Photo of University Hall
Alumni News

MSUnions: Montclair State Sweetheart Couples

The 2016 edition

Posted in: Alumni News and Events

Feature image for MSUnions: Montclair State Sweetheart Couples

All kinds of relationships are built in college. Professional relationships, friendships and mentorships can all result from time well spent at Montclair State University. For some students, another type of relationship develops amid the bustle of collegiate life: romance. For these couples, love blossomed right here at Montclair State. Every pair has a unique story. Read on to find out more about each of these couples who’ve found true love at Montclair State!

David Lalla ’01 and Latasha Casterlow-Lalla ’03 met when Al Gore visited Montclair State in September 1996. They became close friends as they got to know each other over the next few months, discovering that they shared, among many things, very similar tastes in music.

When Latasha broke up with her then boyfriend, also a friend of David’s, she was touched by David’s supportiveness and sensitivity. In the summer of 1999, David was at home when his grandmother called to him because she wanted him to see a beautiful young lady on the Montel Williams Show. His grandmother pointed at the television and told him that she was a young lady he should date.

The young lady was Latasha. David instantly recognized his old friend and decided to find her when the fall semester started. He first reached out to friend of Latasha, who advised him to not bother her as she had just broken up with someone. David decided to ignore the advice and gave her a call.

Their first date lasted for 9 hours. They went shopping, saw the movie Blue Streak, ate at Steak & Ale, played pool and finally ended up at the old Pathmark on Rt. 46. The couple have been together ever since. David proposed to Latasha on December 24, 2002 and they married on July 18, 2004. The couple has three children: two daughters and a son. Approaching their 10th anniversary this July, the pair say they are grateful for their time at Montclair State, which brought them together, helped them find their soul mates and forever changed their lives.

Wendy Iannotti Whipple ’77 and Bruce Whipple ’76 met while both were living at Chapin Hall, but they bonded over their passion for environmentalism and sustainability. Bothe were very active in the Conservation Club and they have wonderful memories of participating in the group’s many activities and trips, including backpacking on Mount Washington and moving and reconstructing a log cabin in Ontario, Canada.

Their passion for all things environmental has never waned. Married more than 35 years, they live in a home they built that uses passive solar energy and is highly insulated. “It was important to us that we use minimum natural resources,” says Wendy. They had the opportunity to sail several times on the Clearwater, a boat that the late folksinger and activist Pete Seeger built to spread his environmental message, which was captained by Albert Nejmeh ’76, a friend from their Conservation Club days. Wendy is a high school librarian in Suffolk County and Bruce works as a middle school technology teacher. “My preparation at Montclair State was top notch,” says Wendy.

Their connection to Montclair State grew even stronger when their daughter Molly enrolled. A 2015 graduate, Molly was a member of the Red Hawk Women’s Soccer team. “We loved coming back to campus for her games,” says Bruce. Their two best friends in college, Robert Peschel ’77 and Susan Ewart Peschel ’77, married each other and the couples remain close to this day.

Scott Lefkowitz ’11 proposed to his now fiance, Catherine Aramini ’11, on campus in December 2015 in the classroom where they first met seven years earlier as students. Scott worked with the Office of Alumni Relations and MSUPD to pull off the surprise. Friends joined in on the fun, and the couple donned ugly holiday sweaters’ for the engagement and subsequent photo shoot, as they were headed to a party afterwards.

Are you a sweetheart couple? Send us your story, photos and information at or take our survey! To read about more MSUnions, visit our website. To make a gift in honor of your sweetheart, use our online giving form!