In Honor of Valentine's Day, Discovering True Love in the Residence Halls

The Tallmans are just one couple who found true love thanks to campus residence halls and apartments. The avid Cyclone supporters will celebrate their second anniversary this summer.

Somewhere between eight and ten percent of married couples met in college. There’s no research to confirm how many of those couples met in residence halls or campus apartments, but there’s plenty of evidence at Iowa State to show that living on campus is about more than getting good grades and sharing your room. It might just be the best place to meet your future spouse too.


It could be argued that Casey Fangmann, a senior in industrial engineering, and Vera Prisacari, a senior in nutrition science, met online.

“I did not have a date for Valentine’s Day, so I posted a status on my Facebook saying, ‘Anyone looking for a nice dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day, let me know,’” said Fangmann. “I was half kidding, but then Vera actually commented on my status saying that she wanted to. I was extremely nervous, but accepted.”

The pair were floormates for the 2009-10 academic year, but it wasn’t until Fangmann’s humorous Facebook post that the two actually met.

“Even though we lived right across the hallway from each other and I had seen her a number of times, we never actually met until that Valentine’s Day,” said Fangmann.

The first date was a tough one for Fangmann. Aside from the fact that it was his first ever date, Fangmann ran into poor weather on his way back to campus after spending the weekend at home.

“By the time I got back, I was almost 45 minutes late for our date,” said Fangmann.

It wasn’t the first impression Fangmann had hoped for and the outlook only got worse. The couple got stuck at a railroad crossing and after a nice dinner, Prisacari fell asleep while they were watching a movie with friends.

“I thought that meant she was having a terrible time and that she was pretending to sleep so she wouldn’t have to pay attention to me,” said Fangmann.

In spite of his doubts, Fangmann decided to walk his date home and with one move the two began a relationship that would have Prisacari cutting a short a semester in Scotland to make it back for her boyfriend’s birthday.

“I walked Vera to her door, said goodnight, and gave her a hug,” said Fangmann. “It turned out the deciding factor for the whole date was the hug I gave her at the end. She told me afterward the hug I gave her was what created the spark and interest in trying a second date.”

Fangmann and Prisacari will celebrate their three year anniversary on March 1st.


Jesse Thornsen, a community and regional planning major, and Corissa Huigbregtse, an interior design major, may not have officially met in the residence halls, but it was their decision to attend Iowa State and their conveniently located residences that helped ignite the relationship.

“We both knew that we would be going to Iowa State, having a major in the College of Design, and would be living relatively close together our first year,” said Thornsen. “We spent countless hours our freshman year working on our DSN 102 projects together in the Willow den.”

The Wisconsin natives met when a mutual friend realized they were the only two people she knew attending Iowa State.

“The summer before my senior year of high school, Corissa attended Badger Girls State and met a girl named Courtney,” said Thornsen. “A few weeks later, I attended a leadership conference and just so happened to meet a girl named Courtney also. She found out that Corissa and I were both planning on attending Iowa State and thought it would be good to introduce us so we would know someone when we went off to school.”

The two finally met during the spring of their senior year of high school in Milwaukee. They hit it off on their first date, which included a movie, a dinner at Culver’s, and time spent watching Lake Michigan from a bench.

In the spring of 2011, Thornsen and Huibregtse visited London during spring break, where the two got engaged at Westminster Abbey.

Thornsen and Huibregtse will celebrate their fourth anniversary on March 2nd. Their wedding is set for May 26 in Wisconsin.


Not everyone appreciates a late night fire alarm, but Daniel Bush, a religious studies major, and Taylor Atchison, an English education major, certainly do.

“We met by Helser fire alarm,” said Atchison. “It was the courtship party for Helser Richey and Helser Fleming and I had gone with some girls on my floor. After the movie was over, some of the girls were tired so they were heading back to our hall and I was too. I went downstairs to head to bed and right as I got comfortable, the alarm goes off.”

Standing outside in her sock monkey pajama pants, Atchison was introduced to her future fiancé.

“There was Daniel looking handsome and here I am looking like a mess,” said Atchison.

The two stayed up until 2 am talking with a group of friends. A week later, Bush and his floormates officially asked the women of Flemming house to be their sister house. There were root beer floats and games following the house courtship. That’s where Bush and Atchison pushed their relationship a step further.

“This is where I got to be with Taylor for a long time,” said Bush. “Later, she decides to hold my hand. She says it was by accident.”

He’s right. Atchison still claims she never intentionally held Bush’s hand.

They both say their first official date was a dinner at Hickory Park, but admit that they’re first real date was spent walking around Lake LaVerne talking about faith. The pair decided to walk around Lake LaVerne three times without talking and eventually ended up at the Campanile.

“That, of course, means campaniling,” said Atchison.

The date was so memorable the couple repeated it when Bush decided to ask Atchison to marry him. As part of a scavenger hunt, Bush prepared a poem that he placed in his Bible for Atchison asking her to go to Lake LaVerne. A note in a bench by the lake led Atchison to the Campanile, where on a cold and windy night, the pair danced before Bush got on one knee to propose.

Atchison, of course, said yes and the two are still debating the date of their wedding, both insisting it will be on May 31st of a yet undecided year.


Not everyone uses Peanut Butter M&Ms to propose and gets away with it. Of course, not many couples play ISU Fights at their wedding either. But Derick Tallman, a 2006 ISU graduate, and his wife Crystal, a 2007 graduate and Peanut Butter M&M enthusiast, aren’t like everyone. They’re cardinal and gold fanatics.

The couple met at a BUNCO game night at the Frederiksen Court Community Center. Derick, a community advisor, was strongly urged to go by Frederiksen Court Community Manager Mary Beth Golemo. It’s a good thing he did.

“Due to the nature of the game, everyone got to play with most everyone at the event, so it was a great way to meet people, what I would picture speed dating looking like,” said Tallman. “I met Crystal that night and we shared a package of Peanut Butter M&Ms.”

The couple spent some time talking and realized they had some interesting things in common, particularly the fact they had both been community advisors on campus. After creating a number of memories, including Tallman showing up late for their first date thanks to a manual car wash, a trip to New Orleans to clean up following Hurricane Katrina, and Derick showing up as Cy during one of Crystal dietetics classes, Derick decided to make a final commitment.

“We got engaged on April 23, 2009, at the place we met in the Frederiksen Court Community Center,” said Tallman.

Tallman was on campus assisting with an accounting class and called Crystal saying that his car had broken down and he needed her to pick him up. Crystal arrived to pick Derick up and Derick informed her that he needed just a few more minutes to finish up a task he was working on. He encouraged Crystal to come in to the community center and hang out for a bit. After a few minutes, he asked Crystal if she could go buy some M&Ms, having earlier swapped out a bag of M&Ms with a bag he purchased that had a better message than the latter 'm.'

“She went over and purchased a bag of the Peanut Butter M&Ms and after opening them realized the M&Ms were red and yellow with the words “Will You” and “Marry Me?” written on them,” said Tallman.

Crystal, of course, said yes, and the two were married on June 26, 2010 in her hometown of Bloomington Heights, Illinois.