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Couples Who Met At Michigan Ross Share Their Love Stories


With thousands of students walking the halls of the Ross School of Business every year, it's no surprise that many of them have met their significant others here and built long-lasting relationships.

This Valentine’s Day, as students and alumni all over the world celebrate their own unique connections and love stories, we’ve asked a handful of Ross alumni to share their stories of finding love at Ross.

Whether or not you observe Valentine’s Day, have a partner, or are rocking the #singlelife, these stories of love at Ross are sure to bring a smile to your face.

An Awkward Introduction

Michael Cooley and Rhonda Fleming

MBAs ’95

Michael and Rhonda met on their first day at Michigan Ross. As they were both in section two, they had all of their classes together. Michael recognized Rhonda’s name and very smoothly introduced himself with the line “Do you know my ex-girlfriend?” The answer was “yes:” Rhonda was good friends with Michael’s ex from her undergraduate years at the University of Michigan.

“We got to be great friends by studying, attending football games, and eating at Spots and Zingerman’s for the first few months until I got up the nerve to ask her out,” said Michael. “One of our first dates was dinner and then a walk through the arboretum where we kissed for the first time.”

One of Michael’s favorite memories from Michigan Ross was the time he had to ask the professor for permission to skip class because Rhonda was too nervous to present her assignment in front of him. At any rate, the two have now been married for 23 years, have traveled around the world together, and have two sons, Jackson and Sammy, who are both diehard Wolverine fans!

Not A Bad Elevator Pitch

Charlie and Shawn Walton

MBAs ’18

Charlie and Shawn met on the first day of their Ross orientation. Sitting next to each other in the auditorium, they were given the assignment of practicing their elevator pitches and giving each other feedback. Despite the fact that Charlie's feedback was maybe a bit too critical, Charlie and Shawn still left their first encounter intrigued. 

“It was after many subsequent football Saturday encounters at the MBA bus tailgate before I finally asked her out and we had our first date,” said Charlie.

The couple got married in September 2019 in a beautiful ceremony on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont.

“As a memorial to that first introduction, Shawn’s vows were in the form of an elevator pitch!”

Now in their third year of marriage, the Walton family has continued to grow. In 2021, Charlie and Shawn welcomed a golden retriever puppy, Maizie, named for the maize and blue, and on Aug. 24 they welcomed a baby, Riley Walton, who they hope will become a future Wolverine.

Smooth in Any Situation

Ameed and Brooke Mallick

BBAs ’06

Ameed and Brooke first met during the Michigan Marching Band’s preseason practices before their first-year classes ever started. Brook played tenor saxophone while Ameed played euphonium, which meant that their position in the rank was close together while marching to the Big House on football Saturdays. 

When classes started, it was a pleasant surprise that they were section mates in section one. By junior year they were able to take nearly all of their classes together, creating incredible memories both inside the classroom and out.

“Notably, on a marketing case we were teamed up and put a pitch together for Schick Razors to compete with Gillette and came up with a tagline Ameed still uses today: ‘smooth in any situation,’” said Brooke. “Hands down though, Professor Hyun-Soo Ahn’s lectures stand out as the best of times from Ross.”

Since their graduation from Ross, Ameed and Brooke have reached many more milestones together. In 2006 they moved to Chicago, returning to Ann Arbor a couple years later for their wedding. In 2016 they welcomed their son, and in 2018 the family settled down in Evanston, Illinois.

From Colombia with Love

Joe and Katherine Chaves

MBA ’17, MBA/JD ’16

After graduating from the Michigan Ross MBA/JD program in December 2016, Katherine’s good friend from her time at Michigan invited her on a spring break trip to Colombia with a group of seven other Ross students.The trip kicked off two days after the bar exam, and despite not knowing everyone ahead of time, Katherine had been looking for adventure so she was all in.

On the trip, Katherine met Joe and was intrigued by his good looks and goofball personality. Joe liked Katherine for her spirit and sense of adventure, but as both would soon be settling down in different cities, neither was looking for a romantic relationship. Instead, they formed an incredible friendship – bonding over music, dancing, and a day spent exploring Medellin, just the two of them.

Despite doubts of whether they’d ever see each other again, Joe and Katherine kept in touch and Joe invited Katherine to visit him for a week in Ann Arbor for DisOrientation. That week they made some of their favorite memories together watching Risky Business perform its last concert at Rick’s and attending the Ross formal. After a first “official” date, they decided to make their relationship official and give long distance a try.

Five years later, Katherine and Joe are married and living together in Brooklyn and welcomed their son, Sherwood, in June 2021.

A Statistically Significant Connection

Paula Herrera and Matthew Schopfer 

BBAs ’07

Matthew and Paula met during their first year at Michigan. Due to the Ross prerequisite courses, their schedules lined up perfectly. Matthew was very into statistics and was quick to volunteer helping Paula learn regression analyses using the white boards in the Bursley Hall study rooms. The rest, as they say, is history.

Considering how they met and Matthew’s love of statistics, it comes as no surprise that one of their favorite memories together at Ross also involves statistics.

“As a thank you to Matthew for being one of the tutors for the MBA statistics core, Professor Ahn invited us to his house to celebrate a job well done,” said Paula. “A group of us enjoyed appetizers, dessert, and karaoke alongside our professor and his wife.”

After graduating together in 2007, the couple moved to New York City where they started their business careers and also completed their graduate degrees at Wharton. They got married in Cartagena, Colombia, and now have two kids – Maia and Theo.