The very first day I was on campus at Penn College was in the fall of 1994. That night as I unpacked at Campus View Apartments, I was overwhelmed with the excitement of being out on my own. Eagerly watching all of the students moving in below in the courtyard and the commotion of people reuniting, I knew I was going to love it. I remember so clearly later that evening, as the returning-day celebrations continued, one student running around the courtyard in a large box. You could not see his head – just arms and feet. He ran around yelling comically, "I am Box Man!" Students gathered at their windows to watch the idiot below. I remember wondering, "What on earth is this guy doing?" If I had only known then that one day I would marry "Box Man."
We were inseparable, much to the annoyance of his roommates!
My name is Jodie McVan, formerly Jodie Gausman, and I am married to Michael McVan. In October, we will celebrate 10 years of marriage, so 2012 is a special year for us. We started dating at the age of 19. My husband had been at Penn College for a full year before me, but he was young for his class, and I was older for my class, so we are the same age. We met through our roommates in the fall of 1994. I had a serious boyfriend at the time, and as a matter of fact, I followed that boy three hours west, across the state, to attend the same school. If I hadn't followed that boy to college, I never would have met my husband! Although Mike and I met and it was an obvious attraction, I had to pursue him for two entire semesters to get him to go out with me. Mike would insist that he was too young for a relationship and we should enjoy college, and that he didn't want a commitment. I had begun to give up in the fall of 1995, but one night, while at a party, I asked him if I could kiss him. He said, "Sure, why not?" and he has been mine ever since. We used to laugh at what a great kisser I must have been! (I like to think I still am.)
That New Year, Mike returned with a gift that I have cherished for the last 17 years. I had always wanted a bottle of rainwater, something silly I saw on a TV show once growing up. I had told this to Mike only once. That January of the 1995-1996 winter break, rain was not available. My wonderful husband melted five pots of snow on his mother's stove and burned his brows off doing so (which never made sense to me, how on earth do you burn your eyebrows melting snow?) to get me one wine bottle full of "rainwater" (snow water). The bottle is in my possession to this day and sits on a shelf in my living room. Whenever we moved over the last 15 years, it was the one object that I wouldn't pack; I would always hand carry it myself in my car.
Mike and I enjoyed the rest of our college careers at Penn College as a couple. We were inseparable, much to the annoyance of his roommates! We had a great group of friends and loved Penn College life. The college was small enough to have the small-town feel and community style that we loved, while starting to grow large enough to feel like a university. The teachers knew your name, and the facilities were top notch.
During our years in Williamsport, we were lucky enough to witness the building of the Victorian House from start to finish, attend the first formal dance the college had held in many years, the building of the first college-owned student housing on campus, the opening of the Community Arts Center, and the beginnings of the college's four-year degree offerings. My husband even played on the first Penn College lacrosse team. The town and campus evolved while we were there into the beautiful area it is today. For my senior project, I wrote and designed a book all about the mansions on Fourth Street – many of which the owners were nice enough to let me into to see their brilliance firsthand. We used to go back to visit every year, but it has been awhile since we've seen our alma mater – way too long!
Mike and I graduated the same year, in the spring of 1998 — Mike with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and me with a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design. We said goodbye to our home of four years, and I followed another boy three more hours across state to the Philadelphia area. But this one I married! Mike took his good old time asking me to marry him (must be that original fear to commit I dealt with the first two semesters). We married four years after graduating, on October 19, 2002. We have two beautiful girls and, thanks to Penn College, two successful careers, a lovely home, and the American dream.
Thank you, Pennsylvania College of Technology!
Jodie and Mike McVan