Montclair State Sweethearts

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 sixteen couples, love blossomed right here at Montclair State. Every pair has a unique story, from serving on the same disciplinary committee to bonding over a preserved shark embryo! Read on to find out more about each of these couples who've found true love at Montclair State!

Jeff Campo ’83 & Diane Hofmeister-Campo ’83 met their freshman year as accounting majors. Staying in contact throughout the four years, something stopped Jeff from making his move right away. “I didn’t have the nerve to ask her out until about a month after graduation”, Jeff recalls.

During their time at Montclair State, the two became close friends. “We got to know each other through classes, really”, says Jeff. “Outside of the classroom, we’d see each other out at the local clubs and bars. We had a lot of fun.”

Both commuter students, Jeff notes that Montclair State was “a great solution”, adding, “We were not prepared to live on campus. The professors were great, and we both loved the campus. Back then, the Rathskeller had pizza and beer nights. It was a blast.”

After six months of dating, Jeff popped the question. About a year and a half after graduating, the couple was married. Jeff now works at Montclair State as the Director, Foundation Finance and Accounting. He and Diane attended Homecoming on October 13. “Homecoming was terrific. The accounting Department gathering, the tailgate, the student showcase – we loved all of it. We’ve been to other schools' Homecomings, and this was by far the best we’ve seen.”

Jeff and Diane are not the only sweetheart couples in the family – his brother and sister-in-law, Bob ’81 and Lynn ’84 Campo also met here at Montclair State, along with his parents, Bob ’57, ’71 MA and Mary-Jo ’58 Campo. Finding love at Montclair State runs in the family!

William ’49, ’53 MA and Elinore ’51 Todt went together all four years. Think that’s impressive? They’ve been married for 61 years! The pair met in the Fall of 1947. Elly, two years Bill’s junior, graduated on a Thursday, and married Bill the following Saturday. 

“His first gift to me was a cookbook. Being an English major, I thought, 'wow, this guy is really romantic, giving me a book of poetry'. Well, it turned out to be a cookbook, which I still have and have never used!”
 Bill was a returning veteran, as many of the students were at the time. He is a member of the undefeated 1947 Football Team. He received his undergraduate degree in Math, and his graduate degree in Education.

 Their story, as they tell it, goes something like this. Elly, along with all the other girls, used to “check out” the football players. “I was always checking him out and watching him," she giggles.

“I went up to one of the other guys on the team, and said, “You should tell Bill to call me!”

And so he did. And when he did, he asked her, "What do you want?”

Both had splendid careers in education and followed the teachings of their inspirational professors who urged them to become “the best teachers in New Jersey”. They raised three beautiful daughters and have five grandchildren, one of whom is a teacher in Chicago. After 61 years, they are still going around the world, having visited all of the continents and all but two states in the US - Oklahoma and Arkansas.

“Montclair, in those days, was small and intimate and we truly loved our school in that Montclair town.” They enjoyed their time at Montclair State, noting, “it was so small  and very nice. We had a great time.”

Some people don’t think math and love have anything in common. But for Joyce Beams Howard ’78 ’86 MA and Jay Howard ’78, love began in Dr. Max Sobel’s Calculus I class!

 Joyce had transferred from a different class using another textbook and the bookstore was out of the new book.

“I knew I would never survive this class without it,” Joyce recalls. “A very kind yet quiet young man named Jay offered to share his book with me until I could get one.” One day after class, Jay asked Joyce what she was doing over the weekend and she told him she was going home. That didn’t deter him. “Every day for the next 10 days or so, he would ask what I was doing after class or over the weekend, and every day I would give him some story,” Joyce shares. “He was very persistent in his pursuit, and I wasn’t making it easy!” 

Finally, on October 15, Jay asked her to lunch. Joyce, who lived in Bohn Hall and didn’t drive, was happy for an opportunity to eat something other than dorm food, so she agreed to go with him. They went to Roy Rogers. Two days later, they went to dinner and a few days after that to a movie. Soon the couple became inseparable and spent every free minute together, studying, playing Frisbee in the quad, and boating on weekends — and taking more classes together. 

“Jay proposed to me on October 30, 1976, and this time I didn’t make him ask me 10 times,” Joyce says. “I immediately said yes!”  Two years later, on November 25, 1978, they were married. “These last 34 years have been the best years of our lives and have produced two great kids, Jimmy and Jackie,” she adds happily. 

Coincidentally, their daughter Jackie and her boyfriend met in a high school math class! Love truly does begin in calculus.

During their time as students at Montclair State Teachers College, Agnes Doran Howarth ’51 and John Howarth ’50 ’57 MA found that they had a lot in common. They were both student athletes – John was on the football team and Agnes was a cheerleader. They were part of Montclair State’s undefeated 1947 football season together and would often spend time in the Lower Center Hall, where students would congregate between classes.

Agnes lived in Russ Hall and would often meet John in the dining room there for meals. Shortly after Agnes graduated in 1951, the couple got married. In the years since, Agnes taught fifth grade and John taught business, coached football and served as superintendent in the Northern Valley Regional school district for 17 years. They also raised five children and are now the proud grandparents of eleven and great-grandparents of one.

Currently, the Howarths live in Belmar, New Jersey and spend their winters in Florida.  No matter how far they go, though, they’re never too far from their good times and memories with Montclair State. Every year, the couple goes to the 1947 football team reunion to catch up and reminisce with their old friends!

Giuseppe Landolfo ’06 and Alexandra Schumann Landolfo ’07 didn’t meet at Montclair State; they chose it together. They both lived in Secaucus, where they met in high school. Giuseppe went to Montclair State first, Alexandra followed the next year.

They drove to school together and would eat breakfast in the parking lot before morning classes. Once on campus, they went their separate ways for class – the only class the pair took together was tennis. They would often help each other with coursework, though, studying together on the quad on beautiful days and in the library on less fair-weather ones. Some of the couple’s best memories are from their years together at Montclair State University, Alexandra recalls. It was the little things like grabbing a coffee together at the C-Store between classes that built their great experience here.

Today, Alexandra and Giuseppe are happily married. Alexandra is a Senior Marketing Analyst at Laufer Group International and Giuseppe is a Production Coordinator at Telebrands Corporation.

It was love at first sight for John Scanlon ’63 the day he first saw Joan Topar Scanlon ’62. He was standing in the student life building with his friend Jordan "Dewey" McHugh.

"A gorgeous gal ran by across the front of the snack bar and up the stairs to the yearbook office," John recalls. "Who is that?" John asked his friend, who said "Forget about it, Scanlon. She's pinned to the captain of the football team!" "Oh yeah?" retorted John, who refused to be discouraged. "I pursued her, and several weeks later she broke up with her boyfriend and we went on our first real date, the sock hop in the gym," says John. The couple dated through college.

After graduation, John went to work in Cleveland, Ohio for the Ford Motor Company. He dated others but always thought fondly about Joan. She had taught at Central Regional High School for a year and was teaching in Winfield Park School when he managed to get back in touch. "I decided to call her and see if she was still single," John remembers. "She was! I invited her to visit for a big Ford event in September 1965 (a tough sell since she was enjoying the last of the summer vacation at the Shore). She accepted my invitation!  After browsing through the new Ford models at the show, we came upon a station wagon. I remarked about how nice it was. She said, "What would I want with a station wagon?” ‘How'd you like to fill it?' I said.”  Joan thought that was a good idea and they got engaged that weekend. They were married in November 1965, and have two daughters, Jennifer and Deborah, and a son, Jay.

 John was CEO and president of Scanlon Auto Group in Fort Myers, FL and is now transitioning into retirement. The couple love traveling all over the world. John is still in touch with Montclair State friends and Epsilon Pi Tau fraternity brothers including James Crawford '61, John "Rip" Carroll '63 '71 MA and Dennis Mamchur '58 '65 MA (who is also married to a Montclair State alumna, Barbara Bainbridge Mamchur '71 MA). Joan is still in communication with friends from the Cheerleading squad: P.K. Lawson Lynch, Lois Sachs Mancuso, Flo Postagna Carroll (who married "Rip") and recently, since the celebration at Montclair State of the 1960 undefeated football team, Linda Lee Swiss Crossley-Riddle.

"We have reveled through the good times and struggled through the bad times, but at all times remembering WE are the best thing that ever happened to US!” says Joan.

''I've been very fortunate, and I'm blessed to have a wife who has supported me in all things," John shares happily. "Life is good."

When Carolyn Perry Barrett ’03 MA and Kieran Barrett ’08 MA first met, she was a Graduate Assistant with Residence Life and he was a Sergeant with the campus police. They met while serving and testifying on a disciplinary committee in 2002. When a co-worker formally introduced them at a Jackals baseball game, Carolyn knew she wanted to get to know Kieran better.

After that day, Carolyn made every excuse to visit Kieran at the Police Headquarters. At first, he thought she was worried about her safety. When a co-worker told him the real reason behind her frequent visits, Kieran decided to ask Carolyn for a date at the Red Hawk Diner. They’ve been together ever since. The couple married in 2004 and how have two children. They thank each of their co-workers for helping them come together and discover their compatibility and love for each other!

Friends brought Maryellen Cerkanowicz Perone ’91 and Nicholas Perone ’90 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 14-year-old son and a 10-year-old daughter.

Love is serious business for Business Administration majors Keyanta Carrington Williams ’04 and Anthony Williams ’04! As students within the same department, the couple found themselves surrounded by a lot of the same classmates and courses.

During their senior year, Keyanta noticed Anthony popping up in a number of her classes – this might not have been completely by chance, she thinks! Shortly before graduating, they began to date and have been married since September 2009!

The play was The Hasty Heart. The time was the spring of 1954. And the place was Montclair State. It brought Dr. William Kushner ’54 and Helen Birnbaum Kushner ’56 together. Bill Kushner was cast by Mr. Ballare as Blossom, a character who spoke no English. “Sophomore Helen Birnbaum was assigned to apply my make-up,” Bill recalls. “My arms grew tired, so I placed them on my make-up artist's hips. Without missing a stroke with her brush, she said, 'Take your hands away, I am not that kind of girl.'”

After graduation, Bill was drafted into the Army. Serendipitously, Bill and Helen had one chance meeting at the Port Authority building in New York before he was shipped overseas. “I saw this cute petite young lady, by chance, and I tapped her on the shoulder,” Bill shares. “We talked, we had lunch together and we said we would write to each other. We've told our grandchildren to look for the Plaque at the Port Authority building,” he jokes. Bill served in Germany for the better part of two years and returned to find out that Helen had moved to California to teach. In 1958, they met again. They have now been married for 54 years and have four children and 12 grandchildren. “I tell my grandchildren that it took me four years to convince your grandmother that she was that kind of girl!” laughs Bill. Daughter Sura Shachnovitz ’09 ME is also an alumna. Bill taught at Rowan University for thirty years and is a Professor Emeritus of Speech Communication. Helen is retired from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. She was a former editor of the Montclair Quarterly.

“Tom and I first saw each other in Dr. Eaton’s summer speech class in June of 1984,” Monica Clavareza Lavosky ’88 recalls. It was the summer after her sophomore year and Thomas Lavosky ’86 would graduate in August after taking his last two courses. “Since we were both shy with members of the opposite sex, neither one of us had been brave enough to initiate a conversation until the very end of the course,” she says. “By the last week of class, my friend Linda and I had made a bet that we would call and ask out the boys we liked. Although I was very nervous since I had never done this before, I called Tom to invite him to see my friend who was playing with his band in the Village the following weekend.” It was a great idea! “You can imagine how much I dreaded seeing Tom on the last night of class after asking him out,” Monica adds. “We gave each other a shy, little smile as I entered the class and saw him sitting in the back of the room.

After agonizing over the final exam, he waited for me and then we walked together to the Student Center. We must have sat on the front steps of the building for at least an hour having our first real conversation. I guess our first actual date was that night at the Primrose Diner, which has since changed names and decor quite a few times.” Tom and Monica dated for three and a half years and got married in 1988. They just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary in January 2013 with their two lovely daughters, who are 17 and 15.

It’s not really surprising that Christopher Rozewski ’09 met his future wife Nicole Riotto Rozewski ’09 ’12 MA at Montclair State: his parents, Stephen Rozewski ’80 and Kathy (Bendlin) Rozewski ’81 were also a Montclair State sweetheart couple! Nicole and Chris met through a mutual friend while at Montclair State. They both were working on undergraduate degrees in their last year at the University. Nicole worked at the Children’s Center, and Chris at Computer Operations for Research and Education (CORE) at the College of Science and Mathematics. They spent many days enjoying the beautiful campus, drinking coffee outside of Cafe Diem, and strolling through the quad. They were engaged in April 2011 and married on July 8, 2012.

Nicole completed her Master’s in English in 2012 at Montclair State, and Chris is currently working toward an MBA at the University. Nicole is now a sixth grade Language Arts teacher and Chris works at William Paterson University. Chris’s cousin John LaVigna also is a current Montclair State student.

 Chris’ parents, Stephen and Kathy, met while working at the Willowbrook Mall in the late 1970s when they were both sophomores at Montclair State. Steve was a food service major and Kathy studied urban planning. Although they were never in the same classes, they enjoyed meeting at the Student Center during their breaks. They married shortly after graduation and have always enjoyed attending shows and events at Montclair State as proud alumni.

Wendy Iannotti Whipple ’77 and Bruce Whipple ’76 met while living in Chapin Hall. "We have lots of good memories of time spent with our lifelong friends participating in Conservation Club activities at Montclair State College.

Favorite memories include an overnight backpacking trip to Mt. Washington and an international work experience moving and reconstructing a log cabin in Ontario, Canada." Their daughter, Molly, is a current member of the Montclair State Women's Soccer team and part of the class of 2015.

Timothy Barr ’63 ’69 MA and Mary Porter Barr ’63 were lab partners in Dr. McDowell's Zoology class. “We had started dating just after the holidays that year and during the second semester exchanged lab partners so that we could sit together in class. We were the only male-female lab team in the class.” While dissecting a dogfish shark, the pair found that their specimen was the only one that contained an embryo - a fully formed but unborn baby shark.

Upon seeing this, Dr. McDowell went into his “mad professor” routine, waving his arms around and declaring to the class that this was a sign from above, a “fertility symbol”, and that the couple was going to have many children. This of course, embarrassed Mary a great deal, and gave Timothy's buddies in the class something to “bust” him about. They married after graduation, and upon the birth of their first child, Timothy told Dr. McDowell, reminding him of his prediction.

Joe Liscouski ’66 and Alice Mantie Liscouski ’66 met in their freshman year in a calculus course, “really romantic”, they add. They had a number of classes together, but didn't start dating until their junior year.  They married on November 19, 1966, and since then have raised three children who are now happy, successful adults. They have four grandsons, and have had a bunch of pets, all part of the family.

"We've handled taking care of parents, ran our own company together for 20 years after working in science/technology industries, and are now developing an educational non-profit organization."

Did you meet your significant other at Montclair State? Let us know! Send your story, along with a photo, to If you have any questions contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 973-655-5465. To read more Sweetheart stories, visit the MSUnions page.