In honor of a day where we publically and privately express our love for our significant other — aka Valentine’s Day — Columbia University is sharing the true love stories of its students and alumni. Every year, we share our own love stories among our Seeples, and have two new stories to share this year. One couple found love in a tile store, although not right away, and the other met in the Peace Corps and reconnected while studying at SIPA.

Looking for more love stories? Check out our archives of SIPA Love Stories here.

Sheethal and Tokumbo’s love story

My husband and I met in a small tile store when we were both renovating our apts.   He asked me for my advice on tile colors as we were both looking at the overwhelming number of choices.  He was wearing a Columbia sweatshirt, which made me at first more comfortable to talk to him.  After emailing about design and picking paint colors, we went on a lunch date and within a year we were engaged.  Now those tiles are my tiles and we’re working on a new renovation project together.  Our 8th wedding anniversary is coming up this year and we have two beautiful boys, 4 and 2.

—Sheethal S. ’02CC, ’06SPS + Tokumbo S. ’99SIPA


Sara and Mike’s love story

We met in Burkina Faso (during Peace Corps) but we fell in love at Columbia! Here’s our story & photo:

[Excerpt & photo from The New York Times] “Sara and I started to blush when we saw each other,” Mr. O’Sullivan said, “and I knew something was happening but wasn’t quite sure what it was.” But when he confessed his feelings for her, Ms. Riese, who described herself as a “logical person,” was shocked. His departure the next day for a two-week research trip in Senegal offered her time to mull it over. The e-mail from her he had been waiting for arrived the day he was to return to New York.

“I wrote in the subject line, “ ‘a cost benefit analysis,’ because that was what we were studying in graduate school,” Ms. Riese said, laughing. “I had weighed my options in terms of risking my really valuable friendship with him, and I had decided pursuing our relationship was worth it.”

—Mike O’Sullivan (MIA ’07)/Sara Riese (MIA/MPH ’07)
read the entire wedding announcement here.

[Photo courtesy of NYT / Emily Heizer]

[Photo courtesy of NYT / Emily Heizer]