1990s

Evan Childs '98 and Janna DiBartolo Childs '04

Though they attended Montclair State years apart from one another, it was their mutual common ground (being Montclair State Alumni) that sparked their friendship and relationship. Janna and Evan met in 2004 as colleagues, working for New Jersey Network in Trenton, NJ. Their careers in marketing and advertising have since brought us to Washington, DC and now back to New Jersey where we currently reside (again).


Ung Family Barbara Poland Ung '97 and Howard Ung '97

Howard and Barbara first met in October of 1995. He was running for Homecoming King and their Greek organizations Tau Kappa Epsilon and Delta Phi Epsilon did Homecoming together. The couple got engaged on Memorial Day in 1998 and were married at the Bridgewater Manor in 2000. They consider themselves to be very lucky that they both attended Montclair State and found each other. Barbara and Howard welcomed their son, Thomas, in the spring of 2004 and hope he will become a second generation Montclair State graduate!


James "Jim" Bratek '94 and Tara Malooly Bratek '93

James and Tara met while waiting on line at a popular college bar in West Orange, just a few miles away from campus. Each with their group of friends, a simple ‘hi’ set their love story in motion.

“Tara thought I looked handsome, but we didn't see each other again for some time after that night,” says Jim.

The two didn’t see each other again until a fateful night at the Clove Road apartments. While hanging out around the apartments, Tara and her friends were making plans for the evening. Jim and his friends just happened to be walking by, and were invited along for the night.

The couple admits that there was a ‘silent love connection’ between them, and credit goes to Tara’s roommate at the time for setting things into motion. After the weekend at the Clove Road apartments, Jim spoke to Tara’s roommate, who then ran home to tell Tara. From there, they went on their first date at the Montclair State Carnival that was held in the Clove Road parking lot at the time.

The two married in 1994 and will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary this June. The couple has a son, Dylan, who is 6 years old.


When Gina Lamanna Scardino ’98 and Anthony Scardino ’97 first met through Anthony’s sister, Anny, they found out they had a lot in common. They were both adult undergrads that were returning to Montclair State to finish their degrees. They were both from Lyndhurst, New Jersey, but didn't know each other personally because they had gone to different schools. In addition to these similarities, they have the same birth date!

According to Gina, Anny “thought we would be the “perfect couple” and she set us up to meet one evening.” After they realized all they had in common, “we immediately hit it off,” she says.

Gina majored in Business Administration and Anthony majored in Political Science. After he graduated, Anthony went on to earn a master’s degree in Public Policy from Pepperdine University. Years later, he went on to earn a PhD from Antioch University.

“We reunited and married on November 11, 2000, and have two daughters, along with my son from a previous marriage, and now, a beautiful granddaughter,” Gina says.


Matt Horutz '98 and Tara Keating Horutz '99

While attending Montclair State University from fall '94 to fall '98, Matt Horutz was the Music Director and on-air DJ at 90.3 WMSC, the University's radio station. One afternoon during his show, the Program Director came to him and said that she was pairing him with a new apprentice for a few weeks to start the spring semester. Matt moaned and groaned (half-kidding) for a few seconds because having an apprentice was a slight distraction and meant slowing down the show a little bit. Then the Program Director mentioned  that the apprentice was a really pretty girl. He paused for second and said, "Oh, ok I guess it would be cool if you pair us up." The Program Director then said the girl's name was Tara Keating and that she would start on Matt's show the following week. Just before his show started began the next week, a young woman came into the station and introduced herself as Tara Keating, the new apprentice. 

They started talking during the show and realized that they had a lot of similar musical interests. The pair instantly hit it off and became friends. Over the next few weeks, Matt and Tara started trading mix (cassette) tapes and spending more time together outside the studio. After a few weeks apprenticing on Matt's show, Tara took her on-air test to become a DJ and landed her own show. They would do guest spots on each other's shows and Matt got Tara to join the Music Department at the station.

They remained friends for a year, then decided to take their relationship to the next level at the start of the Spring '98 semester. Tara and Matt started dating in February '98 and have been together ever since. He graduated in Fall '98 and she graduated in Spring '99, but they both walked in the Spring '99 ceremony. The couple married in November 2004 and had a baby girl named Annie in May 2007. Every May, Matt and Tara return to Montclair State to do their radio show for WMSC's Alumni Week. They are so happy that the station does Alumni Week and look forward to it every year. In 2010, they brought our daughter Annie to see WMSC to show her where they met.


Maryellen Cerkanowicz Perone '91 and Nicholas Perone '90

Friends brought Maryellen and Nicholas together. It was 1988 and the two were part of a large group of friends on campus. One night, a drive-in movie was shown in the parking lot beside the Clove Road Apartments. It cost ten dollars per car, so they packed as many students as they could possibly fit into Nicholas’ 1965 Oldsmobile, a boat of a car. Maryellen says she can’t even remember which movie was playing that night; the entire group of students just socialized in the parking lot that night.

Memories like this were what made their college days together special. The couple broke up during Maryellen’s senior year, but alumni reunions at Bar Anticipation in Belmar, NJ brought them back together. They were married during the summer of 1994 and are now the parents of a son and a daughter.