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The Upham Arch Promise: Love Stories at Miami University

jewelry Love Love Stories Miami MiamiCollection MiamiUniversity Romance style

The Upham Arch Promise: Love Stories at Miami University

Whether through a fateful encounter or a blooming friendship gone romantic, love enters our lives in special little ways. For Miami University (MU) students, sometimes this ‘love bug’ bites underneath the Upham Arch, declaring everlasting love between two people. Those who find themselves kissing underneath the campus landmark are said to be bound to marry one another. Alumni that have pursued their courtship following their time at MU are titled, “Miami Mergers”, inviting them into a community of over 14,000 others. 

We at KYLE CAVAN were so inspired by these stories, we created a signature necklace to recognize the sentiment and magic shared by Miami University couples. As an homage to these beautiful partnerships, KYLE CAVAN received the opportunity to speak with three couples that are Mergers themselves and we discussed their love stories and their epic journey under the arch. The following couples include Kristen Kirkwood ’05 and Sarah Kirkwood ’08, Christine Hartz Lu ’11, Tim Lu ’11, Derrick Luu ’12, and Becca Hartz Luu ’13.

KYLE CAVAN (KC): How did you meet one another? What sparked a connection between the two of you?

Christine/Tim & Becca/Derrick: Tim and I started dating our second year at Miami in 2009. We were neighbors on North Quad, living in McFarland and Hepburn as RAs, and hit it off instantly when we realized our shared love for Backstreet Boys and Taco Bell. My little sister Becca spent her spring break that year visiting me at school (she was a senior in high school at the time) and quickly fell in love with the campus while simultaneously becoming best friends with Tim. Shortly after, Becca started as a first-year while Tim and I left to study abroad. 

Next, enter Derrick. Becca was searching for a used textbook for one of her classes and happened to learn that some guy in her Chinese class had the book she needed. Derrick had a crush on Becca right away, and though he could use the transaction as an "in," but Becca was oblivious and ruined his plan to woo her. She got the book, gave him the cash, followed by a cold shoulder. Luckily, Derrick had a second chance to make an impression. He was the emcee for Redhawk Romance, a Valentine's Day event on campus that was like a mini dating game show. Tim and I entered as contestants during a 1-week break between semesters abroad, won the contest, and ended up staying after for a little photoshoot. While we were wrapped up in our victory, Becca and Derrick had the chance to talk more. From there, everything just clicked.

Sarah & Kristen: We met through a mutual friend, who was Sarah's roommate. I was over at their apartment and struck up a conversation with Sarah over a shirt she was wearing, which happened to have my maiden name (Marino) on the back! I knew Sarah was the one fairly soon into the relationship. She lets me be myself completely. She accepts all my faults and quirks and allows me to be my goofy self. She never judges me; always challenges me to be a better person and shows neverending kindness to all those she meets. She makes me a better person.

Courtesy: Kristen Marino

KC: What is your Upham Arch story? What is the significance of the arch to you?

Christine/Tim & Becca/Derrick: Derrick proposed to Becca in 2013. He created a scavenger hunt that led her through their favorite spots on campus and stationed a family member or friend at each one. The arch was the very last stop, where he proposed with all of her favorite people surrounding them. We had music playing as she ran through a tunnel of people with him on one knee at the end! Tim and I got married in 2015 and used the arch as one of our main photo spots with our bridal party.

Courtesy: Christine Hartz

Sarah & Kristen: Our first attempt to reach Upham by the appropriate time went awry. Instead of seeing the glow of the Upham lantern, flashing lights appeared in the rearview mirror. We got pulled over by the Oxford police and didn’t make our midnight deadline, but, we persevered and shortly thereafter, ‘sealed the deal'. Kissing under the Arch (finally) that night and now whenever we see it on visits warms our hearts, knowing we are a part of such a special tradition.

Courtesy: Kristen Marino

KC: What do you love most about Miami and your time spent there?

Christine/Tim & Becca/Derrick: We love so much about Miami that it's hard to narrow it down to just one or two things. The friendships we formed and the memories we made are top of mind. So many of our Miami friends truly are more like family, and it was such a unique stage of life having so many special people in such close proximity. It was so easy to meet for coffee uptown, grab dinner at Fiesta Charra, or do anything spur of the moment together. Life takes a lot more planning now!

Courtesy: Christine Hartz

Sarah & Kristen: Similar to a caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly, our time at Miami was a time of transition and transformation. We entered a nervous first year, still learning about who we were and who we wanted to be. Initially, we felt very lost, even alone, but over time, we found a niche and came into our own, making some incredible memories along the way. Some of our favorite memories include playing racquetball at Withrow Court, tossing footballs and Frisbees, going to 80's night uptown, the beautiful campus and making some amazing friends we are still friends with today. And, of course, Bagel & Deli! We return periodically just to have a bite to eat there and reminisce. We have introduced our kids to the deliciousness now too!

Courtesy: Kristen Marino

A huge thank you to all of the inspiring couples of Miami University for sharing their love stories with us. This Valentine’s Day, here at KYLE CAVAN we’re celebrating MU love with our Upham Arch Necklace, a pendant in honor of the iconic landmark. From us at KYLE CAVAN to you, celebrate love in all its forms, and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.


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Shipping & Returns


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