Academic Amour: Stories of Albion’s Faculty Couples

Five faculty couples pose in their wedding, engagement or dating photos. Left to right, they are Lia Jensen-Abbott and David Abbott; Tim and Beth Lincoln; Dale Kennedy and Doug White; Bob and Carol Moss; and Mick McRivette and Carrie Menold. (Collage by Jessica Behrman. Photos courtesy of the couples pictured.)

Albion College is home to multiple faculty couples. Many met before coming to Albion, then joined the college’s faculty as a team.

Some professorial couples shared how they met, how their love for each other grew and how that love has played out on campus.

Carol and Bob Moss, kinesiology professors

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These two sporty individuals stumbled upon each other at a Mid-American Sports Medicine Conference in Kalamazoo in 1985. At the time, Carol was an athletic trainer at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, and Bob was also an athletic trainer 284 miles away at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.

After the conference, Bob and Carol didn’t see each other for another year until Carol traveled to WMU with Kent State’s women’s basketball team. One of her players was also applying to the master’s program that Bob was involved in at WMU. Little did she know, that trip to Western would spark the beginning of a lifelong story.

“When I left Western, I got a letter from [Bob], and I thought it was about the student, but it was a letter to me asking me if I wanted to go out,” said Carol.

Carol agreed to go on a date. When Bob came to Kent State with the Western’s men’s basketball team, they went to a “bad movie” with “great ice cream,” said Bob.

Five months later, they were engaged, and in May of 1988, they said their “I dos.” Carol then moved to Kalamazoo with Bob where they both worked as athletic trainers. Three years after moving, they had identical twin daughters, Sarah and Lynn (and now have two grandchildren, Drew and Emmy).

While the couple was in Kalamazoo, several Albion students went to WMU for its athletic training master’s program. One of those Albion students decided to create an athletic training major at Albion and contacted Bob to ask if he would like to be the director. Bob said he would on one stipulation: Albion College had to create a position for Carol, too.

“They did their homework and found out Carol was the better end of the deal, so they created a position for her helping the injured athletes, and I started the academic part,” said Bob. “We moved over here in fall of 2000, and the rest is history.”

Since starting the athletic training department, about 100 students have declared a major through the program.

“All of those students became extensions of our family. I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” said Bob.

 

Dale Kennedy and Doug White, biology professors

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In a tale of birdwatching and creek romping, the story of the Albion-famous duo, Dale Kennedy and Doug White, begins at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Kennedy had grown up on one side of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia and finished her master’s work in North Carolina. White had grown up on the other side of the river and finished his master’s work in Tennessee. Their worlds collided in 1982 when they both attended graduate school at Rutgers and happened to go to the same Philip Appleman poetry reading.

Lured by their mutual interest in Darwinian poetry, Kennedy and White began sharing their love for birds.

“We were destined to be together,” said White.

While they were conducting biological research together out in the field, they came across a dried-out, rocky creek bed and picked it out to be the place for their wedding ceremony. When Kennedy was about 10 years old, she told her grandmother she wanted to get married in a creek.

They brought their ornithological and biological research to Albion in 1994 and have been collaborating on research in the Whitehouse Nature Center every summer since then.

“It’s been great [working together at Albion]. It’s nice to have the scientific collaboration and also nice to pop in around the corner and ask, ‘Hey, are you cooking dinner?’” said Kennedy.

Both Kennedy and White teach biology, environmental and Honors classes at Albion, collaborate on research with other biology students and continue to count the flocks of birds passing overhead together.

“On weekends, we’re driving around looking for birds, birdwatching together. And I suppose when we retire, we’ll do quite a bit more birdwatching,” said White.

 

Mick McRivette and Carrie Menold, geology Professors

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This adventurous and globetrotting couple have stuck together in their geologic endeavors, through thick Tibetan fog and thin Yosemite granite slabs.

Their story begins at the University of California, Los Angeles’ graduate school, which they both attended. Menold came all the way from Michigan while McRivette stayed in his home state.

The two met in 2003 when they both signed up for a summer class trip to Bolivia to conduct geologic field research. After the Bolivia trip, the two bonded over their love of the outdoors and traveling and started dating.

The following summer was Menold’s doctorate research season, and she needed a field assistant to help carry rocks and figure out logistics with her in Tibet. McRivette signed up. Unknowingly, they both had signed up for a trip that would test their relationship and their compatibility.

“That was the real relationship test,” said Menold. “We weren’t showering; we had one tent; and there was no one else to talk to for three months. So we were either going to be true love — we’re destined to be together forever — or we should’ve brought a second tent. But luckily it was the first, and it worked out.”

Then, in 2006, Menold moved back to Michigan and began teaching at Albion College while McRivette finished up his doctorate at UCLA. Right after Menold’s first semester at Albion, the two got engaged and two years later, in 2008, got married in California. Within a few days, they had their honeymoon in Hawaii and drove from California to Michigan just before McRivette’s first semester at Albion.

For McRivette and Menold, working in the geology department at Albion together has been completely natural and productive considering they’ve been doing research together since they first met.

“We each have different strengths. Mick is a map brain — if you need to know how to get somewhere, Mick can get you there, here I can buy food for 20 people without a list,” said Menold. “He’s really good at looking up the cool obscure thing that we would’ve never known was there, and I’ll find the best donuts on the whole island.”

 

Beth and Tim Lincoln, geology professors

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Albion’s geology department doesn’t just specialize in rocks: It boasts not one, but two faculty couples . Beth and Tim Lincoln are the OG (original geologist) couple and have been at Albion since 1981.

Their story starts seven in Massachusetts in 1973, when Beth graduated from Smith College and Tim from the University of Massachusetts. Even though the two schools are only seven miles away from each other, the two didn’t meet until they both moved across the country to go graduate school at UCLA (the same university that the other geologist professor couple, McRivette and Menold, attended about 30 years later).

At UCLA, Tim was scheduled to teaching assistant a class, but when he was unable to, Beth stepped in and took the job for him. A year after Beth took the T.A. job for Tim, they got married in 1974.

In 1977, their first son, Sam, was born and three years later, their second son, Mike, joined the family. Soon after, the four traversed the country again to Albion and moved into a house right across the street from campus. Tim and Beth began a job-share (where two professors work part-time to cover a full-time position) in Albion’s geology department in 1981.

In the early 2000s, they moved to the outskirts of Albion onto a 13-acre parcel of land right on the river and have “absolutely loved” living there. Sam has since moved to Jackson and Mike moved to the Philadelphia area, near where Beth and Lincoln went to their undergraduate schools.

Since 1981, the two have enjoyed working together as a co-functioning team in the geology department.

“It’s been wonderful. Your best friend is also your best colleague and is also your wife. What could be better than that?” said Tim.

 

Lia Jensen-Abbott and David Abbott, music professors

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David and Lia — a dog-loving, piano-playing couple —  share a fun, musical life in Albion. Their story together doesn’t start in Albion, though. They didn’t even start dating in the United States.

David and Lia grew up in the same music community of Lincoln, Nebraska. They had known about each other since they were young, because the Lincoln music community isn’t large, but they said they would’ve never guessed they would end up together and in the small town of Albion.

Lia attended the University of Nebraska–Lincoln as an undergraduate. In her junior year, her piano professor retired, and the university began looking for a replacement. David came from The Juilliard School to the University of Nebraska and began teaching Lia in her senior year.

Initially,  Lia didn’t want to study with David and insisted on studying with another professor who was also from Juilliard. It wasn’t until this professor left that she agreed to study with David.

Eventually, Lia warmed up to David and she began to prank David repeatedly. One time, Lia pinned up her schedule on the bulletin board for David but covered the entire piece of paper in thumbtacks that were pushed deep into the board, leaving David to pick out every single thumbtack.

“I still married her after that — amazing,” said David. “And she doesn’t think I love her enough, but that in itself is a good testament. That after all that crap, I still went and married her.”

But at the time, their relationship was strictly friendly and professional since David was engaged to a Swiss woman. In fact, when Lia graduated from the University of Nebraska and headed to Penn State University to start her master’s degree, David moved to Switzerland with his wife.

The two kept in touch. David grew unhappy with his marriage and moved to Zurich by himself after a divorce.

In 2003, David and Lia began a long-distance relationship and spent hours on the phone with each other. Lia went back to Lincoln to start her doctorate in music. In her last year, David moved back to the United States and applied for a job at Albion.

“We were just happy to be one time zone apart,” said Lia.

In 2005, David began teaching at Albion. In 2006, Lia became an adjunct music theory and piano professor at Albion. The two were finally together again, same time zone and all. One year later, the two got married after three years of long-distance and years pranking one other.

David and Lia live together in Albion with their five-year-old son, Charlie, and their two furry four-legged children, a Shih Tzu and a Yorkie.

For them, the easiest part of their lives is working together in Albion’s music department. They have similar visions for piano festivals and recitals, have similar judging techniques and share the responsibility of teaching Charlie how to play piano.

“We function as one total human being. We have complementary skill sets,” said Lia. “I’m the organized one, the on-time one, and he’s not, he’s abstract. We’re pretty sympatico.”

About Gabby Henriksen 21 Articles
Gabby Henriksen is a junior from Royal Oak, MI and is an English-Literature and psychology double major. Gabby was ranked sixth in the state of Michigan for pre-juvenile level figure skating and also rides horses at the Held Equestrian Center. Her favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut and she owns every book/letter/art piece done by him.

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