Thursday, July 2, 2020

First encounters: Stories about how MSU alumni couples first met

February 13, 2020

Michigan State has been a matchmaker from the start. 

Whether in a classroom, at a party or any other time and place on campus, every Spartan couple has a story about how they met. 

Here are a few: 

Bill and Janet Foster — Class of 1994


“She comes rolling in with her beautiful hair and what not ... she says, ‘Is anybody sitting here?’”

This was the first time Bill Foster heard the voice of his wife, Janet. 

After she sat next to him during their lab in the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Bill said they began to discuss their thoughts on creation and evolution while studying the 10 layers of the retina.

“Wow, she’s pretty and smart,” Bill said he remembered thinking.


Janet said she thought he was easy to talk to.

“I just really felt like we had a connection,” she said.

The two said it was almost impossible not to see each other, since everyone was required to take the same classes.

“When you have (similar) struggles, you bond,” Janet said.

Bill and Janet said they've applied what they learned from bonding over their college struggles not only to being husband and wife, but to being partners at Fries Veterinary Clinic

Drew Davis and Morgan Vinstra — Class of 2019


Imagine going to MSU and dating Sparty. For Morgan Vinstra, this was her reality. 

The former MSU cheerleader walked up to Sparty during the MSU vs. Indiana football game in 2016 to ask for a picture. However, she wasn’t doing it for Sparty — it was for the guy in the costume she thought was cute. 

“I did not take it as flirting at all, because everyone asks that question,” said Drew Davis, who was Sparty at the time.

In the days that followed, they started talking more. And after a couple of weeks, Vinstra was going to Davis’ hayride.

“We ended up hanging out all night,” Vinstra said. “We stayed up until 5 a.m. just telling each other our entire life stories.”

“We went from not knowing each other to knowing each other very well very quickly,” Davis said.

As sophomore year turned into senior year, the couple said they grew closer together by managing their respective roles as cheerleader and mascot. 

“Time management became a huge part of it,” Davis said. “Just, finding time, making time. Always putting each other as a priority.”

Vinstra is now in graduate school completing an internship, and Davis works in sales. They said they miss East Lansing and look back on their time there with fond memories of each other.


“He’s my best friend, and we’ve come a long way since that IU football game,” Vinstra said.

Marc and Elizabeth Kalina — Class of 2007


Living in a residential college — like Marc and Elizabeth Kalina did their freshman year in James Madison College — guarantees that students will "make new connections and fast friendships that will last a lifetime," according to the MSU admissions website

For the Kalinas, this is true. 

“I met Marc because he was the roommate of my ex-boyfriend who was the only person I knew there,” Elizabeth said.

They initially were friends, but over time their relationship grew to be more. 

“There eventually became a point where she was coming over to see me and not my roommate,” Marc said. “We were friends for a while, and then we were dating and then — I don’t know — we’re married.”

During their time as students at MSU, the Kalinas traveled. They studied abroad in Thailand after their sophomore year, and went back the next year to do an internship.

“Travel together,” Marc said, as advice to current MSU couples.

Today, they live and work in South Africa while raising two children.

Joe and Kim Bolton — Class of 1995


During their freshman year, Joe and Kim Bolton both worked for The Office of Supportive Services, or OSS, at MSU. Joe worked at Hubbard Hall, while Kim worked at Shaw.

They met at an icebreaker event for work.

“She just kind of caught my eye, and I made it my mission in life to learn all about her,” Joe said.

Kim said Joe took her to Olga’s Kitchen for their first date.

She said they officially started dating at the beginning of their sophomore year and were married after graduation.

“We’ll be married 24 years in August,” Kim said.

Their journey has recently brought them back to Michigan after living in Louisiana.

“We feel really fortunate to be so close to the university,” Kim said. “Every time I go, I feel a little spark — especially when I go along the Red Cedar or near Shaw or Hubbard. Just knowing that my life changed right there."


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