Saints Sweethearts

Many couples have met and married at the University of St. Francis and their stories are fantastic! Please read on for the love stories of some of our alumni and happy reading…


Submit your own Saints Sweethearts story here!


Matthew ’10 and Michelle ’10 Bisek

picture of Matthew and Michelle Bisek holding their baby girl.We met the first day of freshman year in the Duns Scotus honors program. We hung out frequently as we shared many of the same friends. We started dating midway through our sophomore year. As two poor college students, dating on campus was great because there were so many Student Activities Board events to enjoy together. We also lived on campus for two summers, and USF really felt like it was our home away from home. Soon after we graduated we were married. Currently, we live out on the Oregon coast, where we have met quite a few people who have heard of our small University. It’s great to tell people about USF and the many fond memories we shared from our undergraduate experience. In August we had our first child, a sweet little girl named Evelyn. Maybe we should have named her Francis instead. (Submitted 2016)


Sam Nantz ’11 and Tony Burbatt

Tony and I met during our Writing Across The Media class in 2009; it was the first semester as Mass Communication students for both of us. We had several classes together but did not really make a connection past classmates until our senior year. Tony became the station manager for WCSF and I took a summer course of Applied Public Relations for Radio so we spent a lot more time just one on one. We have now been dating for three and a half years and became engaged on New Years Eve at midnight. We just snapped a few engagement photos at St. Francis for our upcoming wedding. We are both very grateful for USF and connecting us to each other. (Submitted 2016)


Robert ’12 and Jennifer (Festin ’12) Butcher

picture of Robert and Jennifer Butcher on their wedding day.On June 20, 2015, alums Robert P. Butcher and Jennifer M. Festin were married in St. Joseph’s Chapel at the University of St. Francis. It was only fitting that the 2013 graduates marry on the same campus where they met, dated and got engaged. The ceremony was officiated by Father Michael G. Foley. Photos were taken of family, friends and the bridal party on the outdoor staircase, near the fountain and Grotto area. A beautiful reception took place at Tuscany Falls in Mokena. The couple honeymooned in North Carolina (Go Duke!) and Mexico. Mr. & Mrs. Butcher currently reside in Joliet. (Submitted 2016)


Stephen Hertzog ‘15 and Christiana Grabavoy ’11

picture of Stephen and Christiana Hertzog on their wedding day.As I attended undergrad for elementary education I became good friends with a girl named Meghan Hertzog who often talked about her brother, Steve.
On July 30, 2010 I met Steve at a house party I attended with Meghan. We officially started dating when he surprised me by attending my undergraduate graduation for elementary education on May 7, 2011. We were engaged at the Morton Arboretum in the fall of 2013. I returned to USF to pursue my graduate degree in Reading while Steve pursued his degree in Health Care Administration. We were married on July 30, 2016, at the Cathedral of St. Raymond in Joliet and took our pictures with our wedding party in the quad at USF. We had our reception at the Bolingbrook Golf Club and honeymooned for two weeks in Hawaii. We now reside in Plainfield and enjoy every minute of married life, including our precious rescue tabby kitten! We feel very blessed to have attended the University of St. Francis. (Submitted 2016)


Carl ’80 and Debbie (Janik ‘80) Hunckler

picture of Carl and Debbie Hunckler dressed for their wedding.My husband Carl and I have been together for 39 years and married for 35 as of August 8, 2016. We met freshman year and dated all through college. We are still close to many people we met at CSF. Members of the classes of 1977 thru 1981 were very close while we all attended USF and still meet and keep in contact. Several of us met our significant others at the College of St. Francis (CSF), married and are still together. My college friends are the absolute best friends I will ever have in my lifetime. No matter how many months or years go by without seeing each other, the bonds we made are still strong. These are solid people who were influenced by the teachers and coaches who gave of themselves to mold us during our time there and beyond. My husband and I and many of our friends will always owe CSF so much for making us the people we are and we are forever grateful! (Submitted 2016)


Ben ’07 and Aubrey (Durish ’04, ‘07) Knight

picture of Ben and Aubrey Knight with their two children.Ben and I met as students at USF, but we were both in other relationships at that time. We reconnected after graduation when he sold me my computer at Best Buy. We started dating in 2009 and instantly fell in love. We got married in 2012 and now have two beautiful children – Asher (2012) & Mila (2013) and three cats! We are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together and all the amazing adventures along the way. (Submitted 2016)


Jason ’08 and Melissa (Versetto ‘08) Novak

picture of Jason and Melissa Novak holding their baby son.I scanned the classroom in search of a familiar face. Quickly, I recognized a friend and sat down next to him. He was the only person in the classroom of twenty or so students that I knew. The class was Church History. Two weeks into the semester, my friend dropped the class, and I scooted over into his seat to sit next to Jason Novak. Jason was taking the class as one of his theology requirements. I was taking it because I was a theology major. During the semester, we began talking. I took notes and doodled in Jason’s notebook while he slept through class. Jason ended up getting “A” in the class, while I got a “B!” We were friends for a year, dated for two years, and we’ve been married for four years! Jason still has the notebook from that class. (Submitted 2016)


Tony ’07 and Jamie (Redman ’08, ‘12) O’Gean

picture of Tony and Jamie O'Gean. Tony played baseball and I played softball for the University of St. Francis. The sparks flew, and from the first kiss, we knew it was love. After dating for five years we were married in 2011. We have two dogs, Walter and Payton, and are expecting our first child this month! (Submitted 2016)


Michael ’06 and Kerri (Watt ‘07) O’Shea

Our story began when we were introduced through mutual friends in fall 2004. We became good friends and quickly realized how much we had in common. It was only natural for our relationship to grow from there because it had felt as though we had known each other for much longer. We started dating in March 2005 just before Michael began his 3rd season patrolling the the outfield for the saints baseball team and I starting my first season pitching for the saints softball team. There are so many amazing memories we hold onto that we associate with St. Francis. My favorites… We would always go on walks around campus and I think we would walk around the entire campus at least 5 times. We would always go and work on hitting in the racquetball quarts at night in the Rec center. Little did we know, those memories were the start to many more. Michael graduated in spring 2006, and I graduated in spring 2007. We were engaged in October 2007 and married December 20, 2008. We just celebrated seven years of marriage this past December. We are proud to say we have accomplished amazing things in the past 7 years: We both completed our Master’s Degree and have successful careers. Michael is the Athletic & Outdoor Facility Manager for the Downers Grove Park District, and I am the Women’s Athletic Coordinator & Head Softball Coach at Joliet Junior College. The true blessing in our story is our family. We have two beautiful boys: Grady, age 5, and Finnegan, age 3. We have brought the boys back to campus to show them where we attended college. St. Francis will forever hold a place in our hearts. It was more than playing college sports and obtaining our degree. It was the start to all our greatest adventures… and for that we are eternally grateful. (Submitted 2016)


Nathan ’10 and Ashley (Kekelik ‘10) Schoell

Nathan and I met in 2006 as we started our freshman year on the men’s and women’s soccer teams. Between playing soccer and both of us majoring in Mass Communication, we spent a great deal of time together. We spent our summers visiting each other on the weekends and doing everything we could to make a long distance relationship work. I lived in Indiana at the time and Nathan was from Shorewood. After we graduated in 2010, we spent some time in Indiana and eventually ended up back in the Joliet area. We were married in August 2012 and welcomed a beautiful baby girl in September 2014. (Submitted 2016)


John “JC” ’11 and Stacy (Heap ‘10) Schoop

picture of John and Stacy Schoop dressed for their wedding in front of USF tower hall.I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. A small town boy from Sebring, Florida, and a small town farm girl from Minooka, chose the University of St. Francis on athletic scholarships to play football and softball. We remember having our first class together, Core 3, to be exact. We were the best of friends at the beginning and little did we know that years later we’d be married. We both had the best experience at St. Francis, in the classroom with some of the best professors and on the field playing the sport we loved. We thank God every day for our decision to go to the University of St. Francis. After dating for 6 years we just married this past June 2015 in our college town, Joliet, at the Jacob Henry Mansion Estate. Majority of our friends in our wedding party were friends that we met while attending the University of St. Francis. Therefore, our wedding pictures were taken at St. Francis. Today, we reside in Florida and proudly share our story of where we met. The song we danced to at our wedding was “The Keeper of the Stars” by Tracy Byrd. “It was no accident me finding you, someone had a hand in it long before we ever knew.” We will forever have a special place in our heart for the University of St. Francis! Thank you for bringing two hearts, across the country, together. (Submitted 2016)


Kevin and Mary (Kroeger ‘03) Sepulveda

picture of Kevin and Mary Sepulveda dressed for their wedding in front of a USF sign.Kevin and I met my freshman year through a mutual friend. We hit it off right away. As we spent the evening hanging out at a party at the softball house, we came to discover that his mother had been witness to a car accident I was in a week earlier and had come over to help me. During that post-wreck conversation, I told her I went to USF & she told me her son was a sophomore basketball player at USF and she asked me if I knew him. The school year had just started so I told her that I didn’t since I was just a freshman and didn’t know many people yet. She told the story to Kevin that day and as luck would have it one week later we met! From the day we met we were pretty much inseparable. We shared a major so we did what we could to take all the same classes. Plus he was a basketball player and I was on Spirit Line so I was always at the basketball games cheering him on. We have so many special memories from our time at St. Francis and we now love to come back to campus and tell our kids stories of our time in college where it all started! (Submitted 2016)


Dan ‘93 and Tracy (Carmack ‘92) Vogen

picture of Dan and Tracy Vogen with their three children.Tracey and I met at the end of her sophomore year, the end of my freshman year (yes – the ‘older woman’ relationship). We started dating that summer. We worked an internship at Argonne National Lab and stayed on through the rest of our time at the college along with a lot of great classmates. We married in May of 1994 and have been blessed with, and staying very busy with, three children (Tyler, a high school senior, Allie, a high school freshman, and Jenna, a 7th grader). We love every minute of it and hope our kids find collegiate adventures and relationships like we did. USF holds a special place in our hearts and we try to stay around and involved as much as possible. (Submitted 2016)


Joseph ’96 and Nicole (Basile ‘97) Walsh

picture of Joseph and Nicole Walsh.I met my future wife during recruitment weekend in 1994. She was visiting from Peotone High School, and I was a Sophmore Recreation Major. I was the Recreation Club President, and part of our responsibilities were to go over to Marion Hall and say hello to all the recruits. I knocked on the door, and little did I know, my future bride was on the other side. She walked out wearing a Peotone Blue Devil Basketball Sweatshirt, I said I was From Braidwood, and the rest is history. We talked and hung around the rest of the weekend, even went to Mass together. Orientation Weekend rolled around, and I was so happy to see that she chose St. Francis. We started dating September 20, 1994, and it has been an incredible ride ever since. We married June 12, 1999 and welcomed our daughter, Gwendolyn, to our family in January of 2010. Our wedding song was Shania Twain’s ‘Still the One’ and little did we know how perfectly that song would still fit us today. (Submitted 2016)


Dennis and Marilena (Fricano ‘08) Wozniak

picture of Dennis and Marilena Wozniak with their four children.My husband and I started dating July of 2006. On February 11, 2008, which was the feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, Dennis took the day off work and came to University of St. Francis to attend classes with me that day. After I was done with classes, we went and prayed in front of the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the court yard. It was so beautiful outside, and I remember it snowing while we were in front of the grotto. As we were praying, I started to realize that Dennis was proposing to me during our prayer time! It was the most beautiful proposal, and I will remember it forever! We were married on June 20, 2009, the feast day of The Immaculate Heart of Mary! We have been married 6 and a half years and have been blessed with four beautiful and healthy children– three boys and one girl! (Submitted 2016)