UC Riverside love stories

Campus is where it all started for these six alumni couples

February 14, 2020
Author: Madeline Adamo
February 14, 2020

There’s a lot of love at UC Riverside, from Hinderaker engagements (we saw our first last May) to weddings at the bell tower — and first dates too. This Valentines Day, alumni duos share their UCR love stories.


James Espinoza and Zoraida Martinez get married at the UCR Bell tower
James Espinoza and Zoraida Martinez get married at the UCR Bell tower

Zoraida ’15 & James ’12 

Spanish linguistics & Chicano studies, Media and cultural studies & Chicano studies

Married in 2019.

“We met on campus through Chicano Student Programs where we would both hang out in between classes. We were also both part of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlan (MEChA), and we shared classes within our Chicano studies major.”

“A good memory together from UCR was our first date where we received movie tickets by donating to a food drive created by ASPB.”

“We started dating in 2010 and decided to come full circle by having our wedding where it all started. The ceremony was held at the bell tower in front of our family and friends. And our Chicano Student Programs familia. Our fondest memories are walking around campus while getting to know more about each other. We got married Nov. 2nd in honor of Dia De los Muertos honoring and remembering our ancestors that came before us and guided our paths to each other.”


UCR couple Sonia & Mariah stand holding hands in front of Watkins
Sonia & Mariah in front of Watkins

Sonia ’19 & Mariah ’19

Both chemical engineering and chemistry

Married in 2017.

“We transferred to UCR together from San Bernardino Valley College. Sonia noticed me first while I was tutoring chemistry, and she pretended to need my help to start talking to me although chemistry was her strongest subject. We exchanged really sappy chemistry pick-up lines, such as, “Do you have 11 electrons? Cause you’re sodium fine!” and fell deeply in love.”

“A good memory together from UCR was attending the Dragalicious Dragball every year.”

“We co-founded “Out in STEM” at UCR, which is an organization that supports LGBTQ and POC in STEM. We both loved our jobs as chemistry and physics supplemental instruction leaders and working as undergraduate researchers.”


 Alumni couple Raquel and Justin on their wedding day in 2016.
Raquel and Justin on their wedding day in 2016

Raquel ’15 & Justin ’19

Psychology, Economics

Married in 2016.

“We met at track practice!”

“A good UCR memory was exploring the Botanic Gardens together.”








Alumni couple Fernando & Cynthia pose on a beach for a photo
Fernando & Cynthia

Fernando ’04 & Cynthia ’06

Philosophy and religious studies, Sociology and a Spanish minor

Married in 2007.

“Fernando and I met through a mutual friend who was dating Fernando’s roommate at the time. She had to drop off a book at my apartment and brought her boyfriend and Fernando along. He asked her for my number two days later, and we’ve been together since then.”

One of our favorite memories at UCR is The Barn. I worked at the Barn for 2-3 years, and he would meet me there for lunch or pick me up after my shift was over.”

“We have three handsome boys (2,7,9). UCR is very special to us because we both value education and appreciate that it brought us into each other’s lives.”


Alumni couple Craig & Tyler 16 pose together by a large boat anchor
Craig & Tyler

Craig ’17 & Tyler ’16

Engaged to be married in 2020.

“We met in Athletics. I ran track and she played soccer.”

“Favorite memories at UCR are: first picture we took together at Big West Track and Field Championships hosted at UCR, Tyler’s graduation, and Spring Splash.”








Alumni couple Andy ’94 & Keri ’94 stand in front of greenery
Andy & Keri

Andy ’94 & Keri ’94

Environmental science, Liberal studies

Married in 1998.

“We met at a Greek rush event. We exchanged phone numbers and had our first date at See’s Coffee in Canyon Crest Town center.”

“We always enjoyed the live music and entertainment at the nooners. The most memorable event would have to be seeing No Doubt play at the Homecoming Bonfire on the old IM fields. We both have very fond memories of UCR.”