Love at Loyola
"They're married?" Spreading love, one campus couple at a time
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and love is in the air at Loyola.
To celebrate, Loyola magazine recognizes several married couples who both teach and work on campus by sharing their stories, which are both insightful and entertaining and demonstrate the power of love.
Mike Clark and Kate Grubb Clark, ’99, M.A.’07
Mike and Kate Clark have both worked for the University for more than a decade. Kate is currently the University’s director of 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 with the coordination of events and resources and serves as one of the University’s COVID logistics coordinators.
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 he obtained Kate’s email address 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. In 2019, the couple welcomed a son to their family.
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.
Josh Smith and Wendy Chia-Smith
The Smiths both serve on the faculty of the School of Education at Loyola.
The Smiths met at the University of Albany in New York almost 25 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. “We feel very connected to this community,” Josh said.
Dale and Jim Snow
Dale and Jim Snow, who both teach in the philosophy department, have been members of the Loyola community for more than three decades. Dale, an associate professor of philosophy, has been at Loyola for 34 years, while Jim has worked in a number of capacities here for 30 years. With the same last name, many of their students will refer to them as TODS, or “The Other Doctor Snow.”
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
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!”
Charlie works as the associate director of alumni engagement, where he helps to create and manage initiatives to engage Loyola’s 67,000 living alumni through events, giving, service, and connecting with current students. Eileen serves as 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.
Their favorite things about working on the same campus are getting a glimpse of Alumni Memorial Chapel, where they were married in 1997, knowing many of the same people, “tapping the other one for cash when needed,” and returning to where it all began to give back. They were thrilled to welcome the newest Greyhound to their family as their daughter began her first year at Loyola this year.
Kim and Elissa Derrickson
Elissa is the dean of undergraduate and graduate studies. In her role, Elissa serves students as they progress through their programs, and she also oversees and supports the office of academic advising and support, the Study, and Messina. Kim, who is also referred to as “The Other Dr. Derrickson,” is an associate professor of biology in addition to serving as associate vice president for academic budgeting data and governance.
The couple met during graduate 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, earned her bachelor’s degree from Loyola in 2018.
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.
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.”
Ramón Espejo-Saavedra and Ana Gómez Pérez
Meet two professors in the Spanish department who have been with Loyola for more than 20 years. They met at the University of Pennsylvania, where they both earned doctoral degrees in Spanish.
Originally from Madrid, 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. 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 the Evergreen 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.”
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 nearly three decades.
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, associate professor of English. The pair administer the Honors Program (see "Why I'll Always Be Glad I Joined the Honors Program") with the help of Jim Bunzli, associate professor of fine arts, and Bess Garrett, 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.
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.