A wedding gift story with a twist

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Young lovers who met on campus get married on campus – and make an unusual request of their guests.

They met their freshman year at a fraternity party.

She thought he was charming. He thought she had the most beautiful smile.

But neither wanted a relationship during their undergraduate years at UNL, so they spent a lot of time trying not to date.

“I guess you can’t fight fate.”

Stephanie Davis says this eight years later – just a few days before she walks down the aisle of the Sheldon Museum of the Art’s auditorium on UNL’s City Campus and to the side of Grant Wallace on May 24, their wedding day.

Stephanie and Grant both arrived at UNL in 2006. Grant came from a farm outside of Oakland, and Stephanie grew up on a farm outside of Wood River. Both had scholarships. Both graduated from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. Stephanie studied ag business while Grant studied food science and technology.

In 2007, Stephanie began working as an intern at the University of Nebraska Foundation. She later was hired as the foundation’s Event and Donor Relations Coordinator. She loved her job, she says, because she was able to meet so many donors and scholarship recipients. She saw the impact of private philanthropy.

That’s why they made an unusual request of their wedding guests: Please don’t give us gifts. Instead, consider making a charitable contribution to the University of Nebraska.

“The university has really been there through our relationship,” she says. “When I look back at our memories over the years, it always has something to do with campus – whether it was studying together or going to football games, walking around East Campus – it was just always there, and it’s been a really important part of our relationship.”

Stephanie received her doctorate in educational studies and educational leadership and higher education specialization from UNL last year, and Grant finished medical school at UNMC this past spring. They are moving to Ohio soon for his four-year dual residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at The Ohio State University.

Stephanie hopes to find a job in the non-profit field.

Giving back to the university, she says, feels like the right thing to do.

“The university has been such a fundamental part of our relationship,” she says. “And I guess that thinking about leaving here – and it kind of sounds silly I guess, but all of our fondest memories come back to the university and going to school here – and I guess thinking about leaving here …”

She pauses. Her eyes fill with tears.

“These are happy tears.”

Her beautiful smile returns.

“In leaving the university for our next step, I guess this is one thing we can do to make a difference and try to give back to the place that gave so much to us.”

Stephanie and Grant listed these funds that support the university as among their favorites: the RHO Chapter Kappa Alpha Theta Chapter House Historic Preservation Fund; the Alpha Gamma Sigma Educational Fund; the UNL Newman Center Fund; the UNL, CASNR Faculty & Student Support Fund; and the UNMC College of Medicine Development Fund.

Student Support and Faculty Support are two priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska, now in its final year. If you, like Stephanie and Grant, would like to give back to the university for all it has given you, please consider giving online or call the foundation at 800-432-3216.

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