Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and this time last year I shared a week’s worth of love stories featuring some of our Seeple. I’ve teamed up with Columbia Alumni Association again to bring you even more SIPA-centered love connections. This couple was brought together by their love of tennis almost two decades ago, and tied the knot in the fall.

Michelle and Katie’s love story

I was a senior in high school and on my tennis recruiting trip at Columbia when I first met Katie (then a CC freshman on the Women’s Tennis Team). I was immediately impressed with her graceful one-handed backhand that reminded me of a bygone era of classic tennis. What also stood out to me was that she was so friendly and cheerful, asking me tons of questions about myself to try to make me feel at ease. To be honest, this had the opposite effect and made me feel slightly uneasy.  We’ve laughed about this first encounter so many times. I was a reserved and suspicious New Yorker and Katie was an outgoing and bubbly Southern California girl – it was obvious that we came from different worlds. It wasn’t until the following year, when I was a freshman at Columbia and teammates with Katie, that we really got to know one another. We soon became inseparable, she the yin to my yang, and it slowly became obvious to everyone that we were much more than just friends.

Fast forward eighteen years and we’re still inseparable, now settled in San Francisco after years of chasing each other around the globe and living in Washington D.C., San Diego, New York and Colorado.  I am happy and proud to announce that we just got married on October 30, 2015 (elatedly following the Supreme Court decision to allow same sex couples to marry across the U.S.). Our wedding was a small but elegant affair, with the ceremony being on the Mayor’s Balcony at San Francisco’s City Hall and the reception at the Legion of Honor – it was the perfect setting, surrounded by Rodin sculptures. Having Rodin’s “Thinker” at the Legion of Honor was a primary factor in choosing this venue, as it brought us back to our wonderful days together on the steps, in the classroom and on the courts at Columbia University.

—Michelle Haruvi, CC ’01 and Katie Umekubo, CC ’00, SIPA ‘03

Photo courtesy of Michelle Haruvi | Michelle and Katie’s wedding ceremony at City Hall and reception at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, CA.