Update: Loyola is continuing online learning for the fall semester and looking forward to reopening its campuses in January. Find more information on Loyola's coronavirus website.

Campus couples

"They're married?" Spreading love, one Loyola couple at a time

It’s Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air at Loyola.

To celebrate the holiday, Loyola magazine recognizes several married couples who both teach and work on campus by sharing their experiences. Their stories are both insightful and entertaining and demonstrate the power of love.

Mike Clark and Kate Grubb Clark, ’99, M.A.’07

This upcoming Maryland Day at Loyola, when employees are honored for milestone work anniversaries, Mike and Kate Clark will both be celebrating their 10-year milestone of working for the University. Kate currently works in external affairs, where she assists the President’s Office with the Board of Trustees and works with government and community relations. Mike is the assistant manager of event services, where he helps with reservations on campus for different clubs and organizations. He also helps approach the coordination of events and resources.

Mike and Kate Clark together at an Orioles press conference table.

The couple first met at a Super Bowl party in 2000, when Kate’s best friend was dating one of Mike’s radio interns. They were friends at first, but both say they knew “there was some kind of spark.” After receiving Kate’s email through an email distribution list, Mike reached out and asked to hang out whenever Kate was in the Baltimore area. They began talking and started dating afterwards, eventually marrying in Loyola’s Alumni Memorial Chapel in 2007. When asked about the best part of working with her spouse, Kate jokingly responded, “that we don’t see each other.” Due to their work locations and different schedules, it’s difficult for them to meet up during the day, but they both like how their jobs allow them to interact with one another. Mike also likes how they are a part of the same community and have similar work friends.

Kim and Elissa Derrickson

Elissa is the dean of undergraduate and graduate studies, and Kim serves as chair of the biology department. In her role, Elissa serves students as they progress through their programs, and she also oversees and supports the class deans, academic advising, the Study, and Messina. Kim, who is also referred to as “The Other Dr. Derrickson,” is the face of the biology department to the rest of the University. As chair, he handles enrollment management, the staffing of courses, the equitable treatment of faculty, and the department budget. The couple met during grad school at the University of Pennsylvania, which had a large impact on their “approaches to biology and education as a whole.” Both Kim and Elissa enjoy the outdoors, traveling, bird watching, photography, and eating at good restaurants. Their daughter, Zoe, is a current senior at Loyola, and they enjoy seeing one another on campus.

Josh Smith and Wendy Chia-Smith

Josh Smith and Wendy Chia-Smith both work on the Evergreen campus and live less than a mile away, making for an easy daily commute. Josh is the dean of the School of Education at Loyola, where he works with the education leadership team to set the vision for the school and help prepare urban educators, counselors, and leaders. Wendy is an educator in residence, and is helping to expand the technology services in the teacher education program. She also teaches each semester, where she loves making a difference and learning something new with each class.

The Smiths met at the University of Albany in New York 22 years ago, where they were both obtaining graduate degrees. They shared an advisor and began working together on a research project and presentation. They agree that the best part of working with their spouse is the opportunity to stop by each other’s offices, have lunch together, and attend various University events together. By living so close to Loyola, they also enjoy going out to eat at places like Miss Shirley’s Diner and Alonso’s. Josh is very happy with the commute and proximity to campus and said, “We feel very connected to this community.”

Dale and Jim Snow

Dale and Jim Snow, who both teach in the philosophy department, have been working at Loyola for many years. Dale, an associate professor of philosophy, has been at Loyola for 31 years, while Jim has worked in a number of capacities here for 27 years. With the same last name, many of their students will refer to them as TODS, or “The Other Doctor Snow.”

Dale and Jim Snow sit together on a motorcycle.

They grew up in the same small town in Appalachia and went to the same middle school and high school in the 1960s. They didn’t hang out in the same social groups, however, and finally met in 1983 while teaching symbolic logic at a large state university. When asked about the best parts of working together, they mention shared research interests and having co-authored many research articles and book chapters. The Snows summed up their teaching experiences: “It has been a joy to work with many students who have taken classes from both of us. And when we tell work-related stories at dinner, it is not necessary to provide background information; we know the entire cast!”

Charlie Hiebler, ’95, and Eileen Simonson Hiebler, ’95

Charlie and Eileen see themselves as the “bookends” of Loyola. Charlie works as the associate director of undergraduate constituent engagement, where he helps to create and manage initiatives to engage alumni, parents, students, and high school counselors in the recruitment and enrollment of new students. Eileen serves as the associate director of career connections, where she manages the Career Center’s connection team to link students with employers, companies, and organizations for their careers after Loyola.

Charlie and Eileen sit in the pews wearing in their wedding clothes.

It all comes full circle for the couple, who even met on their first day of college in McGuire Hall in 1991. Eileen knew Charlie’s roommate, Dan, and they were introduced at the opening convocation ceremony. As they both like to say, “The rest is history!” Their favorite things about working on the same campus are getting a glimpse of the Alumni Chapel, where they were married in 1997, knowing many of the same people, “tapping into the other one for cash when needed,” and returning to where it all began to give back.

Jim Dickinson, ’01, and Megan Linz Dickinson, ’01

Jim and Megan, both members of Loyola’s Class of 2001, started dating their senior year of college when both lived in present-day Lange Court. Today they work on campus and enjoy having the opportunity to give back to the community.

Jim and Megan Dickinson hug each other in a sunlight field.

As assistant vice president for career services, Jim’s role includes setting strategy for and overseeing the Career Center, while also building partnerships and initiatives to engage with faculty, alumni, and companies around career preparation for all students. Megan serves as the assistant director of Campus Ministry, where she oversees the intern program, the Ignite Retreat, and all marketing and communications for the office’s diverse programs. Loyola holds a special place in their hearts, as Megan’s bridal party got ready in Campus Ministry for their wedding reception due to a torrential downpour. They even believe that their daughter will work at Loyola one day, as she’s been able to recognize the school motto and name since she was 2 years old. Both Jim and Megan appreciate the fact that there’s overlap with their jobs. “Loyola is part of our family life,” Megan says, “and we can talk about work in ways that we understand and bounce ideas off of each other.”

Scott Sax and Allie Pearlman Sax

Married couples tend to meet in interesting ways, and one couple who aren’t strangers to this fact are Scott and Allie Sax. When asked how the two met, they simply said, “Match.com gave us the introduction. AOL instant messenger created the conversation.” Scott had an account on Match.com and saw that Allie “winked” at him. As he was not paying for the account, he tried Allie’s Match.com name on AOL Instant Messenger and it worked. They began to talk and things went from there.

Scott and Allie Sax wearing glasses on an outdoor adventure.

Today Scott works as the associate director in the project management office for the office of technology services, where he manages technology projects and assists in managing the technology project portfolio and the new technology project proposal process. Allie is the assistant director of career exploration in the Career Center, where she works with students to help assess where they are in the career process and understand their values and skills when it comes time to explore career options. They both enjoy many different aspects of working together at Loyola, including sharing a similar group of friends and colleagues, randomly seeing each other unplanned on campus, and having the same time off with holiday schedules to plan for vacations and getaways with their kids!

Ramón Espejo-Saavedra and Ana Gómez Pérez

Meet two professors in the Spanish department who have been with Loyola for 20 years. They met at the University of Pennsylvania, where they both earned doctoral degrees in Spanish. Ana is an associate professor of Spanish in the department of modern languages and literatures, where she teaches all levels of Spanish, from core classes to upper-level literature and culture classes. She also currently serves as the chair of the department and is responsible for everything from hiring to scheduling classes and evaluating faculty. Ramón is a professor of Spanish and also teaches all levels, including core classes, conversation and composition, in addition to courses on Spanish literature and culture. Since they both teach on campus, Ana and Ramón appreciate being able to consult with one another about everything from classroom pedagogy to administrative responsibilities. They know the same people, share many memories, and “feel right at home at Loyola.”

Ana and Ramon at their wedding feast.

Joe Walsh and Gayla McGlamery

We can all agree that sometimes couples have varying stories about how they met. This would include Joe Walsh and Gayla McGlamery, who have both worked at Loyola for almost 30 years. When asked about how the two met, Joe said, “We met in our orientation class as new faculty members, but she didn’t remember me.” Gayla insists there are two stories here. “We agree that we met in new faculty orientation,” she says. “I say I did remember him, but I thought he was married, so I wasn’t very responsive to his chat.”

Today Joe is a professor of Classics and also co-directs the Honors Program with Gayla, who teaches English. The pair administer the Honors Program with the help of Jim Bunzli, associate professor of fine arts, and Patty Ingram, program assistant for the Center for the Humanities. By working together at Loyola, both Joe and Gayla appreciate their ability to share ideas and challenges and to have someone by their side who understands what they are talking about from the inside out. They also get to share lunch together on most days, which they enjoy.

Joe and Gayla sitting on the couch with their new child.

There’s something special about getting to work on the same college campus as your spouse. From the lunch hours and time in the Starbucks line, to the memories of students and colleagues, few things compare to sharing a work life and being members of the same close-knit community.

Thank you to all of these wonderful couples for taking the time to speak about their experiences together at Loyola.

Photos courtesy of each campus couple.