A Valentine's Day Tale

Campus Has Been the Setting for Many a Romance

by Fernando Quintero

Lush surroundings, classical architecture and stimulating conversation are only a few of the many elements that make the campus a perfect setting for romance. Just ask Gail and Fritz Stern.

Gail, a senior administrative analyst for International and Area Studies, and Fritz, academic coordinator at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology, began exchanging knowing glances on Sproul Plaza 10 years ago and are now celebrating their third year of marriage.

Actually, as Gail later recalled, she first set eyes upon her husband-to-be in the produce section of a local supermarket.

"He was buying an apple," she remembered. "He was sort of the male version of Eve."

Then on Staff Appreciation Day in May 1986, Fritz returned Gail's gaze, smiled and introduced himself.

"I ran back to my office and looked him up in the campus directory," Gail said. "I was very happy to see there was no name listed after his--meaning, no wife."

Afterward, Gail asked Associate Vice Chancellor Pat Hayashi, her supervisor at the time, if he could vouch for her love interest.

"He said they were golfing buddies. I was trying to find out as much about him as I could," Gail recollected.

"Plotting, one can almost say," Fritz retorted.

Soon, Gail and Fritz were taking

lunch breaks together on a bench in Sproul Plaza, and they saw each other at Cal football games. Their courtship lasted nearly eight years. They were married July 18, 1993. The wedding reception was held at the Faculty Club.

Before he met Gail, Fritz said he thought the campus might be a good place to meet someone, although it appeared he never really gave it much thought at all.

Gail, however, was fully aware of the possibilities of meeting Mr. Right.

"I thought about it when I came here. I liked the university atmosphere, the people involved in higher education and the pursuit of knowledge. In general, people aren't here to make money. It's not a competitive corporate environment," she said.

"I thought working here would definitely increase my chances to meet someone I had things in common with."

Added Gail: "It's a romantic place. At nights with the little twinkling lights, it's just lovely."

As for Gail's tips on meeting that special someone on campus: "Smile and have lunch on Sproul Plaza," she said with a chuckle. "Turn on your brain cells and be aware of all these hunks walking around."

Fritz has similar advice for men.

"There's a large population of interesting and aware and informed people around here," he said. "If you keep your eyes and ears and heart open, you can find that significant other--or at least a good candidate."


Copyright 1996, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail berkeleyan@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.