Put a Right on It
With a hand from his former professor, Kevin Berry ’09 pops the question to Stephanie Kazanas ’08
Editor’s Note: Kevin Berry ’09 shares the details – in this first-person account – of how he proposed to Stephanie Kazanas ’08, enlisting the help of George Gomez, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, and using the Rev. G. Donald Pantle, S.J., Rose Garden as the backdrop.
Stephanie and I met during my freshman year at Scranton, and we were in love a month into our relationship. Fast-forward almost six-and-a-half years and when considering places to propose, I couldn’t think of a setting more important to us than the University. Not only did we meet and fall in love here, but our careers were also set in motion here.
It should be noted that Stephanie told me years before that she wanted wherever we got engaged to be somewhere we could go back to visit someday, especially a space that would provide us some privacy. The campus’ Rose Garden provided a perfectly secluded area, and it had the bonus of being near where we first hugged. With the site in mind, I met with George Gomez, Ph.D., a professor and close friend, and his wife, Pamela, and asked if they’d help me get Stephanie to Scranton for the proposal. They were delighted to help, and the scheme was set.
On the day of the proposal, we met with George and Pam, went downtown for lunch, and walked back up to the Loyola Science Center for a tour of the new building. While we were touring, George and Pam were taking pictures of us under the guise that they needed a picture of me to accompany a quote in a science center brochure (which happened to be true). Unbeknownst to her, Stephanie and I were also getting engagement day photos long before she was aware.
As we toured the building, we entered George’s office and had a perfect view of the Rose Garden that, thankfully, was empty. (We had back-up locations if it wasn’t.) Taking that cue, we walked outside with plans to tour the rest of campus. At this time, George and Pam retreated to George’s office to retrieve a forgotten fictional item.
As Stephanie and I walked into the Rose Garden, I asked her about our first hug, pointed to where it was, and also mentioned our first kiss. I told her, “I love you,” to which she replied, “I love you more!” Figuring that was as good a cue as any, I said “Oh yeah, top this!” and bent down on one knee and asked her to marry me.
She was completely surprised, but said “yes,” making it the best moment of my life. The ring fit perfectly and everything went absolutely to plan. (God truly guided every step of the way.) We then reunited with George and Pam and, after many congratulations, we went to the science center’s rooftop. George and his wife were amazing, playing their roles perfectly. They even had champagne waiting for us. The day, the people and the place could not have been more perfect.