How Notre Dame professors met their
Notre Dame Professors
We met in the fall of 1984 at the Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies ("Stanford Center") in Taipei, Taiwan. Lionel was a Ph.D candidate from the University of California, Berkeley, and Susan was finishing an M.A. at the University of Michigan.
A romance of heart and mind and of rare intensity was made, over long walks, bus rides, lavish hotel brunches, elegant Japanese meals and the best Chinese food in the world. We spoke for hours on end about life in general, China, academics, love and many other things, blissfully mindless of the imperatives of time. We knew we were meant for each other, still it took us several years to work out the details of how to be in the same place, but we were married in Detroit in June 1988 and moved to Stillwater, Okla., where we taught at Oklahoma State University.
Since then we have had two children, Hannah and Elena, finished two PhDs, written or edited six books (one of them together, China Off Center: Mapping the Margins of the Middle Kingdom, published in October 2002), taught at the University of Oklahoma, University of Colorado at Denver, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Denver, and the University of Pennsylvania. We moved to Notre Dame in 2000, and are pleased to stop moving!
Our children are now in elementary school and junior high. We continue to share our passions for China and the life of the mind, along with love of family, friends, and good food. It's been a long and sometimes bumpy road but our love and respect have allowed us to face the challenges and keep laughing together.
Lionel M. Jensen and Susan Blum
Here's how "it all really happened ..."
My wife and I always joke that we had an arranged marriage. That's because our mothers met long before we did, during a shopping trip at Best and Company (back in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio), at the scouting department, and each had a great first impression of the other.
However, their meeting occurred when we were 12 and 10 respectively, and we didn't actually meet each other until several years later, in the front hall of Eileen's junior high school. I was attending the Spring glee club concert with friends, and she was singing in the "Beauty Shop Quartet". The rest, as they say, is history.
Harvey and Eileen Bender
Shortly after arriving at Notre Dame, I was invited to a luncheon for new faculty hosted by the Provost's office. While there, I caught sight, at a distance, of another new professor, and something about him attracted my attention. However, the luncheon ended before I had a chance to meet him.
Immediately after the luncheon, I walked over to the O'Shaughnessy Copy Center and, as luck (destiny? providence?) would have it, there he was standing in line. Not one to let an opportunity slip by, I introduced myself by saying, "Weren't you just at the lunch for new faculty? So was I!"
We soon learned that we shared a common passion: we were both Philadelphia Phillies fans. I had just moved from Philadelphia, but he just happened to have lived there at that critical moment of a boy's life when he becomes interested in baseball and had since moved away. Such fidelity to an historically mediocre team could be taken as evidence of irrationality, but struck me as a reassuring sign in a potential spouse. We were married that May and will celebrate our 20th anniversary this year.
JoAnn DellaNeva and Thomas Flint
All Scene Stories for Friday, February 14, 2003