“You may now kiss the bride” are the words two Rider alumni waited eight years to hear.
Sept. 30 was the beginning of a wonderful new life for Gregory and Kimberly Lorjuste, formerly Kimberly Addison.
The two met in the summer of ’99 through Rider’s Equal Opportunity Program (EOP), a state-sponsored program that enables low-income New Jersey residents to attend college. The couple began dating three months after the summer program ended and never parted.
“We clicked almost immediately, even before dating,” said Kimberly. “He had such a great personality and was funny, so we became fast friends.”
Finally, in December 2005, Gregory did the unthinkable and proposed during Kimberly’s surprise graduation party from Seton Hall, where she obtained her Masters in education.
“From the moment I first laid eyes on Kim, I knew she was something special,” said Gregory. “We have been each other’s inspiration and continue to motivate each other. That’s what makes us perfect for each other.”
Are there others who will be following in the Lorjuste’s footsteps?
According to Alumni Relations, there are approximately 3,500 married Rider alumni couples.
Although some students may feel that it’s convenient to have that special person around them all the time, others disagree. Travarus Fauntleroy, a senior psychology major who was previously in an eight-month relationship, feels that space is key in maintaining a healthy relationship.
“A girlfriend requires a lot of your time,” said Fauntleroy. “So, if you want space [on campus], you can’t because you are bound to run into that person. Space is important because you’ll lose individuality if you’re around a person all the time.”
Whether it’s the lack of space, communication or time that interferes with some college relationships, the Lorjustes prove that it can work.
Dean of Students Anthony Campbell, who attended their wedding, was delighted with the union.
“I’m pleased and happy that they got married,” said Campbell. “They have been going out since freshman year and were both student leaders. They are successful and young in their career and well matched. I wish them nothing but the best.”
The Lorjustes are co-founders/directors of E.C.H.O. Harmony, Inc., a non-profit organization that began when the two decided that something needed to be done after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The couple has also participated in and raised funds for the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk and AIDS Walk New York.
Perhaps students should pay closer attention to that person sitting next to them in class or that person who holds the door for them, because love might be waiting.
“I never thought I would find love in college because everything happens so fast, but I was wrong,” said Gregory. “I found Kim. It was really weird because I really didn’t want to fall in love in college, but Kim was so perfect that my heart made an exception.”
Kimberly Vogel, a junior marketing and theater double major, said she can attest to that. Although she and her boyfriend did not meet at Rider, their romance has blossomed through their college years.
Vogel has been with her boyfriend, Dan Chimento, since high school. The high school sweethearts attended different colleges, but Vogel’s boyfriend has since transferred to Rider. Also a theater major, Chimento found that Rider offered him more academic opportunities; Vogel was an added perk.
“I think this time in our lives is an important time for self-discovery and for discovery with someone else,” said Vogel.