Jordan M. Villegas ’20 and Patric C. W. Verrone ’18
Jordan M. Villegas ’20 and Patric C. W. Verrone ’18

Wedding Bells Class of 2020

These five couples in the Class of 2020 are tying the knot.
By Norah M. Murphy and Abigail L. Simon

Gunnar L. Allison ’20 and Jessica R. Davis

Gunnar L. Allison ’20 and Jessica R. Davis
Gunnar L. Allison ’20 and Jessica R. Davis By Courtesy of Gunnar L. Allison and Jessica R. Davis

Gunnar L. Allison ’20 envisioned proposing to his high school sweetheart Jessica R. Davis in a winter wonderland — but, thanks to a government shutdown, his careful plans were nearly derailed.

In December 2018, the couple visited Colorado. Allison had spent months planning their trip; they would stay outside of Rocky Mountain National Park, and he and Allison would snowshoe up the Emerald Lakes Trail, where he would propose. Just before the trip, Allison averted one crisis: Davis asked him if he was planning on proposing, and he vehemently denied it, successfully hiding his plan.

The night they arrived, however, there was another snag: The entire national park was closed due to a national government shutdown. In a moment of serendipity, though, a trail just outside the park was open and led to the appropriately named Gem Lake. The couple hiked to the iced-over lake where Allison knelt down and proposed in the winter wonderland he had hoped for.

The couple, both of Rogersville, Mo., met freshman year of high school — the two had shared a class, but were both a bit intimidated.

“Gunnar is a larger person,” Davis said, “so I thought he was actually a senior, so [I was] a little scared freshman.” They became closer sophomore year, though the academically-focused Allison was initially reluctant to date during high school. After Davis convinced him to come to her house to study for an exam, he asked her out: Steak ‘n Shake, a Midwestern burger chain, followed by mini golf.

Davis, a vegetarian, just had a milkshake, and, unbeknownst to Allison, hated mini golf.

“I sent a horrible impression on the first date,” Allison said. “It's amazing that we went on a second one.”

When Allison was accepted to Harvard, the couple decided to weather long distance while Davis remained close to home at Missouri State. This decision, the couple said, helped solidify their feelings for each other.

“Anytime we thought about [breaking up due to distance], we tried to imagine our lives without each other,” said Allison. “Those kinds of ideas or prospects scared us even more than continuing to do long distance. And over the years, it just sort of made more and more sense that we're going to spend the rest of our lives with each other.”

And now, the couple that got engaged during a government shutdown will get married during a pandemic.

The Ozark region, where they are both from, has not been severely impacted by COVID-19. The couple had planned on a June wedding, and they’re keeping their date, though modifying their plans. Friends from out of state will be unable to attend, and masks and social distancing will be encouraged, but Allison and Davis are excited to celebrate with their families.

Since October, the couple had been planning to move to Houston, Texas after the wedding, where Allison would work as a mechanical engineer for an energy company while Davis began graduate school at Texas A&M University. Now, Allison is back on the job search, but the couple is hopeful they will make it to Houston.

— Norah M. Murphy was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @norah_murph.

Maxwell Lent ’20 and Sarah R. Broniscer

Maxwell Lent ’20 and Sarah R. Broniscer
Maxwell Lent ’20 and Sarah R. Broniscer By Courtesy of Maxwell Lent and Sarah R. Broniscer

Maxwell Lent ’20 knew early on that he wanted to marry Sarah R. Broniscer.

They were introduced by mutual friends in September of their junior years of college, when Lent was attending Harvard, concentrating in History of Art and Architecture, and Broniscer was enrolled at Barnard, majoring in Psychology and Religion. After an hour-long first phone call, the two decided to meet up in person when Lent next returned home to Long Island for one of the Jewish holidays. Their date — a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art followed by lunch in the city — lasted so long that Lent’s family texted him to come home and Broniscer’s friends began to worry.

Within two months, Lent realized that she was the one. “We met at the end of September of 2018, and by November, Max was already making comments about getting married, and I was like ‘oh my god, relax,’” Broniscer laughed. But she came around to the idea pretty quickly. On a hiking date that New Year’s Eve, Broniscer said to Lent, “Yeah, I think I want to marry you.”

Living in different cities and still attending school, the couple didn’t officially get engaged until August 2019. On their second date in Central Park, Broniscer had told Lent that she always dreamed of going boating in the lake there. “I noted that down early on as something to surprise her with,” said Lent. So, one evening in mid-August, Lent took her out on a boat and then proposed, with friends and family members watching from a distance.

Fast forward to March 10, the day Harvard announced that undergraduates had to move out, and Broniscer had just arrived on campus to surprise Lent. He had already planned a party to celebrate Purim, which, given the news, turned into a combination of dancing and “cry-laughing,” Broniscer said. After Broniscer moved out of Barnard, the couple decided to quarantine together at Lent’s house. “Max and I knew that if we were going to get stuck somewhere, we wanted to be stuck together because we were planning a wedding, planning a life,” she said.

The wedding, scheduled for June 7, was going to be held in an old airline terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport that has been converted into a hotel. It was supposed to be a big event of around 500 people — friends and family from all over the world.

The couple is keeping the date, but everything else has changed. “As of now, it’s just going to be immediate family in the backyard,” Lent said. “We want to have more of just a party at some point in the indefinite future. Definitely at some point.”

After their backyard ceremony, the couple plans to move to Philadelphia, Penn. where Broniscer will begin law school at the University of Pennsylvania and Lent will seek a job. There, the newlyweds will start their lives together.

— Abigail L. Simon was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @asimon_says.

Kayla R. Lentz ’20 and Ian M. McConnaha

Kayla R. Lentz ’20 and Ian M. McConnaha
Kayla R. Lentz ’20 and Ian M. McConnaha By Courtesy of Kayla R. Lentz and Ian M. McConnaha

Kayla R. Lentz ’20 and Ian M. McConnaha first met when they were two years old, in their hometown of Plymouth, Wis. Their older siblings attended the same daycare, and soon, their families became friendly. Five-year-old Lentz and McConnaha attended kindergarten together, but McConnaha’s family moved to St. Louis, Mo. before first grade.

From then on, the pair were pen pals.

“In part it was maybe our parents wanting us to practice cursive,” said Lentz, “but it was really fun.” She remembers mailing McConnaha a paper cutout of Flat Stanley from the titular children’s book for a school project, and receiving photos of her Flat Stanley at the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium.

Around fifth grade, McConnaha’s family moved back to Plymouth, and the pair resumed their friendship — until freshman year of high school, when McConnaha asked Lentz to the homecoming dance.

The couple has been going strong ever since — there was no question that they would stay together during college, as Lentz moved to Cambridge and McConnaha stayed in state to attend University of Wisconsin-Stout.

“Why would that even be a consideration to not try and make it work long distance?” said Lentz. “I don't think there was ever any question that that wasn't going to be.”

“I hadn't stopped loving her then, so might as well keep going,” McConnaha added with a laugh.

By sophomore year of college, the couple was discussing marriage, and during winter break of their junior year, McConnaha bought a ring.

The couple wouldn’t be reunited until that summer, so McConnaha planned a proposal for when they both returned to their hometown. Since high school, Lentz and McConnaha had shared sunrise dates on Lake Michigan, taking in the view and grabbing breakfast afterwards, and this tradition felt like a fitting setting for a proposal.

On a particularly early morning in the summer of 2019 — the pair woke up around 3:30 a.m. — McConnaha popped the question along the lake. McConnaha had enlisted his younger brother to wake up with him and follow in a separate car to take photos of the proposal.

Following their engagement, the couple decided to wait two years for a wedding, so their plans for summer 2021 have not been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Until then, the couple will stay close to home: Lentz is hoping to work near Plymouth while applying to medical school, and McConnaha will work in construction management. When they do get married, it will be at the same parish where their families first met, close to 20 years ago.

— Norah M. Murphy was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @norah_murph.

Anna M. Schuliger ’20 and Liam S. Fitzgerald

Anna M. Schuliger ’20 and Liam S. Fitzgerald
Anna M. Schuliger ’20 and Liam S. Fitzgerald By Courtesy of Anna M. Schuliger and Liam S. Fitzgerald

Anna M. Schuliger ’20 and Liam S. Fitzgerald first discovered their romantic chemistry in, perhaps fittingly, a high school chemistry class.

It was their junior fall at the Boston Latin School. “There was this cute guy in my AP chem class – we had a huge class, so I hadn’t really seen him before,” Schuliger said. She asked to be his lab partner. “I don’t even remember the experiments we were doing,” she laughed. “But I remember that Liam smashed a beaker.” Fitzgerald jumped in, clarifying that “it was a spectrophotometry experiment, and it wasn’t a beaker, it was a cuvette.”

It took “forever” for him to ask her out, Schuliger explained, and they were in totally different circles — he was a “hockey player and a science guy,” whereas she was a “total theater geek” who liked English. Eventually, she made the first move, asking him to go to the movies one Friday. She wrote her cellphone number on his electron configuration worksheet. He took her up on that offer several weeks later, and they saw “The Hunger Games” sequel “Catching Fire.”

The couple dated all through the rest of high school, navigated long distance during Schuliger’s gap year in Germany, and then split time between University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where Fitzgerald majored in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Harvard, where Schuliger concentrated in English with a secondary in Linguistics.

They had discussed their engagement before Fitzgerald finally popped the question. “I always felt that the surprise should be when it happens and where it happens, the surprise shouldn’t be if it was going to happen or not,” Fitzgerald said. “So I knew that if I proposed, Anna would say yes… Other than that, everything was kept a complete surprise.”

After talking to his family and Anna’s parents to receive their blessings, Fitzgerald took Schuliger for a walk along Crane Beach in Ipswich, Mass. in January 2019, where he proposed.

They planned to get married June 14 — and they still will, but in a different manner than they expected. They had initially invited around 180 people to a wedding ceremony at Jack’s Abby Brewery in Framingham, Mass. Now, they will be marrying at the Arnold Arboretum with only immediate family members. Schuliger’s brother and sister won’t make it, because they’re in Canada — where her family now resides — on student visas, and the pandemic has made it more difficult to cross the border and return.

“We’ve kind of reframed the day to make it special in its own way… an elopement of sorts,” Schuliger explained. The couple adjusted event plans over Zoom from their respective quarantine locations in Vancouver, Canada and West Roxbury, Mass. Schuliger shipped her wedding dress to a tailor in Canada and will soon bring it back to Massachusetts to wear. After the ceremony, they plan to take wedding photographs across an empty Boston with a local photographer.

For now, they will have to put visions for a bigger celebration on hold. “I mean, who knows what the world will look like in a year, but we’re hoping to do a vow renewal ceremony with all the people we invited to our wedding,” Schuliger said. “But we’ll see how this all plays out.”

“It’s really just made us focus more on what this is actually about, which is our marriage to one another. And that’s what really matters in the end,” Fitzgerald added. The two will move to San Diego, Calif. this summer, where Schuliger will look for a job in the arts while Fitzgerald begins medical school in the fall at the University of California, San Diego.

— Abigail L. Simon was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @asimon_says.

Jordan M. Villegas ’20 and Patric C. W. Verrone ’18

Jordan M. Villegas ’20 and Patric C. W. Verrone ’18
Jordan M. Villegas ’20 and Patric C. W. Verrone ’18 By Courtesy of Jordan M. Villegas and Patric C. W. Verrone

When Patric C. W. Verrone ’18 organized a reading for his play in the Leverett Library Theater, he had no idea that he would meet his future spouse, Jordan M. Villegas ’20, as a result.

“I went and saw it, because I heard about it from someone in one of my courses,” Villegas said. “Obviously being interested in LGBT history, the play kind of was about that… and I happened to sit next to the person who wrote it.” As the writer of the play, Verrone was eager for any feedback he could receive, and the two struck up a conversation after the reading ended.

Villegas had just started his freshman year of college, and Verrone was eager to help orient him to campus. “As a representative of the BGLTQ office, I feel like I started like, talking resources at [him],” he laughed. “And then, yeah, we just exchanged numbers.”

Texting turned into a first date at Berryline on a Tuesday night soon after.

The two dated through the rest of college, with Verrone concentrating in Psychology with a secondary in Women and Gender Studies, and Villegas joint-concentrating in Anthropology and Women and Gender Studies with a secondary in Latinx studies. After Verrone graduated in 2018, he found a job working as a public programs assistant putting on events at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. The couple lived together in Brighton, Mass. while Villegas finished up his final year at the college.

In the summer of 2019, the couple began to discuss marriage. They picked out rings together online. “We decided that I was going to propose first,” Verrone said. “The ball was kind of in my court.” He ordered the rings and hid them from Villegas in their shared apartment until the fall.

The couple planned to spend Thanksgiving with Verrone’s family in Northern California, but flew out early to spend time in Pacific Grove, Calif. a seaside town in Monterey County. They were still on East Coast time and consistently woke up early. One morning, they decided to walk down to the beach and watch the sunrise. That’s when Verrone proposed.

“It was on my birthday, November 26, which is always right around Thanksgiving,” Villegas said. “And it just so happened that the place where he ended up proposing is called Lover’s Point.” The couple spent the rest of the day walking down the beach together.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they were just beginning to tentatively look at wedding venues for the summer of 2021. “It meant that we hadn’t really gotten that far in the planning,” Verrone said. “And so now we’ve just sort of been like, ‘we’ll wait and see.’” They hope to plan a ceremony around Pacific Grove, where Verrone proposed, but with family in Houston, Texas and across California, they’ll wait to lock plans down until travel becomes safe.

The couple intends to move to New York City in the fall, where Villegas will begin a Ph.D. in history at Columbia University, but until then, they’ll remain hunkered down with Villegas’s family in Cicero, N.Y., baking plenty of bread.

— Norah M. Murphy was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @norah_murph.

— Abigail L. Simon was the Magazine Chair of the 146th Guard. Follow her on Twitter @asimon_says.

Commencement 2020Commencement 2020 Senior Section