For more photos from Commencement 2009, see the online photo gallery here.
Commencement Day 2009 was memorable for all 1,600+ students who received degrees, but it was doubly so for Joe Palumbo ’07, MA ’09. After receiving his master’s degree that morning, he proposed to his girlfriend, Christine Fasano ’07, that afternoon inside her old dorm room in Townhouses West.
“The room is where we always hung out together when we started dating, and also where we had our first slow dance together,” Palumbo said about the location. The couple, who have been dating since 2005, have returned to the room every year on their anniversary in hopes of seeing it again. “But we’ve never been able to get back in there,” Palumbo said.
So to make his proposal extra special, he decided he would do it inside the room where he and Fasano had shared that special moment. With help from Megan Furniss, a staff member in the Department of Residential Education and Housing, Palumbo gained access to the room a few days ahead of time and decorated it with his girlfriend’s old posters, photos, bedspread, and other belongings, making it look exactly as it did four years ago.
On Commencement Day (which also happened to be Fasano’s birthday) Palumbo took her for a walk around campus, stopping at various locations to remind her of a special moment the two had shared at each spot. The tour’s final stop was Townhouses West. “When we got outside the building, I think she thought that was the end of the line,” Palumbo said. “But when I opened the door to her old room and she saw that it was decorated exactly as it had been years ago, she was speechless.” Palumbo cued up the song they had danced to years earlier—“Out Loud,” by Dispatch—and popped the question.
“I wanted to recreate that first slow-dance moment,” Palumbo said afterward about his elaborate proposal. His plan worked. Fasano said yes, and the two are planning a July 2011 wedding.