Dartmouth alums couple up

by Kate Mulley | 6/2/04 5:00am

The pre-graduation marriage engagements among members of the Class of 2004 are just the latest in a trend of married Dartmouth alumni that can be traced back to the first coed class of 1973.

College records list 3,368 Dartmouth alumni couples. Most of these have moved away from Dartmouth and the bucolic Upper Valley.

While most couples do leave for some period of time, many also find themselves back in Hanover with jobs at the College or in the surrounding area. Two hundred and eight Dartmouth alumni couples reside in the Upper Valley.

Dartmouth men's hockey coach Bob Gaudet '81 took a drawing class with his future wife during their sophomore summer.

Bob was the varsity hockey goalie and a studio art major. Lynne Gaudet '81, an economics major, wanted to take a fun class for the summer.

They were acquaintances before taking the course but got to know one another much better as they gravitated toward one another to avoid their "flaky" classmates.

The Gaudets started dating later that year and stayed together when he joined the Winnipeg Jets system and played for their minor league affiliate in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Lynne was working in Boston when he proposed to her in an airport parking lot before heading off to a game. They were married within the next year and moved back to Hanover.

While Bob's knee injury kept him from playing hockey, he was offered a job as an assistant working under his former coach at Dartmouth.

After five years at Dartmouth, Bob was offered the head coach position at Brown and moved his new family down to Providence. Dartmouth offered him the team's head coaching position eight years later, and Bob chose to take the Dartmouth job over an offer from Ohio State.

Lynne, who works in Alumni Affairs at the College, highlighted Hanover's phenomenal school system, with its high number of exceptional students, as an advantage to raising children in Hanover.

She also stressed that it was important for the Gaudets to live somewhere else before moving back to Hanover for the second time.

Either way, though, she said that she and her husband never could have expected to settle at Dartmouth in the long term, while they were students.

Chris Schmidt '96, a lecturer in the history department, and Erin Rowell '96, a surgical resident at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, started dating during their sophomore summer, after she returned from the Art History FSP in Florence and before he left for the History FSP in London.

They continued to date through graduation and maintained a long-distance relationship when she went to medical school in South Carolina and he taught and coached rowing at Philips Andover Academy.

When applying for residency positions, Rowell said that DHMC was her first choice because she loves both the institution of Dartmouth and the area that surrounds it.

"It is unusual and exciting to find an academic medical center in a rural environment with no traffic, affordable housing, outstanding faculty and residents who are receiving a great education and who are enjoying the learning process," Rowell told The Dartmouth.

Schmidt was working on his Master's in history at Harvard University and could commute from the Upper Valley.

They were married the week after Rowell's graduation from medical school and moved to Quechee, Vt. Schmidt was able to get a job teaching American history at Dartmouth. The history department has since hired other professors in that field, and Schmidt is spending the year working on his dissertation before starting at Harvard Law School in the fall.

Rowell also stressed that living in the Upper Valley was not the same as going to school at Dartmouth.

She said that friends would ask if life in rural New Hampshire was confining, but said that she has been able to separate herself from the College and the town of Hanover and that "it is certainly not stifling to be here."

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