Campus Romance: Married Faculty Share Their Love Stories

Elisabeth Martin, Campus Carrier Features Editor

Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier Asst. Features Editor


Lindsey and Derek Taylor

Dean of Students Lindsey Taylor and Interim Director of Athletics Derek Taylor married in 2007. After meeting at the University of Mississippi as graduate students in 2003, the couple dated for three and a half years before marrying at Frost Chapel.

Because they were both hall directors at the university, Lindsey said her friends would tease her about him.

She said that her friends believed he was the man she was going to marry.

“I knew about him but he didn’t know about me,” she said. “Of course, I had already known people there so they were giving me a hard time. They would say, ‘this is your husband.’ So, for me, it was mortifying. This guy didn’t know who I was.”

She said that once, they went on a work retreat and their mutual friends tried to set them up. She said that they would often be left alone and this caused them to be partners for the daily activities.

“When we split up for car rides, they divided up so me and Derek had to ride in the same car,” Lindsey said. “The driver of the car was asking questions to try and connect us.”

She said she is unable to give a concrete date on when they started dating but she knew that the more time she spent with him, the more she liked him.

“I couldn’t say when we actually started dating,” she said. “There was nothing really formal about it. It just kind of happened.”

After the retreat, she said that at the beginning, their relationship was built on instances that involved spending their free time together and going to restaurants.

After college, Lindsey accepted a job at Berry as the area coordinator while Derek moved back to Missouri to work at Westminster College. After a one year long-distance relationship, Lindsey said Derek quit his job and moved to Georgia to be with her in the summer of 2006. They got engaged a few months later.

“We got married in January,” she said. “We lived in Centennial. I used to get emails from students saying someone was breaking visitation. I was like, ‘yeah, we’re married, I can’t get him to go away.’ It was really funny. We spent our first three years of our married life in Centennial hall with students.”

As professionals that have both worked at Berry College for over ten years, she said that their entire relationship has often involved working together.

“I think we are really good at being professionals,” Lindsey said. “Even in graduate school, we worked together so we have had to be real intentional about how we act in the workplace. It has been a part of our relationship.”

The Taylors have been married for 12 year and they have two children, six-year-old Ryan and nine-year-old Afton, who attend the Berry Elementary School. She said that she and Derek, once they get home, have another job to do: raise their kids.

“Being mindful that our family comes first, our boys,” Lindsey said. “Whatever is going on at work, they do not need to feel it. Our family is first.”

Jill and Zane Cochran

Jill Cochran, chair of math and computer science and associate professor of math education, and Zane Cochran, clinical instructor of creative technologies, have been together since meeting in high school in the Houston, Texas, area.

“We’ve known each other since high school,” Jill said. “I moved to the Houston area and that’s where he lived. I was a junior and he was a senior. We’ve been through several graduate and undergraduate degrees together, and we just passed our fifteenth anniversary. We knew each other five years before we got married.”

Their relationship began when Zane asked Jill to their high school homecoming dance.

“I tortured her a bit,” Zane said. “Every day for a week, Jill got a new clue. She knew she was getting asked out, but she didn’t know who it was coming from.”

“On the first day, it was balloons and flowers and the clue was ‘go,’” Jill said. “The next day was a pumpkin that had a stencil homecoming thing on it, and the clue was ‘home.’ The third day was a roll of toilet paper, and he had written stuff on every square of toilet paper all the way through. So I’m in the middle of class unrolling it and there was toilet paper everywhere. That was ‘and.’ The next day was a live lobster. I got a shoe box and opened it up and there was this live lobster, so that was one where I actually called my mom and said ‘you have to come get this, I can’t carry this around school all day.’ I think that clue was ‘play.’ So it was ‘go home and play.’ On the last day, instructed Jill to go to a park that evening.

“The idea was that she had to go to a park and there she would discover who had been asking her out all this time,” Zane said. “She went to the park, and I had my friend there, with flowers, begin to start asking her out. While that was happening, me and my other friend came up behind her and put her in a body bag and threw her in the back of a car while inside the body bag, and drove around the neighborhood for several minutes. At some point we finally went back to her parents’ house and dumped her out in the driveway. And then me and a big group of friends, we were in an acapella singing group, and we sang a song to her and I asked her out.”

That is how it all began.

After high school, Zane and Jill fell out of touch while she went to college and he went on a 2-year mission to Hungary. However, they got back in contact after Jill sent Zane a fake wedding invitation.

“He kept making all of these comments before he left about how all of the girls were going to be married by the time he got home,” Jill said. “When he had been gone a year, I got a good friend of mine from college to take pictures with me and we dressed up in hawaiian shirts and took pictures. We made this fake wedding announcement and I sent it to him. Of course, on the back, I wrote this really big ‘just kidding.’”

“I genuinely thought she was engaged to this goofy looking guy,” Zane said. “I thought, ‘who is this guy? That’s not the right guy for her!’”

When Zane returned to the U.S., they started dating and eventually got married in 2004. They have always been in school during different times while pursuing their various degrees.

“Of the 15 years that we have been married, there has not been one of them that neither of us were in school,” Jill said.

However, during their time together working at Berry, the Cochrans have enjoyed having a similar schedule and being able to collaborate on work together. They have even gotten the chance to lead study abroad trips to Norway together, bringing students who are interested in both of their fields of study: education and technology.

The Cochrans look forward to what the future holds together as they continue to raise their 11-year-old son, Asher.


Jordan Rowan and Coleman Fannin

Before working at Berry College, Assistant Professor of Religion Jordan Rowan Fannin and Adjunct Religion Professor Coleman Fannin traveled to states such as Texas, Ohio, Washington D.C. and Virginia for educational and professional purposes.

They first met at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Jordan said that she first saw Coleman at an interfaith retreat.

“I remember being distracted,” Jordan said. “I was talking with somebody else and I was distracted by the cute boy across the table.”

However, they met again in a Jewish philosophy class when Jordan was an undergraduate senior and Coleman was mentoring under the professor. She said that the first day of class she saw him across the room and on the second day, she moved closer to him to sit by a friend.

“We got to know each other as friends first,” she said. “We studied together, had a group of mutual friends and even gave blood together.”

Coleman said that the majority of their relationship at Baylor involved studying and spending time in the library. However, at the end of the 2003 semester, Jordan graduated and accepted a job in Washington D.C., while Coleman finished his Master’s degree at Baylor.

After a year and a half long-distance relationship, he joined her in D.C., where they got engaged. A few months later, Coleman left to start his Ph.D. program in Ohio. He said that during this time, they planned the wedding while separated until she moved to Ohio.

“We were finally together,” Coleman said. “We were apart for a lot of our dating time.”

Jordan said that their relationship has involved each allowing the other to pursue their passions. Goals such as higher education and internships were made possible through the understanding of each partner, Jordan said.

“Our version of romance is the moves and the being apart so that we could do what we needed and wanted to do,” Jordan said.

Moving to Berry in 2017, they both began working in the same department. Coleman said that working together allows the couple to understand each other more.

“You understand the life of an academic,” Coleman said. “You understand why your spouse needs to have time to do certain things, what the rhythms of that life is like, what grading is like, teaching is like. It helps to understand each other’s needs for their job.”

Married for approximately 14 years, Jordan and Coleman have two children, nine-year-old Cora and six-year-old Hutch, who both attend Berry Elementary school.

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