristen recalls. “I said, ‘There’s no way,’ and he said, ‘Oh, I know I’ll be a match.’ The doctor said it would be a million to one shot that he would be a match, but he was.”

Kristen and Peter Ruiz met at a new trainee meeting for WONY, where Kristen was a DJ. “I remember him walking down the stairs in the IRC,” says Kristen. “He had a punk hairdo, sweatpants with combat boots and a trench coat. He would come to the studio with coffee and he would file my records for me. He was too shy to ask me out, so we were set up on a double date to see the Cure and Billy Idol. The rest was history.”

Kristen and Peter now

Kristen and Peter live in Maryland and have four children. Peter works for the Department of Defense and Kristen is an elementary school technology teacher. They still celebrate April 12, the anniversary of their first date. “He is the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Kristen. “My best friend and the love of my life.”

Across a Crowded Room

Heather Mackay ’97 and John Gelatt ’00 met in fall 1996. “I played field hockey and he played baseball,” says Heather. “We met across a crowded training room in Chase Gymnasium after I injured my Achilles tendon. We got married on the 10th anniversary of our first date -- a movie (Stephen King’s Thinner) at the Oneonta 1 and 2 on Chestnut Street followed by dinner at Friendly's. My husband guessed the exact amount of the bill and it has been a game we’ve played ever since.”


Heather and John now

Heather and John live in Castleton, N.Y., with their “two little Red Dragons,” Gillian, 4, and Rory, 16 months. Heather is a guidance counselor at Troy High School and John is a social studies teacher at Cohoes High School.

Hulbert Hall Sweethearts

Erin Silvernail ’04 and Josh McLear ’05 met in 2002 in Hulbert Hall. This photo was taken in Erin’s room in January 2003, on the night of their first official date. “I was an RA in Hulbert and he was one of my residents,” says Erin. “It definitely wasn't love at first sight, but something pushed me to get to know him better and we started dating later that school year. We got engaged a couple years later and he actually proposed in front of my old room, where we met. We got married in 2006, and SUNY Oneonta and Hulbert Hall will forever hold a special place in our hearts.”


Erin and Josh now

Erin and Josh live in Massena, N.Y., where Erin is a seventh-grade special education teacher and Josh is the Assistant Director of Residence Life for SUNY Potsdam. (“He had a great RA that introduced him to res life...haha!” jokes Erin. This photo was taken last weekend at a winter carnival with their son, Liam, who will be 2 in March.