Weekly Features


Hoosier couples talk living, working, studying with their significant other

Feb. 8, 2017

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Inside IU sat down with three IU couples who work and study together across campus. One couple recently moved here, one couple met at the airport and the other couple had their first date at IU.

Dan and Kristen Dake: Artistic couple have different roles in the College of Arts and Sciences

Dan and Kristen Dake


While Kristen and Roger "Dan" Dake aren’t Hoosier natives, they have made IU their new home recently.  

Dan is from Ohio, and Kristen is from Florida but spent time living in Asia before moving to Ohio during her high school years. The couple crossed paths by way of a chance living situation during their undergraduate careers at the University of Cincinnati, while she was studying fashion design and he was studying international business.

“I moved in with a friend who played in a folk band with Kristen, which provided me with ample opportunity to hang around their band rehearsals,” Dan said. “Though I was in a measure of denial regarding my feelings for Kristen, they eventually surfaced and our relationship developed rather quickly.”

Between Kristen’s five professional practice internships and Dan’s independent study in Antigua, Guatemala, and study abroad trip to Ireland, the majority of their dating relationship was spent apart. The couple married in December 2009 and moved to Chicago after Kristen finished her undergraduate degree.

Several years later, when Dan made the decision to pursue Ph.D. programs in philosophy, IU’s proximity to his family and the reputation of the College of Arts and Sciences' philosophy department and faculty made the university a natural choice. Shortly after relocating to Bloomington, Kristen joined the School of Art and Design as the communications content manager.  

In Chicago, their jobs put them on opposite sides of the city. Now, the couple commute to campus together and even make time to meet up during the day when they have some free time.

“Despite our different roles within the university, we are grateful for having a common purpose as members of the College,” Dan said. “We both highly value the humanities and the arts (as everyone should) and hope to contribute to the College's flourishing while we are here.”

Dan and Kristen have taken to the beautiful scenery in Bloomington and like to spend as much time outdoors as possible. They like to bike and take advantage of the hiking trails around Bloomington with their new Great Dane, Hopkins, named after Dan’s favorite poet Gerard Manley Hopkins. As newcomers to Bloomington, they planned to bike to campus together but have since discovered it’s not as easy as it was in Chicago.

“The hilly terrain won in the end,” Kristen said. “But those first few summer rides to campus and to downtown will remain memorable.”

-- by Bailey Briscoe, baibrisc@indiana.edu

Kevin and Dianne Brown: 'Road dogs' credit fate and IU for their chance encounter

Kevin and Dianne Brown


When Dianne Brown met her now-husband, Kevin Brown, she wasn’t so sure about him.

Dianne spent 26 years as a flight attendant before working for IU. On the day she met Kevin, she had been reassigned to cover a staff shortage.

“As I was walking through the airport toward the departure gate, I heard a voice in the distance say, 'Going my way again?,'" Dianne Brown said.  “As a flight crew member, I was very security-conscious, and, needless to say, a bit ‘creeped out’ by the statement.”

Kevin recognized her from a previous flight, as he had been travelling between IU and the University of San Diego at the time as a visiting professor.

“She acted somewhat stand-offish and kept walking toward the gate,” Kevin said. “Once I boarded the plane, I passed by her on the airplane and, once again, she ignored me.”

However, Dianne eventually initiated a conversation with Kevin during the flight. She learned he was a law school professor, and they exchanged contact information on the pretense that her sister was looking to attend law school.

“I guess one could say that meeting was a combination of IU’s role plus fate,” Dianne said.

The couple’s favorite memory is, of course, also tied to IU. Kevin was working with a study abroad program in South Africa about six months after they started dating, and Dianne arranged her flight schedule to get to spend two weeks with him in Capetown.

“I met her at the airport in Capetown, and she looked absolutely fantastic,” Kevin said. “She was struggling with about four huge bags that she had packed for the trip.  So it was at that moment that I decided to marry her.”

The Browns were married in 1999 and have been inseparable ever since. They both now work for IU -- Kevin as a law professor with the Maurer School of Law and Dianne as the event specialist for the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program. They enjoy that they can help each other with university-related questions, have some of the same professional connections and, of course, still get to travel.

“We tease that we are each other’s ‘road dogs,’" Dianne said. “He used to travel with me when I was working my flights and having layovers all over the world. Now, I am at his side during all of his travels for the university. I could not imagine having a better Valentine or being married to anyone else.”

-- By Laura Ellsworth, laurells@indiana.edu

Matt Baggetta and Jennifer Brass: Couple met when they were interviewed for the same job at SPEA

Jennifer Brass, Matt Bagetta, and Harvey Bagetta

Jennifer Brass, Matt Bagetta, and Harvey Bagetta | PHOTO BY FRANCES VANESSA PHOTOGRAPH

Jennifer Brass and Matt Baggetta met at IU after they both independently interviewed for the same faculty position focused on nonprofit organizations in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Jennifer came from U.C. Berkeley in California and was studying international development organizations; Matt came from Harvard in Boston where he was studying membership associations.

Instead of just hiring one of them, SPEA offered both of them a position, and they both accepted. They met on the first day of school: Aug. 1, 2010. They didn’t start dating until after several months after being on campus.

Every few years their dean, John Graham, holds a dinner and dance for the SPEA faculty. Jennifer and Matt were seated next to each other at the same table at the dance in November 2010.

Soon the music and dancing began, and Graham and his wife, Susan, invited them to join in.

“We sort of looked at each other and said, ‘Want to make everybody talk?’” Matt said.

So, the two of them danced.

“We retroactively decided that was our first date,” Jennifer said.

Matt and Jennifer were married in 2012. They’ve published a paper together, and in different years they were both recognized by the university with Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards. They also have a little boy named Harvey, who is almost 3 years old.

They really like being at IU and feel it’s a good place to raise their family.

“To have a university recognize you as a family and scholar -- this is a nice place to be,” Matt said.

-- by Mary Keck, marykeck@iu.edu

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