More than 800 Chapman alumni have married and many others are dating

Well-launched careers, memories and lifelong friendships aren’t the only lasting treasures Chapman alumni come away with when they graduate. Many also find wedded bliss.

More than 800 Chapman Sweetheart couples are married and countless others are dating. Some met before coming to Chapman where the romance blossomed, while for others, sparks ignited on campus in chemistry labs and on mock trial teams.

One thing is universal; Panther Pride seems to be magnetic, bringing couples together for lifetimes of happiness and adventure.

Ariana Burris (JD ’09) Jason Burris ’02 (JD ’08)

Ariana and Jason met in law school at Chapman in 2007. They kept their relationship a secret to avoid the “drama” if discovered. But one night, as they left school together, their professor James Rogan, judge of the Superior Court of California, spotted them and said, “Well, well, well. Are you two an item?” Ariana said he nodded in approval and walked away, “basically blessing” their relationship. The couple married in 2012, welcomed daughter Cameron in 2016, and run Burris Law in Orange–a firm staffed with many Chapman interns and employees. “Running our firm has deepened and broadened our relationship,” Ariana says.

Charla DelaCuadra ’04 and Jeremy DelaCuadra ’04 (M.A. ’10)

Charla and Jeremy’s love story begins in middle school marching band. They began as close friends, dated in high school, and married eight years after college. They both decided to attend Chapman for its music program. “I consider us to be very lucky to have grown in complimentary and parallel ways over our college years rather than grown apart,” Charla says. Today, they live in Old Towne Orange. Jeremy enjoys his job as band director in the Santa Ana Unified School District, while Charla is catalog librarian and archivist at the Huntington Library in San Marino. They perform with Symphony Irvine, where they both serve on the board of directors.

Pat Elliott ’60 (M.A. ’74) and Tom Elliott ’60

Pat and Tom met on a blind date in 1957 while attending what was then Chapman College. Within weeks, Tom left for the U.S. Army and was stationed in Iceland. Daily letter writing kept the relationship alive. “You learn a lot about someone by corresponding by letters,” Pat says. A year later, Tom proposed. They married two weeks later and will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in August. “A lot of things have held us together,” says Pat. “Commitment, church and travel are the big ones.” They started traveling across the world together in 1962 and have been to 72 countries–and are still counting.

Ami Garvin ’98 and Jeff Garvin ’98

Ami and Jeff met during Orientation Week at Chapman University in 1994. “I was smitten,” Jeff says. They dated their freshman and sophomore years but lost touch after breaking up. Ami moved to San Diego to teach music and Jeff to Los Angeles to do “the film director/actor thing.” They ended up back in Orange County in 2006 as they were both going through divorces. A mutual friend invited them to a party, not telling them the other was coming. “We both left the party thinking, ‘Hmmm, something’s there,’” Jeff says. They were married two years later and now have two children. They enjoy their creative lives together: “She’s a music teacher; I’m a writer and musician,” Jeff says. “There are musical instruments all over the house. It’s fun.” They also appreciate their mutual love for Harry Potter. Jeff says, “One of my fatherhood highlights is reading Harry Potter to our son.”

Cheryl McNabb ’84 and Alan McNabb ’84

Alan and Cheryl met when Alan turned around to Cheryl in a science lab at Chapman, asking her what the professor was talking about. She did not answer him. “I disliked him immediately,” she said. And yet, they were married five years later. They moved to Washington, D.C., where Alan went to medical school and Cheryl attended graduate school and worked for the Environmental Protection Agency. Alan’s service in the Air Force took them to Japan for three years, before they settled in the Sacramento area and had their two daughters, Brenna and Tara. “The best ways to keep a marriage going are riding a tandem bike together, putting Ikea furniture together and playing doubles tennis,” says Cheryl, laughing.