Duck Love Stories

Esther Knox and Jack Meyer

- UOAA graphic and web design associate Esther Knox ’17 and Jack Meyer ’17

Once a year in the winter, Jack’s fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, hosts their annual philanthropy called War of the Roses. War of the Roses is a weeklong event that leads up to the finale—a pageant competition between one woman from every sorority. The winner of the pageant becomes the fraternity’s Rose Queen. Our sophomore year, Jack was the philanthropy chair of his fraternity, and I was chosen from my sorority, Kappa Delta, to compete in the pageant. Unfortunately, I did not win the title of Rose Queen and therefore spent no time trying to get to know the rest of the Pi Kappa Phi men. In the months following we did not keep in close contact, but whenever we ran into each other on campus we would exchange an awkward “Hello” and keep on our way.

Fast forward one year. Our sorority and fraternity were hosting a social event together at Level Up, an arcade in town. I had seen Jack on campus and asked him if he was attending, and he said yes. We ran into each other that night at the arcade and spent most of the night talking to each other. The following weeks we continued to get to know each other. We went on a few dates and met each other's friends. After about a month and a half, his friends helped him build up enough courage to formally ask me to be his girlfriend (I knew the whole time because his fraternity little brother, Chris, kept filling me in on the details). Two days after Valentine’s Day, we went for dinner and a movie with Chris and his girlfriend Sydney, who is also a Kappa Delta. On the way out of the restaurant, Jack put his arm around me and accidentally knocked my phone out of my hand. It shattered completely! [From Jack: On our way back Esther stepped out of the car and I leaned over to Chris to double check if I should still ask her out after I just broke her phone...] Even after breaking my phone, he still had the courage to ask me to be his girlfriend, and I said yes—best decision ever! [Editor’s note: second best decision after deciding to work for the UOAA, surely] [Jack again: To this day I still have no idea what he said but whatever it was I knew deep in my soul that tonight was the night. So I asked her out and I became the luckiest guy in the world.] Don't worry, he paid to fix my phone, so we're all good.

We are celebrating our one year anniversary this February 16 and are getting pinned in the Spring. As we both graduate this March, we can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us.


- Carly Heims, BS ’04 and Zak Pacholl

From the second I laid eyes on Zak in softball class in fall of 2004, I was in love. When the last day of class came, I finally gathered up the courage to say hi. We went to my sorority barn dance together shortly after and dated for a couple months, but it just wasn't the right time for us, so we parted ways. After graduation, I moved to NYC to build a successful career in advertising (and help pump up the UO alumni association!) and Zak moved to Maui with other Duck buddies. Nine years passed, then in December 2013, Zak sent me a message saying he'd be on the East Coast for some work training and wanted to see me for dinner. I was beyond excited. After a meal and an amazing reconnection, he asked me when I would visit Maui... eight days later (on Christmas Eve), my plane landed in Maui from JFK. A few hikes, waterfalls, and rainy Maui days later, he dropped me off at the airport, confessing that he loved me. And I loved him. We had already decided I would move to Maui from NYC in six months. I've now been on Maui for 2.5 years and we're getting married on February 19, 2017. We're even having rubber ducky bride and groom on our cake... and one sheet cake that will say "Go Ducks!" We feel so lucky to be reconnected and are excited to keep our love for each other and the Ducks going until our last days.


Kevin Shepherd, BA ’12 and Kayla Bowker, BEd ‘12

Kevin and I met at the University of Oregon—he was a baseball player for the Ducks and I sang the national anthem for one of his games. He walked me out to home plate, stood right next to me as I tried to not forget the words. I had never been more nervous in my entire life and now, 4 and a half years later, I still get those butterflies I felt that day. Currently we live just north of Portland, where Kevin works in finance and I just finished getting my master’s degree and am in my first year teaching 5th grade! Kevin and I are avid Oregon athletic supporters, football season ticket holders and make it to an array of other sporting events throughout the year. This last September, on my birthday, Kevin and I walked the University of Oregon campus before the football game like we always do, but this time it was different. We were looking for the new Oregon Duck bronze statue, we turned the corner and there were rose petals and wedding music and champagne and Kevin asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was one of the most thoughtful things anyone has ever done for me!


- Brett Cahill, BS ’14 and Adriana Gonzalez, BA ’14

Adriana and I met each other while in high school. Soon after meeting, we developed a long distance relationship. We agreed to go to the same college and it was at the UO that we really got to know each other. I learned she can be an obnoxious brat and she learned I can be a hardheaded jerk, but we stuck together through thick and thin and there is nothing in the world that I would trade her for. That is why I asked her to marry me this past December while I was on leave from the Army. We are apart again for the time being, but I know that we will be together again soon and that our love can bridge the distance between us.


- John Hopkins, BS '97 and Denise (Dupre) Hopkins, BS ’97

January 11, 1997, we were lucky enough to be set up on a blind date by John's fraternity (DU) brother and my sorority (SK) sister for the Delta Upsilon Winter Formal. 20 years later, we are more in love than ever and still the best of friends. We have three boys (ages 14, 12, 8) who have inherited our love of the Ducks.


- Jennifer Kriegel and Keenan Kriegel

We met at a UO ballroom dance at Gerlinger Hall almost 10 years ago. He was down from WOU visiting some friends and I was out for a fun night with mine. As it happened, our friends were the same people! He mistook me for someone else and walked over and put his arm around me. It seemed so natural that we didn't even think about the fact that we didn't know each other's name until our friends quizzically asked if we had met before. Fast forward through several years of friendship and dating, and we just celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary!


Read past Duck Love Stories: