College years filled with inspiration set the course for self discovery — and sometimes for falling in love. Throughout its history, UNT has provided a lively backdrop for Cupid’s arrows, igniting love interests and growing relationships from first glimpses in classrooms and first dates in the University Union to marriage proposals under McConnell Tower. Love stories intertwined with memories of UNT span the years and occur in multiple generations for some alumni families. From a romantic rendezvous at the fish pond in the early years to a hand-in-hand walk on the Spirit March today, love at UNT is timeless.
Legacy love affairs
When she first spotted William “Bill” Foxworth King (’51) during freshman English class in 1947, Eugenia McKinney (’52) didn’t know she would repeat history.
“He had the cutest turned-up nose, just like the movie star Lon McCallister,” she says. “I knew I wanted to go out with him.”
After failed attempts to get Bill to notice her by dropping her books after class, she asked him to a Marquis and Terrill Hall dance, which led to two more dates that week. Bill was a pre-med student teaching physiology in the then newly built chemistry building. She took his class, washed lab bottles for him and helped him grade papers.
“We’ve been dating ever since,” Bill says.
They weren’t the only couple in their family who had love blossom on campus. Forty years prior, Eugenia’s aunt, Lila Gertrude McDonough (1907) met Jesse Harrison Legett (1905), her biology teacher, while she was earning her teaching certificate, and fell in love. After teaching at a rural school in Canon, Lila returned to marry Jesse. An avid gardener who taught agriculture and biology courses for more than 40 years, he retired from the faculty in 1946. They lived where West Hall now stands with their five children, including three who attended North Texas and married fellow classmates.
Eugenia and Bill’s courtship included hanging out at Perryman’s Drug Store across campus, going to movies at the Campus Theatre, enjoying ’Fessor Graham’s Saturday Night Stage Shows, dancing to the Aces of Collegeland on the slab between Marquis and Terrill halls and riding in Bill’s 1927 Model-T. They restored the car, “Betsy,” and cherish it with reminiscent rides back to campus and at UNT Homecoming parades.
After graduation, Bill attended Northwestern Medical School in Chicago to study radiology while Eugenia worked at Terrell Laboratories in Fort Worth. They married in Denton in 1954, his third summer in medical school.
Following family tradition, two of their three children attended the university, son William David King (’81) and daughter Ann Catherine King Durick (’85), who met her husband, Dennis Durick (’85), as a student. And now, Eugenia and Bill’s grandson, Will King, a sophomore composition student, lives in Bruce Hall, just as his dad, aunt and uncle did.
“We’re four generations strong,” Eugenia says.
You never know what life is going to throw at you, says Max Raymond (’76). He and Priscilla Langston (’77) accidentally met in the foyer of the Administration Building in 1975.
“Priscilla was a Green Jacket and worked in the public information office in the Administration Building, and I was a tour guide showing prospective students and parents around the campus,” Max says.
The day they met, Priscilla was working at the information desk in the lobby, filling in for the regular staffer who was on vacation.
“There sat this beautiful woman with dancing green eyes and gorgeous auburn hair flowing down to her waist,” he says. “I walked into a life-changing experience.”
Both biology majors, Priscilla and Max began dating and discovered other similar interests, including a love for baseball and a desire to be Peace Corps volunteers.
But their relationship hit some rocky times.
“I was dating other guys and needed to tie up loose ends,” she says.
Max says he thought it was over between them.
“I graduated and was resigned to never seeing Priscilla again when I received a letter from her congratulating me,” he says. “We began corresponding by mail nearly a year after we first met, and we learned that we needed each other.”
After Max proposed on the LBJ library lawn in Austin before a North Texas-UT football game, they wed in December 1976 at The Little Chapel in the Woods in Denton. Shortly thereafter, they enlisted as Peace Corps volunteers in Tonga where they taught for two years.
Thirty-four years of marriage, four children and two grandchildren later, the Raymonds are both high school teachers and say more Peace Corps work might be in their future.
“We are still very much in love,” Max says.
Introduced by her Zeta Tau Alpha sorority sisters and his Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brothers in 1953, juniors Beverly Ann Tidmore (’55) and Thomas Leeth (’55) began walking together from their 10 a.m. class to the Student Union Building three times a week for coffee. But their first date didn’t come until just before Christmas break.
“There came a tremendous snow fall and a snowball fight ensued between a number of sororities and fraternities in front of the old Administration Building on Hickory Street,” Tom says. “We battled it out and afterward I invited Beverly to a party at my fraternity brother’s home.”
In the spring, their relationship began to “heat up,” particularly on Thursday afternoons, when they frequented Blondy’sin Saginaw and listened to what became their song, “Once I Had a Secret Love,” he says.
In Lambda Chi Alpha tradition, Tom pledged his love for Beverly by presenting her with his fraternity pin and a dozen red Talisman roses on the steps of her dorm, Chilton Hall, while his fraternity brothers serenaded them.
“I still have that pin,” she says. “I knew he was for me and I was for him.”
Tom says by that summer, he was “totally smitten” and gave Beverly an engagement ring. They planned to marry following their 1955 graduations, but plans changed.
“We were a few minutes late one night, smooching in the parking lot in front of my dorm, and we didn’t see the lights blink to come in,” Beverly says. “And Imogene Bentley Dickey, dean of women, ‘campused’ me for the rest of the semester, just two months short of our graduation.”
With Beverly not allowed to attend his spring fraternity formal and Tom unable to persuade the dean to let her, he and Beverly eloped two days later, April Fool’s Day.
Their nearly 56-year marriage — producing two daughters, four grandsons and one great-grandson — is a testament to lasting love.
“Fate intervened,” Tom says. “No joke.”
Through some of Edna Jo “Bo” Allen Chapman’s (’47) most challenging times, UNT has given her hope. She worked at the Campus Chat for 35 cents an hour to help pay for her expenses at Terrill Hall and pledged Kappa Theta Pi. But the reality of World War II dictated she move home to work at the Southern Aircraft Corp. plant in Garland for a year.
“I came back to North Texas in the fall of ’45 and it was a good thing,” she says. “The fellows were returning from the war.”
By spring of 1946, one special soldier returned. Pat Chapman (’47) had enlisted in the Air Force and left the university in 1943, serving in the Pacific Theatre on Tinian Island.
“Pat, who was a very handsome young man and president of the Betas, came by the Theta house where I was living and invited me to the ‘Corner’ at Hickory and Avenue A for a Coke,” Bo says. “We began our courtship.
“So many activities were all around us. We went dancing in Dallas at Maurice’s Flight 21, and on campus we had many Beta and Theta dances, Saturday nights with ’Fessor Graham and the Aces of Collegeland, football and basketball games, and movies. And yes, some studying.”
Pat and Bo married in May 1948 at The Little Chapel in the Woods in Denton and built a life together in Dallas, until Pat’s death in 1976.
It was during a Homecoming reunion in the early ’90s that Bo reconnected with six of her Theta sisters. The group still convenes several times a year.
“These are friendships of more than 68 years and a continuation of the life I started at North Texas with Pat — a life that gave us two sons, two daughters-in-law and five grandchildren,” Bo says. “He would be very proud.”
Golf course newlyweds
Nancy Acker (’50) says she first saw Luther “Bugs” Fambro (’50) in 1946 when they were business administration students studying in the library. Weeks later, they were introduced to each other by a friend at Eagle Drug, across from campus.
“Many nights we sat in the great hall of my dorm, Terrill Hall, talking. We have the same birthday, Feb.4,” Nancy says. “And I loved his blonde hair and good looks.”
Bugs lettered four years in football and also ran track. He was an all-Gulf Coast Conference end in football in 1949 and went on to set school and conference track and field records. In 1998, he was named to the UNT Athletic Hall of Fame.
By their sophomore year, Nancy and Bugs began talking of marriage and decided not to wait until after graduation. In August 1948, they wed and moved into the caretaker’s garage apartment on the golf course.
“‘Pop’ Noah, the track coach, was not pleased. He didn't want one of his athletes to marry while he was participating in track,” she says, “but he soon mellowed.”
Living on the golf course, they played golf whenever they could and created many memories.
“Bugs gave me a cocker spaniel puppy, and every morning when we went to class, there was a pile of golf balls that he had retrieved at our door.”
The college sweethearts received many honors. Bugs, a member of Talons, was voted Eagles Outstanding Athlete in 1949. Nancy, who pledged Kappa Theta Pi, was chosen Homecoming Queen by the football team in 1948 and 1949.
With more than 62 years of marriage, four children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, the Fambros say they will always be loyal to UNT, where they got their start.
“We proudly fly a bright green UNT flag to greet everyone who enters the Fambro Bear Creek Ranch south of Strawn.”
Pamela Pineset (’03) had a crush on Vernon Bryant (’00) since they were teenagers, growing up and attending church together in Austin. But they didn’t start dating until her freshman and his junior year at UNT.
Vernon, a photojournalism major, worked at the North Texas Daily, while Pamela, a public relations major, worked at Voertman’s bookstore. Together they were members of the National Association of Black Journalists student organization.
“I always knew he was a good guy and came from a great family,” she says. “He was dedicated to school and serious about his career, and I thought I better hang on to him.”
When Pamela was a senior, Vernon, already working for The Dallas Morning News, hatched an elaborate plan to propose to her. After asking Pamela’s parents for her hand, he organized a trivia game that included a succession of questions paired with letters he photographed, spelling out “Will you marry me?”
His final question, “What icon ties the two of us together?” led her to the Eagle statue in front of the University Union, where he kneeled, proposed and presented her with a ring.
“I was so nervous,” he says, “but in being friends before we dated, we really knew each other, and I thought, ‘What am I waiting for?’”
They married in Jamaica in July 2003 and live in Frisco with their twin 3-year-old girls, Carmen and Sanaya.
“Pamela makes me a better a person because where I falter, she helps me do better,” Vernon says. “And she laughs at the same things I do.”
On the first Wednesday of the spring semester in 2006, Ryan Tuomey (’08) sat behind NaShae Menefee (’08) in their geography lab in the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. They had never met before but recognized one another — they were Facebook friends.
“Ryan had spotted me at a new members’ mixer for our sorority and fraternity, Alpha Delta Pi and Lambda Chi Alpha, during the fall semester,” NaShae says, adding that he learned her name from a mutual Facebook friend and sent her a friend request on the social networking website.
“After class that first day, I received a Facebook message from Ryan saying ‘hello.’ We began talking, agreed to be lab partners and exchanged phone numbers,” she says.
During their first date at Hailey’s in Denton, they say that they clicked.
“I knew right away she was for me,” Ryan says.
NaShae says that even though they are both shy, they talked for hours.
A year later, Ryan proposed at a picnic during the Fourth of July fireworks show at UNT near Fouts Field, not far from where they first met. They married after graduation in 2008.
Ryan teaches in Mansfield at a high school career center, while NaShae teaches ninth grade world geography at North Crowley.
“It’s fun to explain that I met my husband in a geography class,” she says.
UNT has become a part of the Tuomeys’ anniversary celebrations. They continue to attend the fireworks shows and are avid Mean Green fans. Ryan says he can’t wait to bring their children to football games and tailgating one day.
“I am so happy I decided to attend UNT,” NaShae says. “If not, I may have missed finding my soul mate.”