Katy Beth Irwin McGahey (’17) knew something was up when she arrived on campus for an alumni brunch last year.
First, her then-boyfriend Ryan McGahey (’17, ’18 M.B.A.) took her to the Santa Fe Square residence hall, where they first met as freshmen. She was surprised it was open on a Saturday in August.
Then they walked to the Hurley Administration Building.
“I started getting suspicious because I didn’t see a soul,” she says.
There was no brunch. And the long stairwell was decorated with pictures of themselves and roses.
“So at that point I knew something was really happening,” she says.
They climbed to the top of the stairs. Ryan got down on one knee and proposed. Katy said yes.
The campus was an appropriate place to propose since the McGaheys’ relationship grew through their years at UNT and led to their wedding in March in Fort Worth.
“Every chapter of our relationship, from strangers to boyfriend and girlfriend, had all been through UNT,” says Ryan, who works at Tailwater Capital in Dallas.
As freshmen, they both had to adjust to their new lives. Katy had come from Texarkana and didn’t know many people. Ryan, who hails from North Richland Hills, had trouble being on his own for the first time.
“When we first met, I was a bit more fun loving, and Katy was a bit more grown up,” Ryan says. “So she spent a lot of time helping me cook and making sure I didn’t mess up my laundry.”
They happened to move into the same apartment complex their sophomore year and took the bus together to campus. They soon began dating. They took walks on campus, studied at the library and often took breaks at the swing in the courtyard near Maple Hall. They frequently ate at Mean Greens, the all-vegan cafeteria.
“UNT was really the backbone of our entire relationship,” says Katy, who teaches art and floral design at Boswell High School in Eagle Mountain Saginaw ISD. “We had memories and still do at every corner of the campus. It’s just so neat to reminisce because our whole love story evolved from there.”