Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is more than a place for theological education. It’s also a place where many people meet their life partner! On this Valentine’s Day, we celebrate all who found love at PTS. Here are three stories of alumnae/i who are also PTS Sweethearts!
Dr. Andrea Hall ’07 and the Rev. Dr. Sean Hall ’09
Began Dating: 2007
Andrea and I met in the summer of 2006 at PTS and soon became friends, but only friends. Around Valentine’s Day of 2007, I started spending a lot more time on campus due to car trouble (I lived off campus). Andrea lived in the dorm, and she and another dorm-mate had split a 10 pound bar of chocolate as a consolation for both being single. Around that time, Andrea had her cement lawn duck kidnapped from in front of her dorm room, and I saw her paying a ransom of brownies to get the duck back. So I stopped by every day for “protection” chocolate, to make sure nothing “happened” to her duck.
We began spending more time together and after a month of her dropping hints, I finally realized that she wanted to be more than friends. I played hard to get, but she pursued me relentlessly until I asked her out. (Note: she tells the story differently.) Four months later, she was going to spend a year doing volunteer mission work near a Coast Guard base, and not wanting to risk losing something so special, I asked her to marry me. We got married in 2008 with several PTS students, professors, and alums participating in the service, most of whom are like family to us to this day. Fourteen years later, we are happily married, serving the Church, and we have a beautiful daughter named Hannah with a second child due in June.
The Rev. Kalyn Stevwing ’19 and Mr. Felix Rivera-Merced ’19
Began Dating: 2016
Felix and I met at Orientation in 2015. He remembers me because I was complaining about moving. I remember Felix from two weeks later when Don Dawson, then head of the World Mission Initiative, pulled what I call a “Don.” I was working for WMI and Don asked me if I thought any of my new classmates would fit with our Southeast Asia trip planned for that spring. I waffled, and Don asked about Felix. Recalling Felix’s thoughtful responses in “Church History” I said that yes, he might be a good fit. Don encouraged me to talk to him.
The next day, I asked if he had plans to go on one of the WMI trips, and suggested the Southeast Asia trip. This is when I realized that Don had pulled a “Don”: Felix said it must be the Holy Spirit talking because someone just asked him yesterday about that very trip. That someone was Don. Don had set me up to ask Felix about the trip, knowing that he had already talked to him.
While on that trip, I realized I liked Felix beyond friendship, solidified once again by Don—Felix and I were goofing off in a swimming pool. Don came by and said, “Look at you two acting like siblings.” I heard a voice in my head very loudly and clearly say “NO!”
We started dating in August 2016, married in June 2018, welcomed our first child, Miguel, in August 2019, and our second child, Emilio, in December 2022. They are named with many people in mind but inspired by theologians Miguel De La Torre and Emil Brunner.
The Rev. Dr. Brian Snyder ’05 and Mrs. Michelle Snyder ’09
Began Dating: 2003
Michelle Hanna and Brian Snyder met in missiology class in 2002. Brian was just back from five years as a PCUSA missionary in Cameroon and thought he knew more than the professor. Michelle came to seminary not to prepare for ministry but because PTS respected her big questions about God and faith. Brian says he went to seminary with all the answers and came out with questions, and Michelle did the opposite. They seemed like an odd pairing to some, but they bonded over cigarette breaks and complaining about their evangelical childhoods.
In the summer of 2003 the New Wilmington Missionary Conference sent Brian to Thailand, where Michelle was traveling for the Valentour Fellowship, and their love was kindled somewhere near Chiang Mai. Their favorite professor, Dr. Susan Nelson, officiated at their wedding at Eastminster PC in 2004. Their first daughter, Chloe, was born four months premature while Brian was taking the ordination exams. She remained in the NICU for four months, and both PTS and Eastminster rallied around them with a show of support that they will always remember. Their second daughter, Greta, was born in 2005, the same year Brian graduated.
He has served in parish ministry ever since—currently the longest tenured clergyperson in Mt. Lebanon Township. Michelle’s graduation was delayed because of Chloe’s untimely birth. She graduated in 2009 with a joint MDiv and MSW in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh. Michelle has a very busy practice as a church consultant. They celebrate their 19th anniversary in May.
Did you and your partner meet at PTS and/or attend at the same time? Share your story with us below in the Comments.