We thought it would be fun to take our Grads @ Work campaign in a new direction for Valentine’s Day and ask our alums about finding their true love here on campus. We got several entries, but none quite as colorful – or sweet – as the one from Tommy Covington, who graduated in 1992 with a B.A. in criminology.
Tommy met his bride, Stacey, in class. They now have two children (one who will be headed to UALR soon, we hope!) and will be starting the 6th campus of First Assembly of God in March (lrfirst.com). But that’s really getting ahead of ourselves. So we’ll let Tommy tell the rest, from the beginning:
I played baseball for Westark, was injured, came home to UALR, and my life changed forever. I was very hurt, confused and taking classes to graduate but was very uncertain about my future. I decided to take a Criminal Justice class because it sounded interesting, even though it was early in the morning and the rest of my classes were at night because I was now working my way through college.
It was like a scene out of a movie. There she was, my dream girl. The most beautiful girl I had ever seen. She had huge blonde bangs cascading off of her forehead (that was cool back in 1987), a gorgeous smile, and she drove a Corvette. What more could a 19-year-old want?
As mom was ironing my shirt (shut up – you would still have your mom iron your shirt if you could) I began to tell her about this perfect specimen I had discovered in Criminal Justice I. I calmly told mom that I was going to ask her to marry me.
“Have you ever talked to her”, she asked.
“Nope. But today is the day,” I said calmly.
On my way to class my palms were sweaty, and to be plain honest my knees were weak. I perused the room and she was nowhere to be found (you could spot those bangs a mile away).
I ventured all the way to the front and took my seat. Our professor began role-playing a case scenario and his eyes locked with mine.
At this moment all of time stood still. He carried on his dissertation but he might as well have been Charlie Brown’s teacher, “wa wa wa” seem to beat like a distant drum muffling his every word.
I had to look. It couldn’t be, could it? No way! Just a mere coincidence. My comment to mom about marriage and then this. I began to sweat. “Do it, Tommy,” rang inside my head. As I began my cool turn to gaze into my future brides eyes all I could see were bangs. There she was. The girl I had seen at a distance for several days sat right behind me.
The girl I told my mom about was that very girl, and her name was Stacey. That’s all it took. After class, we talked, she skipped her first class ever in her life, and our life together began.
I found out later that she had indeed been moving closer to my seat as well in hopes that we would talk. The class was a very “random” choice for her as well since she was an Accounting major that just needed an extra class toward graduation. I did end up majoring in Criminology, so the class wasn’t as much of a random choice as I thought, for more than one reason.
That day was Feb. 4, 1988. We were engaged on Sept. 28, 1990, and married on July 20, 1991. We have been through many life changes, including leaving the corporate world of UPS after 12 years to enter full-time ministry, four back surgeries, two amazing children, four moves and finally a move back home to Little Rock to start a new church in our hometown only 5 miles from UALR, where it all began.
Almost 22 years of marriage all began because our professor had that special knack for getting us involved. Little did he know…