Love in Pirate Nation ECU alumni share their Pirate Proposals and love stories


Andrew Gillis ’14 and Katie Dodge ’15

Andrew Gillis and Katie Dodge were family friends but attended different schools growing up. They reconnected at ECU and became closer thanks to their mutual love for the Pirates.

In December 2016, Andrew popped the question; he and Katie are now planning for a purple-and-gold-themed wedding in July.

Andrew graduated from the School of Education and Katie graduated from the School of Communication.

Craig’89 and Elizabeth Stanley’88

Elizabeth met her husband of 27 years in 1987 at a Greek Week planning session. As president of the ECU chapter of Alpha Phi sorority she was tasked with coordinating the events for that week with Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity. Craig Stanley served as president of Alpha Sigma Phi and attended the meeting Elizabeth set up. The rest was history.

In 1990, Craig and Elizabeth got married and now have three kids: Katie who graduated from ECU in May 2017, Emily who is currently a freshman at ECU and Clay who is a junior in high school.

Since leaving ECU, both have served as advisors and in the local house corporation boards for their Greek chapters. They have been active members of the Pirate Club for 27 years; Craig is the former president of the Pitt County chapter.

Craig graduated in 1989 with a degree in business education and is employed by Vidant Health as a physician outreach manager in strategic development. Elizabeth graduated in 1988 with a degree in marketing and is employed with Pitt County Schools

“ECU is an integral part of our lives. Our Pirate story has continued for over 30 years as we've shared many good times in the Pirate Nation.”

– Elizabeth

Clint Steele ’16 and Molly Sanino ’16

Love can be found anywhere on campus, even in a residence hall. Molly Sanino met her fiancé, Clint Steele, at Clement Hall, where they both lived. With their two dogs in attendance Clint proposed outside of the place they first met on Dec. 16, 2017.

Molly Sanino received a degree in criminal justice; Clint graduated with a degree in finance with a concentration in risk management and insurance.

Brandon Little ’12 and Brettelyn Knell ’12

Brandon and Brettelyn met in during their freshman year in Tyler Residence Hall.

"He pulled a prank on me… he told me that the big box in the elevator contained a futon that they no longer wanted and offered it to me. When I looked in the box, one of his friends jumped out at me,” Brettelyn said. "He later came up to me in the dining hall and apologized for scaring me, but I didn't remember who he was. We started seeing each other more often and have been together ever since.”

That same year Brandon and Brettelyn began volunteering at ECU’s Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. Helping others allowed them to see a side of each other they may not have otherwise seen and helped them fall in love. They are planning their June 2018 wedding.

Brandon graduated with a degree in social work and is currently working on his master’s degree in youth, family and community science with an intended graduation date of May 2019; Brettelyn graduated with a degree in speech and hearing sciences and is currently working towards her doctorate in audiology with plans to graduate May 2020. Both are enrolled at ECU.

Ryan ’12 and Jennifer Cole ’12

Ryan and Jennifer met in the Theatre Arts building at ECU. Ryan built the stage scenery upstairs in the scene shop, and Jennifer painted it downstairs in the paint shop. They were best friends for a while and figured out during their senior year that they were in love with one another.

Ryan proposed in front of the Messick Theatre Arts Center in August 2014; they got married on Sept. 17, 2016 and recently moved to Syracuse, New York.

Both received degrees in theatre arts (design and production).

Paul Hinson ’90 and Carolyn Justice-Hinson ’89

Paul Hinson studied criminal justice and worked as a police officer in Carolyn Justice-Hinson's hometown, where they met. After they began dating, Paul decided to go back to school for his bachelor’s degree, opening up many doors and leading to a successful 30-plus-year career.

On May 13, 1989, they were married at the fountain in front of Wright Auditorium. Paul worked for ECU Police and Carolyn worked in the athletic department before retiring.

Pat ’10 ’11 and Elyse McRae ’11

Elyse Cannon McRae and Pat McRae met at ECU in history class. She graduated in 2011 with a degree in history education; Pat graduated from ECU with a degree in history in 2010 and his master of arts in teaching in 2011.

It was during a South African history class that the girl with the big smile and big curly hair sitting in front of him – partially blocking his view -- caught Pat’s eye. “We started out super good friends,” Elyse said. “He’d make me dinner because I had the books for the class, so we’d study together.”

After graduating, they both secured teaching positions at South Central High School in Winterville, starting in August 2011. When they started officially dating in late spring 2012, “it was the talk of the school,” Elyse said.

Today, Elyse teaches courses in world history, advanced placement psychology, and advancement via individual determination, which focuses on academic and life skills to prepare students for college. She is also SCHS prom coordinator this year.

Pat, known as “Coach McRae” at South Central, teaches American history, civics and economics. He also coaches the varsity baseball and the cross-country teams.

When asked about their favorite ECU memory, Elyse said there were a lot of memories involving studying together when they were just good friends.

“And Barefoot on the Mall, when Pat was a junior, sticks out,” Elyse said. “We spent all afternoon together that day with my best friend Nyeasha, but we didn’t realize we’d end up being together and soul mates.”

Ryan ’10 and Ashleigh Weymann ’10

Ryan met his wife in the athletic training room at the Ward building in 2008. He was a wide receiver on the football team and she was an athletic trainer. A minor injury brought the two together when Ashleigh treated Ryan before a Tuesday practice.

Ashleigh graduated in 2010 with a health fitness specialist degree; Ryan graduated in 2010 with a degree in architectural design.

"Her smile got me and we have been together for almost 10 years, married for six and have a 2 year old who loves Pirates!"

- Ryan

Jeremy ’14 and Christina Horne ’14

Jeremy and Christina met at the 2012 ECU vs. Memphis football game. Neither planned on going, but fate and persistent roommates brought them to the game and placed them in seats next to one another.

After hanging out that night, and a text a few days later, they’ve been inseparable ever since. He proposed to her in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at midfield on March 16, 2014, and they got married Nov. 1, 2014.

Jeremy graduated with a degree in criminal justice; Christina graduated with a degree in public history.

Evan Kidd ’14 and Arlie Honeycutt ’15

Evan Kidd and Arlie Honeycutt met their freshman year at a Welcome Week event hosted by the ECU Alumni Association called Walk the Plank.

During the Alumni Association event, students were able to enjoy the Marching Pirates, free food and a screening of "Date Night" on the mall afterwards.

Arlie's roommate was in the band, so naturally she went to support her even though she didn't know anyone else at the event. Arlie walked over to a Dippin’ Dots cart and waited in line next to a cute boy, Evan. They hit it off, and she asked him if he wanted to sit on her blanket to watch the movie. Fast forward seven years, and they are planning their May 2019 wedding!

Evan has a degree in cinematic arts and media production; Arlie received a degree in vocal performance and was Miss North Carolina 2012.

Stephen ’07 and Rachel Whipple ’08

As a junior, Stephen Whipple met his wife, Rachel, during her sophomore year. They dated for eight years, and he proposed under the cupola when they returned for the ECU vs. ASU football game in 2009.

Right before the proposal, Stephen planned to trick Rachel into coming to campus by claiming to need new shorts from Dowdy Student Store. After working a 12-hour night shift as a nurse, all Rachel wanted to do was go to their friend’s house and relax. At the time, she claimed she had no quarters for the meter on campus, but luckily for her, Rachel's sister had some in her purse and she made it to campus for Stephen’s surprise proposal by the Cupola. Stephen even had "No Quarter" engraved in her wedding ring.

They have been happily married for almost seven years and have two future Pirates!

Stephen graduated with a degree in health fitness, and Rachel earned a nursing degree.

For more Pirate love stories check out our Facebook and Twitter posts!

Created By
Morgan Tilton


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