We don’t always think of NYUers as an especially sentimental bunch. So every February when Valentine’s Day rolls around, it comes as a bit of a surprise to hear from so many alumni who are eager to share with NYU News how they met their soulmates on our campuses. This year, we’re featuring here just a tiny sampling of the stories that tugged at our heartstrings, with many more couples set to appear on our Instagram Story (@nyuniversity) on February 14. Love wins again!

Richard M. Traub (University Heights '68) and Dorothea Lawrence Volpe-Browne (WSC '68)

the couple in 1964

Richard and Thea, inseparable in 1964

the couple in 2018

The couple in 2018

piece of paper reads "I'm going to the mixer"

A memento Thea saved from the 1964 mixer where she met Richard

Thea and Richard met at the freshman orientation mixer at the University Heights campus in September 1964. “It was a whirlwind romance,” Thea remembers. “He asked me to dance, and that was it.” The two shared their first kiss outside the Gould Student Center that night, and they dated until the spring of 1966.

Then they broke up, and, after graduation in 1968, went their separate ways. “We each found a new love and married,” Thea says. “I have two children. Richard has a daughter. We each were widowed.”

Fast forward to 2009, and Thea received a message from Richard on Facebook. “I felt the floor disappear underneath me. I couldn't believe I was hearing from him,” she recalls. Then the two agreed to meet for lunch, almost exactly 45 years after they’d first met.

“We got sandwiches and sat outside. And we took up the conversation where we had left it off. It was as though we'd been apart a few weeks, not a few decades,” Thea says. “We were married in 2010 and we will celebrate our 10th anniversary on February 21, 2020. After our wedding ceremony we walked out together to the Beatles’ ‘When I’m Sixty-Four.’ That sums it up. We’re still crazy for each other.”


Hillela Simpson (Law '16) and Shana Knizhnik (Law '15)

Hillela Simpson (NYU Law 2016) and Shana Knizhnik (NYU Law 2015) sitting on the steps of the courthouse

Shana and Hillela first met at a reception held by OUTLaw, the Law School’s LGBTQ+ organization, when Shana was a first-year student and Hillela had just been admitted. Then, once Hillela started her first year and Shana was in her second, they bumped into each other again. And again, and again.

“We would run into each other all over the law school as we slowly turned a flirtation into a partnership,” Hillela recalls. “As first and second year law students, the majority of our time was spent in or around the law library, where we got to know each other over G-chat as we studied, sometimes unsuccessfully stifling giggles and getting dirty looks from other students. Later, we were both participants in the law school's Juvenile Defender Clinic, and spent countless hours in the clinic office on the 6th floor of Furman Hall.”

Now Shana and Hillela have been together for over six years, through the bar exam, the release of Shana’s book Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a clerkship in Philadelphia, two legal fellowships in Washington, D.C., and the adoption of a dog, Lola.

“We’re now happily back in New York City, where we are now both living our professional dreams as public defenders—we consider ourselves a #FightThePowerCouple,” Shana says. “We were married this past September in a Jewish ceremony and celebration, and then legally by Justice Ginsburg herself.”


Dr. Yakir Arteaga, (CAS '96, Dentistry '00) and Amy Hernandez-Arteaga, (CAS '97)

Dr. Yakir Arteag CAS '96, NYUCD '00  and Amy Hernandez-Arteaga, CAS '97

Amy and Yakir met as freshmen in professor Neville Kallenbach’s chemistry class, and were friends for years before “finally ‘finding’ each other as a couple,” Yakir says. The two were part of the Academic Achievement Program, which is designed to develop and enhance the experience of black, Latinx, Native American, and other underrepresented CAS students, and spent countless hours hanging out in what was then the AAP headquarters, in room 920 of the Main Building. “It was at the center of how we experienced NYU together, creating a supportive, comforting environment in the big world that is NYU,” Yakir says. “Every October, you could find us dancing the night away at Salsa & Merengue Night hosted at Eisner Lubin Auditorium in Loeb Student Center.”

The two were married on August 27, 2000, shortly after Yakir’s graduation from the NYU College of Dentistry, and will celebrate their 20th anniversary at his class reunion this March. Amy and Yakir have two children—Gabriel, 15, and Emily, 12—and a puppy, Lulu.

“All three keep us on our toes day after day,” Yakir says, “and remind us of what is truly important.”


Can’t get enough of these romances? Meet more NYU alumni couples—or share your own story of violet love—on our Instagram Story.  

Adalia and Nicolas Vansnick met at Tandon's graduate center and were married in Belgium (on July 1, 2017) and Trinidad (on July 8, 2017), with Tandon classmates Bharat Jain, Carlos Ospina, and George Kiriakou as groomsmen. Their daughter, Zoe, was born April 1, 2019. 

Emily Rose Eagen and Manuel J. Nivia met on the NYU Abu Dhabi campus for candidates weekend in the spring of 2010, before they were even officially students there. They were married in November 2016, in Dubai, and have one son.