Alumni Love Stories

Stories of Love Inspired by USF Alumni

by Illustrations by Jady Ojiri, Office of Development Communications

We asked our alumni to share their USF love stories. Here are their stories of love, support, and everything in between.

Jan Keating '76 and Mike Keating '76

The USF love story I share is my own.

In September 1972, I was an excited freshman opening my mailbox in Gillson Hall when the elevator opened behind me, and out walked this very handsome long-haired mustached guy. As my heart skipped a beat, I thought to myself how out of character it was for me to fall for this “bad boy” looking guy. Little did I know that five years later we would begin a married life that would take us to Los Angeles and include 35 years in public education, raising two amazing children who both graduated from USF, and eventually retiring in Seattle.

Illustration of Jan Keating '76 and Mike Keating '76 meeting for the first time, as told in Alumni Love story series
That handsome “bad boy” who dedicated his life to inner-city youth in Los Angeles, lived the creed set in motion at USF; to leave this world a better place. Just one year after retirement, Mike Keating was diagnosed with terminal cancer but continued to live life as a true model of humility, kindness, and gratitude. He would be the first to tell anyone how impactful those four years at USF were for him and why he encouraged his own children to attend.

Our love story began at USF, and the experiences we had both in and out of the classroom impacted so many of our personal and professional decisions. I can’t help but think that in 1972 as I checked my mailbox, USF created the beginning of a love that keeps on giving.

I write this story on the heels of visiting Mike's former roommate at USF. The friends we made at USF remained our closest friends. They have seen me through my most joyous moments and my moments of great loss. Aside from that "bad boy", my friendships are my greatest gifts of those four years. USF defined us in so many ways, and I am witnessing a new generation (my son and daughter) who have also chosen the path of service to others.

With gratitude in my heart,

- Jan Keating

Jules Henderson '08, MA '18 and Megan Henderson '11

 Megan and I first met during rehearsals for USF’s 2008 production of Eve Ensler’s play, The Vagina Monologues. We both participated in that production every year as undergraduates, and I returned for the 2009 production the year after I graduated from USF to join her and our cast one more time. We raised around $8,000 that year from our performances at Presentation Theatre, which was distributed to women’s organizations in San Francisco.

We began dating that spring semester of 2009, and it was pure bliss. Even though I had already come out during my sophomore year of high school at Woodside Priory in Portola Valley, California, my parents found it very difficult to be accepting of my sexual orientation. Megan and I parted ways after a few months of dating, but we stayed in touch for ten years before reconnecting in January of 2019.

two red hearts

When true love surfaces in your life, it is unmistakable. It challenges you to take risks you never imagined you’d be capable of taking. Within a year, Megan and I romanced our way to marriage on December 7, 2019, and held a small ceremony at a sacred labyrinth in Portola Valley with our families. I am thrilled to say on this day in early 2021, Megan is now my parents’ favorite daughter (and they have many).

 Megan and I also now serve as inaugural members of USFCA's new Pride Alumni Association. We are proud to remain active and engaged community members, and we look forward to contributing to USF’s culture of innovation, equity, and inclusion.

- Jules Henderson

Sal Torres JD '88 and Leslie Torres '88

When I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 1985, I came with one goal in mind: to get a law degree. USF School of Law beckoned. Like other struggling students of the time, however, my financial constraints meant I needed to find a way to pay for housing and other costs that my loans could not cover. I needed something on campus, so I secured a job as a Student Service Officer (“SSO”) working with USF Campus Police. I sat in a kiosk and could study with the occasional interruption required to hand out parking permits to fans attending a basketball game at Memorial Gym or who needed to eat at the ol’ Green & Gold.

It was not long before I knew all of the other SSOs; well, almost all. My fellow SSOs kept telling me, “you have to meet Leslie!”.  Every shift, the question was asked, “have you met Leslie, yet?”  It was as if this was a dare. I figured it would be easy to find the elusive Leslie since there were only two places she could be on campus while working: the kiosk by the Memorial Gym or the kiosk by Lone Mountain.

graphic of a man waving at a woman
Finding Leslie soon became a daily search on my way home, up on Lone Mountain, from class. Instead of climbing the 142 steps up to Lone Mountain, though, I walked up the car path. Many suns had to set before one particular day I left class early, walked up that drive, and peeked into the other kiosk. There was a stunningly beautiful brunette handing out a parking pass to a student. She was wearing a red sweater and red plaid pants to match. Her beauty took my breath away. In that instant, I realized why so many asked if I had met Leslie. I walked up to the kiosk, swung open the door, and, with an outstretched hand, simply said, “Hi, I’m Sal Torres!”

Not long after, we struck up a friendship and continued that friendship over the next two years. We had our respective significant others, but neither of us was writing home about them. With time, friendship was starting to blossom into a deeper relationship but it needed a nudge which was to come later that year.

Leslie and I graduated on the same weekend in May 1988. After graduation, Lone Mountain library was where we both studied for our Nursing Board test and the California Bar exam. Perhaps this is why Lone Mountain will always hold a special place in our hearts. We met there; I lived there; we studied there; and, now, we pay our daughter’s tuition there.

Over a quiet dinner, overlooking the Bay at Julius’ Castle, I fell to one knee, read her a poem, dropped a ring in her champagne glass, and asked her to walk with me forever as my wife.

She said yes.

Looking back over the last 31 years of our marriage, USF holds such a special place in our wedded life and in our family.

USF was the birth of our love life together, our collective story of happiness and hope.

- Sal Torres   

Jo Ann de la Torre Cahill '66 and John Cahill '66

Collection of hearts
We met in 1963 which was the second semester of our freshman year. I’m not sure if they do these anymore, but we were at a poster party for a guy running to be head yell leader. He won, by the way.

For one of us, it was love at first sight... although we won’t say which one of us!

We were together until we got married in August of 1966. Our USF friends were in our wedding party and they continue to stay very close.

Fun fact: As a result of our marriage, My (Jo Ann’s) mother, a widow, and John’s father, who became a widower later in life, were married together in 1970, making me and John step-siblings. Mom and Dad celebrated 29 years of marriage and we will celebrate 55 years in 2021.

- Jo Ann de la Torre Cahill    

Eva Alminiana Monroe '72 and Mike Monroe '70

Honestly, I met Mike Monroe’s shirts before I met the man who was to become the love of my life. The year was 1968 and my new home for my freshman year at USF was Gilson Hall, the dorm hall with the reputation for housing the most fun girls. Mike had struck a deal with one of those fun girls, my freshman roommate, to iron his shirts. Desperate for a clean shirt from the girl who never touched an iron, much less knew how to use one, he coerced me into sending down an ironed shirt in the elevator. Eventually, I saw my “shirt” on campus and the rest, as they say, is history…

Graphic of a woman holding a shirt
It wasn’t love at first sight. He was way too short and quiet for my dating criteria and he had never met, much less dated, a feisty brown girl. My girlfriends and I were often invited to the Phi Alpha/SAE parties at the various apartments around campus. Back in the day, this was the weekend destination for fun. It was at a Saturday night SAE party that a spark finally flew between the non-shy girl from Watsonville and the seriously shy boy from Salinas.

By the Spring of my sophomore year, we were a campus couple. He hung out at the Gilson desk when I was working as a desk clerk. Mrs. Ella Cooper (our beehived hairdo with the skunk stripe) Dorm Matron approved of Mike as he brought his term papers for me to mangle on my IBM Selectric typewriter. We grew closer in love and by Christmas, we realized, we were choosing each other for life. Spring of 1970 was a significant year in our lives. Mike became a new USF Graduate, he was heading for the Navy Reserves in San Diego that Fall, and we were engaged.

My Senior year was filled with the anticipation of graduation, a raucous dorm life in Phelan (now Toler) Hall as the first female RA, and the thrill of daily love letters from my sailor in San Diego. We lived in a dream that last year in college, while all around me, USF became my life and safe haven in many ways. Our wedding on July 2, 1972, was a gaggle of beautiful bridesmaids and handsome groomsmen from those halcyon days. My years with this shy boy from Salinas are filled, still, with love and devotion to one another, our two sons, and their families. We count our blessings with each year swiftly passing by. Today, I can fondly look back on my years at USF, starting as a desk clerk, followed by Resident Assistant, various seats on University Councils and Boards over time, and know that Mike Monroe has always stood by my side as my support, the boy, the man, the wise counsel of many years, beginning at the Hilltop. I wish I still had that shirt that started it all.

- Eva Alminiana Monroe

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