What Was Your Most Romantic Moment at MIT?

by Jay London on February 1, 2013 · 15 comments

in Alumni Life, Campus Culture, Modern Geekhood

Art by Lynette May

Update: Judging by the memories you shared, the Institute might be the world’s most romantic place.

Sometimes MIT gets a bad rap. As an alumna once wrote, there’s a mistaken belief that “MIT students would rather do calculus than succumb to the byproducts of rampant commercialism; namely, Valentine’s Day celebrations.”

Slice wants to help change the misconception that MIT is all work and no romance. So we ask you, the MIT community: What was your most romantic moment at MIT?

Every relationship—especially at MIT—has its own unique story. We want to hear yours. Did you fall in love, meet your spouse, or get engaged during your time at MIT? Or was it just one moment—such as a passing glance in the Infinite Corridor—that you’ll never forget?

Romances at the Institute have been known to mix the nerdy with the quixotic. After all, MIT is home to the Laboratory for Chocolate Science and the Logarhythms, the student a capella group known for their Valentine’s Day serenades.

A former student admissions blogger may have best summed up romance at MIT:

“MIT is full of relationships, people who’ve been dating for days, weeks, years. Some homegrown MIT relationships, some long distance, some within the Boston city limits…I don’t think there’s really much science behind it at all. I just think this isn’t one of the things there’s a formula for.”

Perhaps your moment was an amorous graph translation during a homework session. Or maybe, with Slice’s help, it was when you met your soul mate using a geeky pickup line or when you reconnected with a long-lost love via an MIT-inspired eValentine. (Or maybe not.)

Either way, tell us your most romantic moment in the comments below or on Facebook. If you prefer to keep your love story anonymous, send it to us in an email and we’ll omit your name.

We’ll collect your Institute love stories through February 13 and share them on Slice on Valentine’s Day. Prepare for a more sensitive side of MIT!


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane February 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

On Registration Day, in 1990, three other students and I were waiting outside of our advisor’s office in Building 13. We commiserated about the upcoming semester, especially 3.185 with Prof. Szekely which was supposed to be awful. One of the students, Derek, suggested exchanging phone numbers so that we could form a study group. Little did I know that I had just met my future husband… and that he never had any intention of using the other two telephone numbers. We’ve been married for 19 years and have three daughters.


Allison February 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

It was a Thursday night at the Thirsty Ear in the Spring of 1989 and me and my Bake House friends were checking out the crowd. In walked a group of grad students (why they were there instead of the Muddy Charles has still not been determined). I made eye contact on and off with one of them and finally after a long while they approached. The one I was checking out came up to me…so exciting…and he said….”so, how was Africa??”. OK great. Now this guy is either a weirdo or he thinks I am someone else. He indeed did mistake me for someone else (we never did find the woman who had traveled to Africa), but we still left together that night and walked over to the student center to get some coffee and talk (I don’t drink coffee, but I didn’t tell him that then). More dates followed and it is now 24 years later and we are in our 19th year of marriage and have four kids…but never did get to go to Africa!


Shirley February 1, 2013 at 10:44 am

I met a couple of friends during Rush Week 1986 who turned into my best friends. We ended up hanging out at ZBT most of the time, because they had the best food! After the freshman had pledged, I met my future husband when he offered to help me do a proof of a*0=0 for my theoretical calculus homework. I dropped the class, but kept the guy! We went through a lot of classes together, including Unified and 6.11, despite several warnings that it wasn’t a good idea to be partners with your significant other. One of those “romantic” moments I remember was during a physics demonstration (8.12?) and the professor was showing a color spectrum of something on the projector, and the colors ranged from red to orange to yellow. It looked just like a sunset to me, so I turned to him and said “Isn’t it romantic?” It’s those little moments that remain the best memories. We got married the week after graduation (22.5 years!) and have two kids.


Michael February 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

July 2, 1993, I was just a week or two off the plane following my high school graduation in CA trying to acclimate to a new school, new city, and new life as a student in Project Interphase (yes, giving up the last real summer of my life, so far). A group of us headed to the Galleria to do some shopping. One of my classmates and I decided to take a walk into Boston to find an “authentic” Italian deli. Since neither of us were from the city, we had no clue at the time that Boston wasn’t where you go to shop for food! During our many-hour stroll, we explored the city together, chatted about the lives we had left behind, the amazement at having been accepted to MIT, and our bewilderment about the future. As our legs were finally getting weary, we happened to pass the Esplanade as the Boston Pops were beginning their rehearsal for the July 4th events. So, we stayed and enjoyed the time together. Later that night, after catching Jurassic Park at the Cheri with a large group of Interphasers, she and I stopped in the middle of the Harvard bridge and just enjoyed holding hands and being close to one another while gazing downriver towards downtown. It is that moment, following a long string of other potential candidate moments, that I regard as the picture-perfect example of young romance.

We eloped during our senior year, on Valentines Day, at the Cambridge City Hall. Together for nearly 20 years, married for 16 of those, we now have two daughters and recently relocated back to the Boston area. Perhaps nothing can be as romantic as finding someone to share your life with during what is probably the most overwhelming experience in a young life, but I expect that we’ll keep trying to top that first day together.


Jessica Mink February 1, 2013 at 11:02 am

My favorite romantic moment connected to MIT, among many as I married a fellow MIT student the day before I graduated, was walking with a friend across the Harvard Bridge and realizing that we’d been speaking in IBM 360 Assembly Language for all 364.4 smoots. Only at MIT! Maybe not the *most* romantic, but the *most interesting* romantic moment of my 11 years at MIT. Then there was the time that a friend and I lay in the Great Court (that dates me!) counting all of the stars in the murky summer Cambridge sky. And lots more…


Lucy February 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm

My first year there (1996) my boyfriend and I broke into the Green building in the middle of the night to look out the window of the top floor to get a good look at Comet Hale-Bopp. It turned out to be a bit too cloudy that night, but it sure was romantic to sit up there looking at the sky.


Abigail February 5, 2013 at 12:42 pm

On July 4th, 2009 I celebrated one of the most romantic days of my life by marring my beautiful wife in the MIT chapel followed by dinner and dancing in Morse Hall. We are one of a handful of same-sex couples to have been married on campus, and we were so lucky to have beautiful weather, romanic fireworks overlooking the boston skyline, and the support of an inclusive campus community. Surrounded by all the love of our friends and family, it was with full and open hearts that we made our vows to cherish and support each other for the rest of our lives. Today we are the proud moms of a beautiful baby girl and we feel so blessed to have kick started our family and to have celebrated our love, romance, and commitment at MIT.


J February 5, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Got engaged my senior year in Killian to my best friend (whom I met during dorm rush 3 years prior).

Love you <3


Saro M February 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I apologize for the length. This is a slightly edited version of a Chapter from my 21W.740 assignments (thanks Bill Corbet!) I can’t believe I still have it (it’s from 2003).

“I’m not ready to leave”.
I’m standing in the most romantic place on campus. When I was shown the place for the first time, Sasha explained to me the strict “rules” of the garden. “You’re only allowed to bring one person up here,” she jokingly demanded, “and you have to surprise them. That’s how it works.” “You’re my one person,” she grinned, “So you better make your person good, since I wasted mine on you!” I made good on my promise to make my one chance count. Fazal is visiting for the weekend, only the second time he’s been to MIT.
The garden is gorgeous, as if it has dressed up especially for the occasion. The flowers are a brilliant pink and yellow. The trees are in their fall colors, and everything is sprinkled with a fresh, light drizzle. It’s freezing, and we’re both in gloves, caps and heavy jackets. I’m showing him the river, and the Boston skyline. I’ll miss this city so much when I leave. I have less than two months left.
“Saroj,” his voice is serious, I can feel that he’s about to say something important. “These past months have been the hardest ever for me. I know we’ve done this for almost three years, and you’d think that it gets easier with time; but letting you go has only gotten harder and harder for me. Love, we’ve fought so much recently, I’ve been scared. I can’t begin to imagine what my life would be like without you, all I know is that the empty feeling I have every time you go would be there forever. I can’t handle that. I need you; I need you to be in my life forever.” I’m looking at his eyes. He has the longest, thickest, curliest eyelashes I’ve ever seen, they look like they should belong to a girl. I nod, he’s said this to me before, and I feel exactly the same way. If it’s one thing the fighting has taught me, it’s that I don’t ever want to have to make my way through life with him not at my side.
“I can’t imagine my life without you,” he continues, “and I never ever want to have to worry about that, which is why I would like to make you my wife.” I notice for the first time that he is fidgeting, and I look down at his hands. There’s a small, brown box in them, and it hits me exactly what’s happening. He opens the box. My heart leaps…a diamond ring. (I’d later find out that he asked my parents’ permission to propose and my mom had already tried it on). I have to remind myself to breathe. Nothing works for those few seconds, my legs feel like they’re going to collapse and my chest is heaving because I fear I’ll forget to keep inhaling and exhaling. All I can do is stare at the ring. After what seems like minutes, my heart gives my brain a kick under the table, and I remember that I haven’t answered him yet. I look up at him, beaming, and give him the tiniest peck on his lips. “Yes”.


Anonymous February 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

The love of my life is no more in this world. A few years back he visited Boston with his friends. He also visited MIT at that time. He shared his pics with me and in one of them he was at the MIT dome.
Now life brought me to MIT and whenever I walk by the dome, I can see him standing there smiling at me. This is the most romantic thing for me at MIT.


Jerry Grochow February 6, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I was a senior going to see one of my profs about an assignment. His assistant said “he can see you, but that young woman is ahead of you.” Looking over at the “young woman” waiting on a bench, I of course said “fine.” Unfortunately, the young woman wasn’t in a talkative mood, but she did leave her notebook on the bench when she went in to see the prof (who, it turns out, was her freshman advisor). Her name and dorm number were clearly written on the cover so I took this as a sign. 43 years later, she still claims it wasn’t and our kids still delight in hearing this story.


Rebecca Mishuris February 14, 2013 at 1:36 pm

43 years, 2 children and 2 children-in-law, all MIT-grads, later!


Jon Powell February 8, 2013 at 12:42 am

She came into my room at Baker one night in early spring and said, “Come on, Jon, I want to go roofing”.


I had my books open, a ton of work to do, and my thesis just sitting there begging to be written, but she had that fire in her beautiful brown eyes that I was pretty much helpless against, so I grabbed my shoes and she grabbed my hand and we headed out.

Now I was a senior, and she was a freshmen, and yet I had never really been roofing and she evidently had, because she knew where she wanted to go and I had to kick my heels to keep up with her. She was so EXCITED.

Out the front door of Baker, across the Kresge lawn, across Mass Ave just at midnight, and then down the infinite corridor.

“Where are we going?”

“I’ll show you”

Turn right down the side corridor of building 4. Now I was really confused. I thought we were headed for the Green building, or perhaps something going on at one of the east campus dorms. What interesting roof access was there from here? Perhaps something opening up on the Great Court?

At this point, perhaps I should explain. I have been gone from MIT for 3 decades and I don’t really know the sorts of things that are allowed in these modern times. But back in spring of 1979 there were a few nighttime activities that were practiced by the students and ignored by the campus patrol. One of these things was hacking (for which I refer you to the book IHTFP) and another was roofing. All you had to do to go roofing was to get access to the roof of one of the many campus buildings and climb around. Most were locked. Some not locked so well. The ultimate, of course, was to go roofing on the Great Dome and…. well….. Hack it. Leave a cow up there or something. I was pretty sure we weren’t going to be doing that.

She led me down the hall all the way around to building 2; to the section of the building that is on the Northeast side of the Great Court, near the river. Here we went up to the third floor. She was leading all the way, holding my hand and pulling me along. Those great huge eyes of her’s alight with mischief. The door to a Boston facing class room was open and we went in. She led me to a window that looked over Memorial Drive and onto the Charles river. Boston was aglow in the moonlight.

“Help me here” she said. She was trying to get the window open. We lifted together and one of the huge 100 year old windows went creaking upward. What was this? We were not near any roof, or any roof access. What were we doing? She stepped out of the window and stood up. I looked out and saw she was standing on a quite substantial ledge. It extended left and right and around the corner into the Great Court. And 3 stories up.

“Come ON”. Her hair was short, brown, and Sassy. Her legs were long and muscular. Her lips were very insisting. I gulped and stepped out on the ledge.

Now I don’t want you to think that I am some scardy cat being led on by some seductress. I played on the baker football team and the MIT rugby team. I hiked and canoed and sailed and played guitar and I damn well wooed this woman fair and square. On the other hand, she was due to go under the knife for knee surgery in a week or so and was going to be in a full leg cast for 2 months and she needed to be DOING. And I knew that I had better be following her or never bother to waste her time again. God I love MIT women.

So, we started walking the ledge. It was about 3 feet wide. Plenty of room. And she walked holding my hand and guiding me along. We turned the corner and now had the entire Killian Court displayed out and below us. Lit up by the new Full Moon. Wow.

I still had no idea where we were going. Sure weren’t getting up on a roof anytime soon from here. Perhaps we were just going to circumnavigate the court.

To do that, you have to also circumnavigate each of the little side courts that make up the great court. We first went around Lowel court, Up here on the ledge we were above the trees and just looking down at the grass and last patches of winter snow. The air was crisp and cold but the sky was clear enough that a few brave stars shown even through the city backlighting.

On we went, up to the corner of the main building and then turned left toward the Great Dome. We are pretty far up here. Above the columns that hold up the dome. You know the ones. The ones that hold up the inscription that reads: “Massachvusetts Institvte of Technnology”.

We were crossing under the swell of the Great Dome itself and were just about in the middle of the crossing. Right above the second “v” of the inscription when she stops. She turns to me, and she gives me the longest and most heartfelt kiss of my life. Planets collide. Suns die. My heart certainly stops. Then she broke the kiss, put both hands on my chest, and said, in a quiet breathy voice, “There… Now… Whenever you see a picture of the Great Dome, you will remember that kiss. You will remember this night. And you will remember ME.”

And without another word she turned and fled off along the ledge. Leaving me there staring after her. She must have known how much I loved her. She must have known. And she also must have known that she was soon to leave me. I certainly knew.

She was certainly going to leave me……But NOT JUST THEN.

I hurried to catch up. We went to the next corner, where she said, “Give me a boost”. I pushed her up onto this little flat place on the roof above and she helped haul me up after . We were at the base of the lesser dome, the one over lobby 7. She took my hand again and we ascended to the top of the dome, to the 15 foot diameter flat disc on the very top.

“Would you dance with me?” She asked, her eyes suddenly very huge and longing.

Oh…… maybe.

And there, in the night, on the top of the lesser dome of MIT and perhaps on the apex of the very world. I slow danced with my love in the moonlight, surrounded by traffic noises off Mass Ave and the loud beating of my heart.

To this day, I can’t look at my brass rat without seeing the engraving on the side of the MIT dome, and remembering that night. And that kiss.

And her.


Marvin February 9, 2013 at 1:25 am

Walking down the main corridor (we didn’t call it The Infinite back then)…seeing my girlfriend walking toward me… seeing my girlfriend walking toward me actively engaged in conversation with another guy… seeing my girlfriend notice that I’m walking toward her…seeing her face light up into a smile…walking…on a collision course…we collide…we kiss…a good kiss…we continue walking our opposite directions…thinking of the expression on the other guy’s face… smiling for the rest of the day.


Cecilia February 13, 2013 at 8:34 pm

I don’t think we have a romantic story, but I met and fell in love with my husband at MIT. We didn’t start out romantically, we were close friends. But one day, it hit me that I was in love with him, I even knew we would get married some day (he had no clue–ha!). I guess it eventually hit him too, because he finally asked me to be his girlfriend. After that, we were inseparable, studying together all the time (we happen to have chosen the same major) in Hayden library, and enjoying each others company. 13 years later, we are still wonderful companions and look forward to continuing to live out life’s adventures together!


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