Calling All Love Birds - Spring 2009 Ivy Leaf Magazine

Ivy Leaf - Spring 2009

Calling All Love Birds

By Shari R. Routch

In our second installment of Alumni Reflection, Ivy Leaf asked our readers to reminiscence about the romantic side of Ivyside Park—specifically how their days on campus not only filled their minds with knowledge, but their hearts with love. Here are some stories from alumni who met their significant others at Penn State Altoona.

Sue (Britcher) Lowther and Jim Lowther (Altoona 1971-73, both)

My husband Jim Lowther and I (then Sue Britcher) met in Ida Ficker’s German I class. I was an art major and Jim was an English major. My sister Nancy and I were staying in the "girls dorm" and Jim was housed at his Grandmother Beher’s home along Juniata Gap Road. It was love at first sight, you might say. After German class, we would often walk over to the Slep Student Center for a game of ping pong or pool. Many times we just would sit and talk over a can of soda.

I was from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and Jim from Voluntown, Connecticut; both being transplants to Altoona, we often had to explore what was available for entertainment. Eating out at Penny’s restaurant or Alaskaland were two exciting things to do for a date. I remember calling the Mishler theatre to find out what movie was showing there, not knowing what kind of theatre it was!

We transferred to University Park our junior year, because at that time our majors required that we do so. Jim and I commuted to University Park our senior year after we were married, and graduated in May of 1975. We were married at the chapel at the Altoona campus during our junior year in August 1974.

I received my B.F.A. in Art (painting) and Jim his B.A. in English (writing option). Jim and I owned Instant Printing Center on Byron Avenue from 1980 until 2007. Jim is the President of ADEPT, Inc., a start-up printing green technology business, and I am employed as the Visual Arts Technologies teacher at the Greater Altoona Career & Technology Center. I am back at Penn State seeking my Vocational II license after thirty years! We are the parents of five grown children, Timothy (wife Kristen; grandchildren Hanlon Grace and Finnegan James), Janessa (husband Harold Travis; both PSU alums), Jeremy (wife Angie), Amy, and Gregory.

Penn State Ivyside will always be dear us! So many wonderful memories stir our hearts as we walk around the campus grounds.


Theresa (Reigh) Martin (Class of 1997) and Bryan Martin (Altoona 1995-97)

Fall Semester 96 was coming to a close as I finished my final exams a week early at Penn State Schuylkill. My sister wanted me to meet a guy she befriended in her business classes at Altoona Campus, so I thought "What the heck, why not!" She decided to have us meet in the computer lab before her last test. She introduced me to Bryan Martin, a 27-year-old adult student with thinning hair and a full beard. Being only 20- years-old, my first impression of him was less than stellar. "Hi dad," I thought in the back of my mind. He checked his watch and noticed it was soon time to begin his shift at the Eiche Library, so I went with him to find out what he did there. I noticed his eyes sparkle with boyish charm as he showed me his favorite section of the library and talked about his favorite authors. At that moment I realized that he was a pretty nice guy and seemed like a lot of fun.

We hung out a couple of times at my sister’s house over the winter break and we both were really beginning to feel a connection. I decided to give him my number and we set our first date for January 9, 1997. I tingled with anticipation—what was it going to be like dating a guy that old? The doorbell rang at my parents’ Bellwood home and I knew it was him. I almost fainted when I opened the door and there he stood completely clean shaven. "Hi, WOW ... you’re HOT!" I blurted. He blushed and we both laughed. It was our first and last date for awhile because I had to return to Schuylkill Haven to start spring semester. Valentine’s Day came and Bryan rented a car and drove the five hour trek to visit me for a weekend. I told my roommates after that weekend that I was going to marry him. They rolled their eyes and called me crazy. How could I know he was "the one" after such a short period of time?

When the semester was over I decided to graduate at Penn State Altoona. I stuck out like a sore thumb at commencement because they only sold blue cap and gowns at the Schuylkill book store, but Bryan liked it because it matched my eyes. We’ve had our ups and downs like most college sweethearts, but we married on October 2, 1999. Our joy was magnified by the birth of our son, Noah, on May 10, 2006. We now reside near Penn State Altoona and when we get the chance, we walk to the campus and recall that fateful day we met.


Joan (Frey) Pore and
N. Arthur Pore (Altoona 1949-1950)

My husband, N. Arthur Pore and I, Joan Frey Pore, met the second or third week of the 1949-1950 school year at AUC in Miss Esh’s Algebra/Trig class. After a few weeks, we began dating and it was love from the beginning.

We have fond memories of classes in the Chemistry Building and in the "Bathhouse." We attended the school dances and a really fun show put on by the faculty. Art was a veteran and roomed at Mrs. Reaney’s house, not far from the campus. I was an Altoonan and lived in Llyswen. We became engaged in June 1950 and married August 21, 1950. We bought a "private trailer" in Windcrest, a facility for married veterans on the Penn State campus behind a "new" girl’s dorm and along College Avenue. We lived there for three-and-a-half years while Art received his B.S. in Meteorology in 1953 and received his master’s in Meteorology in 1954. I received my B.S. in Medical Technology in June 1953. I worked as a graduate assistant and completed ten graduate credits in Bacteriology the first semester in 1953 while Art completed his M.S.

We moved to the Washington, D.C., suburbs and had two daughters. Art worked for the National Weather Service and I was a stay-at-home mom until our girls were in sixth and eighth grades when I taught earth sciences in Montgomery County, Maryland, schools for fourteen-and-a-half years. Art retired and we moved, first for nine years near Leonardtown, Maryland. We wanted to get back to Pennsylvania and moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. We’ve lived there sixteen years. We volunteer many interesting hours at the National Military Park as well as other ways in our community. We will be married fifty-nine years in August 2009. Besides our two daughters, we have five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.


Therese Boyd and Joe Pizarchik (Altoona 1975-77, both)

We met our freshman year, fall term 1975, in Slep [student center]. Since we both lived off campus, we had no dorm rooms to go to. I was waiting for Stage Revue practice, and he was waiting for his evening Russian class. We were the only two people in the room and started talking. It turned out we already knew a lot of the same people—with only 1,700 people on campus, that was no surprise. We didn’t become a couple for over a year, but we were together so much that people were always asking if we were dating or were related or went to the same high school, in that order. Once we did start dating, in December 1976, no one believed us because we’d denied it for so long. Sophomore year Joe was SGA treasurer and the first Altoona Cougar, I was the literary magazine editor, and we ran Spring Week together. We married in 1985, after Joe finished law school. He’s now DEP bureau director for Mining and Reclamation and I’m a freelance writer and editor.


Sue Adams and Will Ertle (Altoona 2001-03, both)

We both had dreams of going to Penn State [University Park campus] but both ended up at Penn State Altoona first. During our sophomore year of college, we met at Will’s fraternity, Sigma Pi. At the time, my roommate, Sarah, was dating one of his fraternity brothers, Brooklyn, so I tagged along to their first party of the year on Sept 5, 2002. That night, I was introduced to many of the brothers that were at the house that night, one of them being Will.

As the night went on, I hung out with my roommate since I didn’t know many people. Will came by to check on me to make sure I was enjoying myself. Later that night, we got to talking out on their front porch and found we had a lot in common (same major, both dating people from back home, etc.). We talked and talked and before I knew it the party had ended. My roommate had come out looking for me because she was ready to go home and the party was over. I went home that night thinking, I’ve found a new great guy friend.

As time went on, Will and I grew closer and became best friends. We ended up taking classes together and I later joined Gamma Phi Beta so we started hanging out every night since we had the same circle of friends. Before long I realized that Will was more than my best friend and we began dating. We graduated in 2005 from the Smeal College of Business at the University Park campus; Will was an economics major and I was a marketing major. We’ve been together ever since and are planning an October 2009 wedding on Cape Cod!