UCR Alumni Valentines: The Greers

In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re celebrating UC Riverside alumni Tia & Otis Greer. The couple shares how they met on campus, their first date, and other great stories.

Share your love story below and join us in thanking the Greers for sharing their great story.

View more alumni interviews!

Update us with your information and accomplishments.


  • Mary Roddy says:

    How Did You Two Meet?

    It was March of 1981. I was in my junior year at University of California, Riverside. In that stage of my life, I was a relatively serious, studious type. But I had a bit of a wild streak – every few months I had to do something a little crazy, often anonymously, something that no one would ever have imagined that Mary Kircher, quiet little Mary Kircher, would ever have done. And so it was that March day in 1981.
    I had an English class in Sproul Hall, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10. My friend, Carol, had a math class right next door, so we would stand in the hall and visit until it was time for class to start. Every day, the same cute boy walked into Carol’s math room.
    “Hey, Carol, who is that guy?”
    “Oh, you don’t want to meet him. He’s too shy.”
    “No, no, Carol. Really. Who is he?”
    “His name’s Mark. But he’s too shy.”
    I had just turned 21. I was sort of dating a guy and things were going from bad to worse. And the clock was ticking on my crazy-girl itch. It was time to do something… I found out from Carol that Mark was a grader in the math department, and so he had a “grader box” – a cubby in the math department where students would turn in their homework for the grader to grade. So, I left him a note in his box. Mark, I’ve seen you on campus and I’d like to meet you but you seem sort of shy. If you’re interested, leave me a note in the Highlander personals. I signed it, Madam Q. I wrote in on a piece of pale yellow paper, taken from a pad given to resident assistants in the dormitories. I had torn off the logo on the paper, lest he should somehow recognize where the paper came from and perhaps trace it back to me. I definitely was covering my tracks. Like I said, most of my wild shenanigans were of the anonymous type.
    The deadline for personals was noon on Tuesday, in order to make the Thursday issue. I left my note on a Friday. Fingers crossed. Carol called me at 1 on Tuesday. “The note’s still in his box. He never got it.” There would be no personal for me that week.
    Later that week came more bad news. I had applied for the next step above resident assistant, that of Assistant Resident Director, for the following year. My boss called me in on Thursday, and told me I wasn’t selected because I was too shy. Well, the hell I am, I thought. I immediately went back to my room and called Mark.
    “This is Madam Q. Did you not reply because you weren’t interested or because you didn’t get the note in time?”
    “I didn’t get the note in time. But who are you? Who are you?”
    I wouldn’t even tell him my first name for 20 minutes into the conversation. Eventually we arranged to meet for lunch the next day, outside the library. Since I knew who he was, and he didn’t know who I was, I would have to introduce myself. I watched him for about 10 minutes as he waited for me. If there had been anybody within 25 feet of him, I wouldn’t have gone anywhere near him. But there wasn’t, so I did.
    We walked over to The Commons and sat outside for an hour or so and had lunch. He was nice enough. But I wasn’t sure what he thought of me. I’d kind of done what I set out to do, scratch the crazy-girl itch, so the ball was in his court. “It was nice meeting you,” I said. “If you want to get together again, you can get my number from Carol.”
    Winter quarter ended and Spring began. A few weeks later, Carol called. “Guess who asked for your phone number?” But I got no call. Of course, 1981 was in the dark ages – before message machines and cell phones. In early May, one of my close friends, Bob, another RA, had a brain aneurysm, so if I wasn’t in class, I was at Riverside General, keeping watch. Even if Mark had called, I wasn’t home to answer. One day, another friend, Debby, was driving me to the hospital to see Bob.
    “Have you read the personals?” she asked.
    “Well, you should.” And there it was… Merry. Mary. Madam M. I’ve tried to call you but you’re never home. Please call me.
    We went out a few times in Riverside before the school year ended. It so happened that both of us were attending summer school at UC Berkeley, so we dated all that summer. As the summer ended and we prepared to go back to Riverside, me for my senior year and Mark to get his teaching credential, we took a drive out to Point Reyes National Seashore. It was there that he told me he loved me.

    Mark Roddy and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary on December 30, 2013.

  • Jeffrey Glover and Carrie Furman says:

    My wife and I were both graduate students in the Anthropology Department when we met. Our first “date” happened during Game 5 of the 2002 World Series at the Getaway Cafe. While neither of us thought of this as a date, it ended in a kiss that started our life together. We now live in Atlanta with two little boys and think fondly of our time at UCR. Happy Valentine’s day to all those other UCR sweethearts.

  • We met in an Art History class at UCR (which we then proceeded to stop attending and received “NC” for!!), got married the next year (dumb, young love), and 27 years later are still Valentines. <3

  • bgomez says:

    My parents met at UCR in the late 60’s and have been together ever since. Of their four children, three (including myself) attended UCR. Our family has grown as does the great University. Much love to our UCR family of Alumni.

  • Jim and Carolyn (Sowko) Hansen says:

    I was a junior, studying economics at UCR. Carolyn was a freshman (freshwoman?) just starting out at UCR. It was the fall of 1970. We used the same parking lot (near the admin. bldg.) and passed each other a few times. I noticed her very nice smile. Then one day it was raining and I saw my chance. As she was walking, I came up behind her with the brilliant, romantic come-on, “Kind of wet, isn’t it?” That did it. Here we are, two kids and 44 years later, still happily married.

  • Dwight & Pam (Snydet) Merkel says:

    Pam and I met as student teachers in1975. Married now for 37 years. Retired and enjoying the good life. Go Highlanders.

  • We were casual acquaintances at UCI. We did take a tennis class together; she got an “A” and I got a “C.” I didn’t realize that they would grade you down for klutz. She continues to play tennis, and I decided that it was better for me to jog for my regular exercise, especially since the last time I played her it was 6-0, 6-0. We began dating after we went on to UCSF – she in the nursing school and I in the medical school. We were married within the year – 53 years ago. Four great kids, 9 grandkids, and a very active retirement devoting our time to health care reform. Our work is not done since the Affordable Care Act falls miserably short. We need a single payer national health program – an improved Medicare that covers everyone. (So this isn’t a typical Valentine’s message, but, after half a century, it’s great that we can still be passionate about something!) Peace and Love to all.

  • Roger and Sheryl (Swendler) Hayes says:

    Roger and I actually first met as UCR staff, around 1979. Anyone who knows Roger knows that you can’t miss hearing him when he enters a room, which is how I first knew him when I worked the front desk in Financial Aid and he would visit from the Learning Center, down the hall in Library South.

    Fast forward to 1982 and I was in my last quarter as a UCR undergraduate, having taken a leave of absence from my UCR job. Looking for love, I joined my co-workers at the weekly Happy Hour at the UCR Faculty Club, and there was Roger talking to my boss. She reintroduced Roger to me, which led to an invitation to join him that night at the student movie at Life Sciences, Star Trek Bloopers. Not so romantic, but we’ve been together ever since. 🙂 We have many wonderful friends who we met while at UCR and we had many years of working with the fine people who support and teach our UCR students. We are now retired from UCR and married for 25 years. UCR holds a very special place in our hearts!

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: