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Blushing Badgers – 1980s

In between making mixed tapes, these Badgers found time to fall in love.

Badgers know that Cupid’s bow shoots missiles tipped with Motion W–shaped arrowheads. Students find chemistry with each other while sharing a Bunsen burner, or they make sweet music during a trombone lesson. We asked you readers to share tales of where love found you while you were on campus, and your responses brought an ear-splitting chorus of “Awwww…” We have space to reproduce only a fraction of what we received, which should still be enough to send the dial on the romance-o-meter spinning.

In this update, Badger grads of the ’80s share tales of campus romance. Check out the links below for stories from other decades.

More Blushing Badgers

Jim Pearson ‘85

Phoenix, Arizona

I first laid eyes on my future wife [Josephine Brunner Nelson], in January of 1980.  The prior fall was my freshman semester and I was singing with the UW Concert Choir under Robert Fountain. Second semester came with some voice additions to choir.  A couple of returning veterans who could not work Concert Choir into their Fall semester scheduling.  Josie was in her sophomore year returning as one of those choir veterans. She and the others were introduced individually so Josie would not have recollection of me that day other than I was another face in the group.

The moment was memorable for me because Josie was wearing a hoodie that on the front said: "Support the Arts." On the back it said: "Kiss a Soprano." What an entry.  She still has the hoodie, by the way, probably because of my now legendary story.

Over the next couple years in choir we became best friends by socializing (partying) with a group of our favorite choir people.  Eventually we began dating and have now been married for 27 years.

Our special place?  The rehearsal room in the bottom floor of the Humanities building.  It remains romantic for the two of us not because of our budding relationship but because that room continues to hold magical memories for us under the aura of Robert Fountain.  You see we were not music graduates but from that time to today we still sing in choirs due to the life-transforming experience of being in that choir.

Irene Olson ’86, MS’94</h2


In the TANK!  (That's the indoor rowing tank in the old Badger Boathouse.) I was sitting towards the front and spotted a good-looking new guy [John Olson ’80, MD ‘99] joining the group at the back of the boat. (There are large mirrors all around the front of the "boat" so you can evaluate your technique...)  Our coxswain invited us to go to the Memorial Union afterwards for a beer. I was a graduate student in URPL, rowing with the local rowing club and he had rowed for the Badgers as an undergrad.  The rest is history - we've been married 27 years!

Jordan Graham '88

Parker, Colorado

I met a dairy school student in sophomore year who was here from Italy. I remember a summer-like night early in fall semester when we went out for dinner, bought a bottle of wine and headed down to the Hoofers pier to dangle our feet. Before long the bottle was empty and - wearing just our underwear - we took a refreshing dip in Lake Mendota. Her spoken French was better than her English; I understood spoken French better than I could speak it (and I knew no Italian - other than her!) - so she spoke to me in French and I responded in English. I realized it was time to end the relationship when I found myself using deliberately complicated English.

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