While it's not a guarantee, many graduates leave Lander University with their life partner in addition to their degree. That's what happened with Lander graduates Meg and Chase O'Dell, both of the class of 2018, who first met as members of the Lander University Honors College in 2014.
"We met in Dr. Rausch's honors class on Japanese popular culture our freshman year," said Chase. "The guy sitting next to me told me that I should ask for her number, which of course took me a month and half to finally do. But after I had her number, it didn't take us long to start dating."
The couple shared many special moments on Lander's campus, but one memory they both enthusiastically offered up was of the snow day their senior year. "I was living on one end of Bearcat Village and Meg was living at the other end," said Chase, "so when we woke up to the email from Lander saying classes were canceled due to snow on the ground, we decided to get together with our friends for the day."
The two made enough pancakes and bacon to feed a small army, and spent time playing in the snow, and "goofing off and pretending like we wouldn't have to return to classes the next day," said Chase. "It's collectively one of our favorite memories of our time on campus."
Their engagement was also entangled in their academic adventures at Lander: Chase proposed to Meg while the pair were completing their breakaway experience for the Honors College in Washington, D.C., with Chase interning for South Carolina Congressman Jeff Duncan and Meg interning for Washington Intern Student Housing (WISH).
"I had an idea that we would get engaged while there," said Meg, "so it wasn't a surprise to me when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. What was a surprise was how he did it."
The two were sitting in the shadows of the United States Capitol after a special dinner at We, The Pizza, a popular D.C. pizzeria. "We were having a great evening watching the sunset over the National Mall when he turned to me and asked me if I remembered when he wrote me those notes for our first anniversary as a couple."
At the time, Meg and Chase had written a series of "I love you because…" notes to one another to commemorate their first year together. But Chase had saved one of his notes just for this occasion. Prior to "popping the question," he handed Meg one last note, which read, I love you because I know you will say yes.
"He had written that note almost four years earlier," Meg said.
Presently, Meg and Chase live in Greenwood with their dog, Olive. Meg works as a quality improvement assistant for the diagnostic laboratories at the Greenwood Genetic Center, while Chase serves as a coordinator of technological services for Lander's Office of the Registrar. In addition to being members of the class of 2018, Meg is also a member of Lander's class of 2020, having successfully completed Lander's Master of Science in Management. Chase is also enrolled in the Master of Science in Management program and is scheduled to complete the program within the next calendar year.
The two remain active members of the Lander Alumni Association, and always look forward to opportunities to attend alumni gatherings with some of their former classmates. Both are thankful for the special part their alma mater has played in bringing them together.