• NC Sweeties couple

We’re celebrating NC romances for Valentine’s Day this year. You nominated and now it’s time to vote (February 9-14). The sweetest of sweet couples will be announced February 15.

The winning couple will receive four tickets to the 2018 Harvest Trail Dinner and the nominator of the winning couple will receive four tickets. Both winning couples will receive reserved seating at this year’s Alumni Dinner during Fall Festival.

Read about the nominated sweeties below!

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Read about the nominees

NC Sweeties: Joe Amber
Joe Mrnak ’16 & Amber Acker ‘16

Nominated by Tyler Couch ‘16
Amber and Joe met their freshman year at Northland. During their time at Northland, they “ecoleagued” for a semester at Alaska Pacific together. A beautiful dog named Tamarak (nickname “T”) entered their lives during their senior year at Northland. They both graduated with Natural Resources degrees in 2016 and since then, have moved to North Dakota, where Joe is in graduate school and Amber is working towards obtaining her teaching license. They are getting married this coming May. These two are Northlanders to the core and both my homies for life.

NC Sweeties: Kasey Michael

Kasey Arts ’17 & Michael Sinclair`16

Nominated by Meghan Vondriska ’16
Kasey and Michael are my favorite couple. Period. They met when Michael was a sophomore at Northland and Kasey a freshman. She and I were on the volleyball team together; she thought Michael was super cute and with a little nudging from friends, they wound up going on their first date. It was the stuff of romcoms—going canoeing together and getting caught in the rain. Kasey’s friends sang “Kiss the Girl” to tease her for the next week! The two began dating in the fall of 2013. Just over four years later, these amazing NC Sweeties are due to get married this September in a beautiful Wisconsin forest. These two have been together through thick and thin, and made their relationship work even when separated by thousands of miles. Watching their love story develop makes me believe that love is real, and I can think of no couple more worthy of this than Kasey and Michael. Plus, it would be a terrific way to celebrate the beginning of the rest of their lives!

NC Sweeties: Autumn Chris

Autumn Kelley ’98 & Chris Duke ‘99

Nominated by Lilian Soshnik-Tanquist ’15
Autumn and Chris are the epitomai of Northland College sweeties! After meeting on their Outdoor Orientation trip, they started dating and both graduated from Northland a year apart – Autumn in 1998 and Chris in 1999. They then proved their endurance as a couple by hiking the Appalachian Trail together and soon after went on to spend years serving Northland College and the wider Chequamegon Bay community through their separate careers. Chris has nourished the students, staff, and faculty of Northland with the organic vegetables he grows on Great Oak Farm, while Autumn has spent years caring for the bodies and souls of Northland’s students as a most beloved school nurse. I cannot think of a more deserving couple than these two!

NC Sweeties: Erik and Elizabeth

Erik Blow ’14 & Elizabeth Alexson ’14

Nominated by Jake McGinnis ’14
Erik and Elizabeth met in 2010 during their first hours at Northland. On their Outdoor Orientation trip, the wind came up, and they found themselves stuck on Waverly Beach east of Ashland. It was there, on the south side of the big lake, that they started to talk about Nordic skiing.

Sometime later that fall, Erik and I walked across campus together. It was late at night, and in a soft voice that I will never forget, he told me how he felt about Elizabeth-that he liked her more than he could ever explain, that he could already imagine building a life with her.

Over the years, they’ve shared adventures from Ontario to Mexico, but they’ve never quite left Northland behind. From the beginning, their love for each other has been deeply placed—from their OO trip along the sandy south shore to their circumnavigation of the lake the next spring to their new home outside of Duluth. They know their love of each other because they know their love of the northwoods.

Erik and Elizabeth were married within earshot of the lake in the late summer of 2017, almost exactly seven years after they’d first met. And when I told this story that afternoon, they still hadn’t stopped talking about skiing.

NC Sweeties: Pat Mike Pesko

Pat ’73 & Mike Pesko ‘73

Nominated by Jim Quinn ’73
Pat and Mike met at Northland College and always seemed the perfect couple. When I saw them at Fall Fest, they still seemed the same way. Kind of lost touch with them until a few years ago. They’re just as happy as when they met. Great couple!!

NCsweeties: Shawna and Andy

Shawna (Smith) ’91 & Andy kennaly ‘91

Nominated by Ruby Dennis-Weber ’91
Shawna and Andy started dating either sophomore or junior year. The pair were inseparable both on and off campus. After graduating from Northland they got married and moved to Kentucky where Shawna became a nanny and Andy attended the seminary. They have three grown sons Cole, Grant, and Mark. Shawna is currently a ski instructor at Schweitzer and Andy is the pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Sandpoint, Idaho. If you knew these two back in the Northland days, you would swear they have not changed one bit.

NC Sweeties: Leah Tyler

Leah Jaynes ’16 & Tyler Klein ’16

Nominated by Megan McPeak ’16
We all know Nick Robertson and the love he has for his wife Megan, well this love story is just as great because it started in Nick’s lab. Leah and Tyler flirted for months it seemed before the finally “made it official.” The chemistry between these two bright minds is palpable. Since graduating, they have both moved to Ithaca, New York (which is where Nick and Megan met) to further their education and lives together. They now are a happy family with a cat name Chandler. They have been happily together for 2 years

NC Sweeties: Eric Katie

Eric Vacha ’12 & Katie Olson ’13

Nominated by Katie Olson ’13
I suppose our story starts like most college romances. We were set up by a mutual friend who thought we could just have a good time but it would never work. In reality, neither of us were looking for anything serious and didn’t want to commit. Eric messaged me on Facebook to meet at a party in the townhouses later that night and after a short courtship, we have been together for 8 years.

NC Sweeties: Canfield Family

Scott Canfield ’06 & Katie (Revak) Canfield ’08

Nominated by Carrie (Canfield) Hein ’09
My name is Carrie and I am Scott Canfield’s younger sister. I also attended Northland College. My Outdoor Orientation (OO) trip was early fall 2005 with other fall sports athletes. Katie Canfield (Revak) was my OO leader. Katie and I became friends on this trip and after returning I introduced her to my brother, Scott. Later on, Katie told me that she thought my brother was cute. I, of course, relayed this compliment to my brother. From there, the rest of the story writes itself!! Scott and Katie are married and have three beautiful kids! I couldn’t be happier to have met Katie on my OO trip and have her find my brother. Not only am I happy to see my brother so happy with Katie, but I also gained a pretty cool sister-in-law!

NC Sweeties: Sparks

Lynn (Richter) Sparks ’03 & Craig Spark ’04

Nominated by Lynn Sparks ’03
Craig and I started dating in high school, when it came time to decide on colleges, we both fell in love with Northland. He graduated in 2004 and I graduated in 2003. We stayed in Ashland a couple years then moved to Vermont so he could attend law school. After his graduation in 2009, we were married and had our “moving to Alaska” honeymoon. We enjoyed our time together at Northland and the experiences we had there.

NC Sweeties: Crawford Otis

Daniel Crawford ’76 & Marguerite Otis ’76

Nominated by Laura Nguyen
Dan and Margy met at Northland College while Margy was working the switchboard at Dan’s dorm in 1974. She kept trying to get his attention and he finally noticed! Dan was on the wrestling and football team; Margy never missed a match or opportunity to cheer him on. They fell in love and married on December 27th 1975. They bought land outside Ashland and built a log home where they reside today. They had two children and both had successful careers in Ashland as a law enforcement officer and an elementary school teacher. Now retired, Dan spends his time hunting and fishing around the Northland. Margy has an active social life and enjoys spending time with her grandsons. Both are still going strong and as sweet as ever!

NC Sweeties: Wollgasts

Dave Wollgasts ’01 & Sara (Young) Wollgasts ’03

Nominated by Tim Miller ’03
Dave and Sara met their first day at Northland during orientation. If I remember the story right when they first met, Dave thought Sara was a “dork”! He must have changed his mind fast cause they started dating that first year and have been together ever since. Dave is one of the most genuine guys you’d ever meet and they both would do anything for anybody. They both are very involved in the community and they also have counseled young couples that plan to marry. They are a great role model for a marriage and I definitely wish I could see them more often!

NC Sweeties: Wrights

Kathy (Keup) ’91 & Paul Wright ’90

Nominated by Tami Walker Richardson ’90
It was 1987 when Kathy and Paul first saw each other in choir. A sweet friendship developed as Paul was a Phi Sig and Kathy was a Phi Sig “little sister.” During a choir trip to Japan, their friendship deepened into something more. Paul and Kathy both graduated from Northland then got married on July 27, 1991. Looking for adventure, they tried living the dream in Alaska but a shared love of Lake Superior called them back. Their children, Ben and Bethany, consider themselves to be from Ashland even though the family now lives in Marquette, Michigan. Paul and Kathy are still in love after more than 27 years together.

NC Sweeties: Bill Jodi

Bill ’98 & Jody Miles ’98

Nominated by Laura Quest ’99
Bill and Jody Miles got married the summer after graduating from Northland in 1998, so they are coming up on their 20 year anniversary and reunion! Their love has only grown in the last 20 years and their roots from Northland are in everything they continue to do today.

NC sweeties: Sullivan

Denise Wood Sullivan & Brian Sullivan ’80

Nominated by Nancy Franz ’81
These two Northlandites met at during their time at Northland and have been together ever since (late 1970s to present). Everywhere they went on campus they glowed with mutual love for each other and it made us all smile. Through the decades they found many ways to share their love with others including teaching and other public services. The world would be a much nicer place if more people were so full of love like they are! It all started at Northland!

NC sweeties:

Kristen (Fox) ’08 & Corey Boe ’08

Nominated by Jill Keiran ’08
Corey and Kristen met in 2005, shortly after Corey transferred to Northland. They met in the gym, as they both played sports for Northland. They dated all through their time at Northland and both graduated in 2008. They married and have lived in Estherville, Iowa, for the past 8 years. Corey is currently a PE/Health Teacher and Kristen is an online health and fitness coach from home. They have a daughter, Addison, who is 5 years old and a 7-month-old baby boy named Jaden.

NC sweeties:

Kiel (Gardow) ’08 & Mike Stevens ’08

Nominated by Katie Canfield ’08
They met at Northland as freshmen in 2005 when Kiel was a lifeguard and had to kick Mike out of the pool. They were inseparable. They were married in 2008 and have been by each other’s side ever since!

NC sweeties: Nugent

Jaime (Speck) ’99 & James Nugent ’98

Nominated by Jaime Nugent ’99
We met on OO when our two groups ran into each other in the Turtle Flambeau Flowage. Became best friends, got married, and now it’s 21 years later and we’re living happily in Minneapolis raising 2 future Northlanders!

NC Sweeties: Angela and Tyler

Angelena Koosmann ’13 & Tyler Sikora ’11

Nominated by Jaime Nugent ’99
Tyler and Angelena both completed a natural resource management degree from Northland College—the two met over a summer of working together when Angelena was Tyler’s boss. They fell for each other fast and quickly grew to be a part of each other’s family. Though most of their relationship was spent at a distance due to work, the two have made it work for 4 years. Tyler and Angelena became engaged in the winter of 2016 while ice fishing with family and got married in February 2017.

NC sweeties: Macintosh

Chrysa ’08 & Daniel McIntosh ’13

Nominated by Kiel Stevens ’08
Chrysa and Daniel met in Chrysa’s final year at Northland. She was part the red-life team in the Mellc, and he was an incoming freshman hockey player who lived in her wing and had some less-than-quiet friends. Obviously, they saw a lot of each other. It wasn’t until the end of the year though that they started dating, and since then, their relationship has strengthened and endured through events that would have crumbled most ordinary relationships. Their relationship, however, is anything but ordinary, and I am blessed to call them my friends.


Alums Spring and Nick are Northland College sweethearts

Nick Houston ’15 & Spring Holz ’15

Nominated by Clara Bruner ’15
Nick and Spring met their freshman year at Northland and were dating by their first May term. They went through a lot at Northland both in their relationship and through their activities. Together they worked to establish the DICE theme community which strived to bring people together through all types of game. They were also advocates for the LGBTQ community and welcomed everyone as friends

During our last May term, we prepared for the long-awaited day. We walked to get our diplomas but then we quickly ran to Stage North in Washburn for Spring’s and Nick’s gradu-wedding.

They are still happily married and bring the same welcoming Northland spirit to the city of Milwaukee were they work at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center (the perfect job for Northland Alumni)!

Alums Adrian Diaz and Julia Fair

Julia Fair ’15 & Adrian Diaz ’16

Nominated by Stacy Craig ’04
Julia and Adrian both work from their hearts, they both push boundaries and they both majored in sustainable community development and social justice. It’s just too sweet. After graduating Northland in 2016 (both of them), they moved to the Minneapolis area where Julia is in graduate school and Adrian works with community organizing and planning. They are engaged to be married, and no matter who wins this competition, I hope everyone feels a little more love in the world knowing these two.

Alums Mike & Jill Kieran

Mike keiran ’09 & Jill Falck ’08

Nominated by Kristen Boe ’08
Mike and Jill met their freshman year of college where they shared a major and the same circle of friends. They started dating the summer before their senior year in 2007 while working for the U.S. Geological Survey as interns. They married on September 10, 2011. Mike currently serves in the United States Coast Guard and Jill is a stay at home mom to their two young kids Lucas (4) and Allison (2). They reside in Key West, Florida.

Will and Erin Schlager

Will Schlager ’11 & Erin Adams ’11

Nominated by Amanda Wold ’11
Will and Erin are two peas in one pod. They have been together for 10 years and have done a great deal along the way. Each is passionate about education and conservation. In 2009, I spent a semester with Will in Central America in the CELL Program. While in Honduras Will was the first of our group to come down with a sickness that included severe chills, stomach issues, and fever. One night near the border of El Salvador and Honduras our group was sleeping in a barn on hammocks, it was hot and humid and everyone was very uncomfortable. Will, being sick, chose to spend the night on the floor next to the door due to the severity of his discomfort and literally crawled between the outside latrine and the barn through multiple trips during the night. Everyone’s heart went out to Will. The next day I was sitting and visiting with Will and asking him how he was feeling while trying to coax him to drink some water. He looked at me and told me he was homesick for Erin and how much he loved her. This was one of the most profound moments of truth-telling I have ever received from another person, the purity of his feelings and the way in which he spoke about Erin was absolutely incredible. These two have had many adventures both separate and together. They are funny, kind, thoughtful, and joyful in their interactions with each other and others. I am so glad that they found one another and that they share their love with the world. Cheers to you Schlagers!

Amanda Stick-Wold ’11 & scott wold ’09

Nominated by Jocelyn Sida
They met at NC and a beautiful friendship flourished. As they both embarked in real-world adventures after college their friendship grew stronger every single day. After almost 9 years of friendship, they married in September of 2016. A union that was witnessed by family and friends and perhaps over 20 NC alumni!

Alumni Elise and Lincoln Cruz at graduation

Elise Niemeyer ’12 & lincoln cruz ’12

Nominated by Stacy Craig ’04
Their circumnavigation around Lake Superior for Sup Conn connected them to the land, the superior watershed, and each other. Lincoln and Elise’s love story is intertwined with their Northland experience. Lincoln proposed at the Board of Trustees meeting as a student trustee, and they were married on graduation weekend. If there was a ‘most considerate’ or ‘most kind’ sweetie category in this contest, these two would take the cake. They are now living in Virginia, where Elise continues to work in urban planning and development (which she started as the interim city planner for Ashland the year after she graduated) and Lincoln is now a certified arborist, which can be traced back to his work with Jay’s Tree Care in Ashland. Their paths have taken them out into the world and into what they love, but they stay connected to the Lake and Northland whenever and however they can.

Northland College alums Linda Rise and Andy Noyes

Linda rise ’87 & andy noyes ’84

Nominated by Gina Kirsten
Linda and Andy spied one another in their Social Change and Movements class at Northland College in the fall of 1984. Professor Damrell had no idea that simply by offering this class during that particular semester that he would be setting up a romance that has stood the test of time and contributed mightily to the social changes and movements of the entire Chequamegon Bay area. Andy fell in love with the girl who had the pet ferret and Linda fell in love with that guy who played the guitar. He lived in the house on 8th street that “looked normal on the outside” and she in the stone house south of campus. In short time they beat a steady path between the two–with pit stops at the Boar’s Head–and began to build their life together. They’ve never looked back and their love has not only sustained the two of them but all of us who live in this area. Their combined impact on this community can be felt on almost every corner. From the Music Center to the Chequamegon Food Co-op, from Big Top Chautauqua to the homes our friends and neighbors live in, they have truly shaped the social movements of this region. Andy has provided the soundtrack and Linda the steady counsel that have moved the Chequamegon Bay society to dance and thrive.

Alums Leah and Joey Norton

leah moder ’05 & joey norton ’05

Nominated by Steve Wammer
Leah & Joey met during orientation as first years—Joey from Kentucky, Leah from Superior—close to love at first sight! Joey played baseball & Leah played softball. He threw the first no-hitter for the LumberJacks and not to be outdone she threw the first no-hitter for the LumberJills (a perfect game!) a couple weeks later. They have two kids and after a stint in Arizona are back in Superior where he is a meteorologist on Fox 21 and she is a teacher.

Alumni Zeke and Kia

Zeke Roth-Reynolds ’16 & Kia Haugen ’15

Nominated by Jessica, Anna ’15, and Eleanor Cousin
Friendship sows the seeds for many a great story; stories of trips in minivans, killer bees, and empty tequila bottles. Friendship can also sow the seeds of love, and that was exactly the case on the day of our Floyd in the year 2014.

Zeke and Kia met in the most classic of Northland ways, when Kia led Zeke’s freshman orientation trip through the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness, titled “Porkin’ in the Porkies.” Fast forward to a year and some months later (early November 2014 to be exact) and ZeKia found that their friendship had sprouted into a romance. As Kia would send broken text messages to Zeke’s unreliable phones and Zeke would trek from campus to her off-campus home, The Bloob, their fondness of one another blossomed. Many walks through bogs, games of “What Are the Odds”, sips of Hamm’s, hacky sack circles, hours spent toiling at Coon Skin Acres, and Garcia cuddles have gone by since those early months of their relationship, and I still feel the warmth and happiness they exude when I am around them.

The respect and mutual appreciation these two have for each other is heartwarming and peaceful. Since graduating from Northland, their bond has only strengthened as they face life’s challenges of tiny house construction and carsickness (not helped by the geographical features of Wisconsin’s driftless region, where Zeke & Kia currently reside). Northland College has a reputation for nurturing the roots of beautiful relationships, and I feel so lucky to experience this one close up. ZeKia are some of my dearest friends, and their relationship is one for the ages.

Alumni Allison Mills and Drew Martin Cramer

Allison Mills ’11 & Drew (Martin) Cramer ’11

Nominated by Stacy Craig ’04
Drew was Allison’s leader for her Outdoor Orientation trip, and that is how they met. Even though they felt an immediate connection, as any good leader should do, they waited a solid five hours after the OO trip before hooking up. They were a sweet couple all through their campus days and were married on Clare Hintz’s farm. They adopted a dog, which they found on their Tom Fitz geoscience field trip. They are currently residing in the UP, where Drew has supported Allison through graduate school at MTU and through Lyme’s disease. They can still say that they feel lucky to have found each other at Northland all those years ago.

Alumni Charlie Krysinski and Lilly Soshnik-Tanquist

Charlie Krysinski ’16 & Lilly Soshnik-Tanquist ’14

Nominated by Stacy Craig ’04
Lilly and Charlie met the first week that Charlie arrived on campus as a freshman. Despite encounters at the Black Cat and being dance partners at Coffee Houses, it was a few years before they began their friendship. Some people just compliment each other so well, its now hard to imagine them not together. That’s how I feel about Lilly and Charlie. They are both deep thinking, deep feeling beings who continue to work and act in the world that moves us ever closer to compassion and justice. They are currently out in Santa Cruz, where Charlie is attending grad school, but I know they keep the north woods, the Lake, and NC close in their hearts. Cheers you two!

Alumni Cassie (Bodette) '11 and Marty Schoofs '10

Cassie (Bodette) ’11 and Marty Schoofs ’10

Nominated by Erin Schlager ’10
This is Northland Alumn Cassie and Marty posing in front of Northland glacier in Alaska. Cassie and Marty were clearly in love the moment they laid eyes on each other and you couldn’t help but notice. They oozed love in the way that made you want to roll your eyes except the only thing you could do is smile and find someone to fall in love with yourself. They still do. If you want to find two people who support each other to grow, learn, and live well, then look no further. You can find them up in Alaska hunting and gathering and enjoying all that life has to offer. And if that’s not enough for you, rumor has it that the pop-y love song, “Four leaf clover” by Moosbeard and the Beardless Bandits inspired by a certain someone pictured above. It really is the best NC Sweeties Valentine’s song.

Alumni Tom Smedley ‘87 and Janelle (Ravenscraft) Smedley

Tom Smedley ‘87 & Janelle (Ravenscraft) Smedley ‘87

Nominated by Tom Smedley ’87
Selfishly plugging ourselves … we met @ Northtland in 1983 (over beers, shocker), and formed a bond that nothing can shake. Married now for almost 28 years … with a love of the outdoors, all things furry, live music & travel … we’ve been sweeties with a side of best friends. Pulled to Northland for different reasons, but staying together for the same ones. Now living in Hayward, but trying to return to the big pond every chance we get. “Lake Superior is like a bungee cord, the farther away you get, the more it pulls on you.” – Tim Doyle

I love you Janelle, always will.

Alumni Travis Schroeder '04 & Laura Kutka '04

Travis Schroeder ’04 & Laura Kutka ’04

Nominated by Justin Kutka
Travis and Laura met on their freshman outdoor orientation trip, Castin’ the Kagen and Cruisin’ the Croix. Laura was the only girl (other than the leader) of the trip, so you could say she had her pick of the litter. Laura found Travis loud and obnoxious and Travis found her quiet and introverted. Both share a love of outdoor pursuits and after the trip they bonded and cemented their friendship over Marty Stauffer’s Wild America and hunting videos. Not long after this, they were found almost exclusively together and began dating later in freshman year. If opposites attract they are proof of it. They got married in 2005 and have a boy and girl together, whom they are teaching to also love and respect the outdoors. They live on a farm and each year are working to becoming more self-sustainable.

Alumni Dave and Sandy Neuswanger

Dave Neuswanger (77) & Sandy (Saiz) Neuswanger (77)

Nominated by Dave Neuswanger ’77
Dave first encountered Sandy in a spirited debate over some long-forgotten policy issue while attending a meeting of the Student Action Group for the Environment (SAGE) at Northland in fall of 1974. After a couple snowball fights and one particularly slow dance at the Alvord Theatre, they became inseparable partners who celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on January 7, 2018.

Under coordination by the Sigurd Olson Institute, Dave and Sandy spent the summer of 1975 sharing a tent and working together during the first floral surveys conducted on the Apostle Islands before they opened for public use as a National Lakeshore. Having passed that compatibility test, they were married on January 7, 1978 in Chicago, Illinois, by Northland College Professor of Philosophy, Pete Kaufmann.

Dave and Sandy migrated south to Missouri for graduate school and to start a family. Dave worked for 23 years as a fishery biologist and supervisor for the Missouri Department of Conservation, while Sandy taught in Kirksville public schools. In Missouri they raised two sons – Jason, a PhD fisheries ecologist in Seattle, WA; and Bryan, an education coordinator in Hayward, WI. Those apples fell close to their trees.

In 2002, global warming prompted Dave and Sandy to migrate back to the North Country, where Dave worked 12 years as fishery supervisor for the Wisconsin DNR at Hayward, and Sandy taught school at the LCO Reservation. They are now happily retired on 5 acres bordering the National Forest along the Teal River east of Hayward.

Alumni Carly (Clemens) '09 & Tyler Stephenson '10

Carly (Clemens) ’09 & Tyler Stephenson ’10

Nominated by William Schlager ’10
Carly first met Tyler in Fenenga Hall while writing him up for some late night shenanigans. Eventually Tyler matured enough to convince Carly to marry him and now they are living the dream. They have a little farm in Emerald, Wisconsin, where they grow the most delicious bacon, and (as of this writing) they are working on future Northland alumnus number two.

Alumni Max Metz '10 & Lorraine (Wolfe) Metz '10

Max Metz ’10 & Lorraine (Wolfe) Metz ’10

Nominated by Erin Schlager ’10
Max and Lorraine are goal setters and go getters! To give you an idea: these two built a yurt while at Northland and lived in it for two summers; they both worked for Northland after graduating and left the Chequamegon Bay to spend three years serving in the Peace Corps in Panama. They’re committed to building strong, sustainable communities and are intrepid explorers both at home and abroad.