Husker tailgate leads to an unexpected connection

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UNL alumni have ‘Marvel-ous’ time after realizing they have something – someone – in common.

A serendipitous event happened last year at a Husker tailgate in Chicago.

About 100 UNL alumni had attended the tailgate, held at a hotel the night before the Nebraska-Northwestern football game. (They were alumni of the College of Business Administration, the College of Journalism and Mass Communication, and the College of Education and Human Sciences – formerly the Teachers College.)

Among the crowd were Tim and Betty Turner of Chicago.

The two, both alumni, had met on campus back in 1966. Betty graduated from UNL with a degree in English in 1969 and married Tim that same year. Tim graduated with a degree in political science in 1972, and Betty went on to earn her master’s in education in 1977. Tim would eventually go on to earn his master’s in business administration from Northern Illinois University in 1989.

Betty began her career teaching English at Beatrice High School. While teaching in Beatrice, Betty met Marvel Davis, a fellow UNL alumna. Marvel was the new Spanish teacher. The two women became close friends.

Marvel later married Mick Parker, another Teachers College graduate, and the two settled in Fremont, Nebraska.

Betty and Tim stayed close with Marvel and Mick, even after moving to Oklahoma City and eventually to the Chicago area. They even returned to Nebraska once a year to visit them and other friends.

Last fall, when Betty and Tim went to that Husker tailgate in Chicago, they weren’t expecting to see many familiar faces. But they were pleasantly surprised when they were connected with Teachers College alumna Elaine Rogge McGrath and her husband, Vincent.

Although they had been introduced only once before, Betty already knew a lot about Elaine:

They had shared Marvel as a best friend for more than 30 years!

Betty had often listened as her dear friend Marvel had talked about her many adventures with her dear friend Elaine.

Elaine and Marvel had met at UNL when they were both freshmen. They both had lived in Love Hall and had become close friends when they both joined Phi Mu Sorority. Elaine moved to Illinois after graduation but still maintained her friendship with Marvel.

The last time Betty and Elaine had actually seen each other was at Marvel’s wedding to Mick all those years ago.

The two spent the rest of the tailgate laughing and catching up.

“That the world is a small place is a cliché we have all heard many times,” Betty says. “Every once in a while, we make a connection with someone at the most unexpected time, in the most unexpected place which proves that point.”

If you would like to help the College of Education and Human Sciences General Development Fund, please consider giving online or contact Stephanie Kaczor at the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

This story was written by foundation intern Madison Wurtele, who is studying journalism, English and political science at UNL.

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