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Love struck professors

Romance and relationship advice from the happy couples of Taylor’s faculty

By Lindsay Robinson | Echo 

It’s a familiar routine for any modern love story: the inevitable DTR and relationship update on Facebook, Instagram-perfect coffee dates, ultimately ending with a cute engagement post. But how did our beloved Taylor faculty members navigate dating before the magical combination of young love and technology? With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, a few of Taylor’s legendary faculty couples share how they met and fell in love, back in the day.


The Moores

John Moore is a professor of biology and his wife Cathy works in the music department office as the concert and tour coordinator. Their story is a freshman-meets-senior love story.

How they met:

John was student teaching as a senior at Taylor when he met Cathy, a freshman. John and his Third West Wengatz friends were at a rollerskating party when he spotted Cathy across the rink. He asked her to join him for the couples skate. He guided Cathy—an inexperienced skater—around the corners of the rink for most of the party. Afterward, John went back to student teaching and forgot about her until that January.

Meanwhile, Cathy developed an instant crush on this senior who had taught her to skate. Since no one on her floor knew him, she did some investigating.

“As one of my former wingmates pointed out on our anniversary, she remembered all the stalking incidents,” Cathy said. “He would be at the Dining Commons and I would wait until he got there . . . I would go out some place hoping I’d pass him.”

When they passed each other on the sidewalk, he would say hi to her, but he never saw her as anything more than a friend. Then, during second semester, there was an altar call during Spiritual Renewal week.

John saw Cathy go up to the front.

“I was thinking, ‘I wonder why she is going forward.’” John said. “I think I’m going to see if she wants to go out for a cup of coffee and talk about it.”

Little did he know that she was going to the front to ask God to let her concentrate on Him instead of her crush on John.

“So she goes back to the dorm and she gets a call from me . . . It’s a love story because we both decided we wanted to love God first,” John said.

After their first date, they went out every week after that. They were engaged in September and married in January during Cathy’s sophomore year.


“It’s a joke that he’s always wrong,” Cathy said. “He isn’t but he always says he’s sorry. I’m always quick to say ‘I’m sorry’. That stands out as something kind of unique.”

His tendency to be quick to forgive along with his adventurous nature are some of the qualities she most admires in him.

John says that his favorite trait about her is that she seeks after righteousness.

“It’s not about her, she wants to center it always in Christ,” he said. “That has been foundational for our relationship”


Their advice is to keep the foundation of any relationship centered around God first.



The Cosgroves

The romantic history of Mark Cosgrove, professor of psychology, and his wife Jo Ann, who works in the Zondervan Library, is anything but ordinary. It involves long-distance relationships and pot gardens.

How They Met:

Mark, then 29, had just received his doctorate and was working in Dallas, Texas. Jo Ann, 25, had recently graduated and was working in the same area as a social worker. They started going to the same Bible study at a nearby church.

A friend told Mark that he should ask Jo Ann out. Mark was hesitant because he had recently accepted a teaching position at Taylor, but decided to asked her out anyway. They went on a few dates before he started teaching a summer class at Taylor.

“On one of the dates Mark said, ‘We’re going to go back to my apartment, I’ll fix you dinner and show you my pot garden,’” Jo Ann said with a laugh. “So I’m like, ‘pot garden?’ We go to his apartment and his idea of a pot garden is growing green peppers and tomatoes in pots.”

Now reassured that Mark was not a drug dealer, but a lover of gardening, Jo Ann felt comfortable continuing the relationship. They exchanged letters and phone calls throughout the summer.

At one point, Mark returned to Dallas for a month and asked to stay with Jo Ann’s parents.

“We weren’t head over heels in love; we were sort of ‘just dating,’” Jo Ann said. “And at the end of the month he blurted out, ‘Will you marry me?’ We were actually in an argument to be honest.”

It was Mark’s last weekend in Dallas, and he wanted to ask her on Saturday over dinner, but Jo Ann didn’t want to go out anywhere that night. That’s what they were fighting about when Mark asked the question. Mark hadn’t even bought a ring at the time, but knowing he would soon have to return to Upland, he felt he needed to ask Jo Ann.

“I was caught off guard,” Jo Ann said. “I just sat there and I think I said, ‘Is that supposed to be something sort of romantic? . . . I don’t feel like I know you very well.’ When he left he did say, ‘That offer is on the table, always. In five years if you change your mind, call me.’”

For a month, Jo Ann felt unsettled about her response. Then her roommate asked her if she thought her restlessness was God’s way of telling her that Mark was the man she was supposed to marry.

During one of her calls with Mark, she told him she had changed her mind. In that moment, she felt overwhelming peace.

She said “yes” in October, and they were married in April of the following year. Her engagement ring has a cross on it instead of a diamond because Jo Ann says she’s not a diamond person.

“We married by faith and fell in love after,” Jo Ann said.

Their Relationship:

Mark appreciates Jo Ann’s personality, which he described, “As colorful as a sixty-four count Crayola box.”

“All the time, from 4:30 a.m. when she gets up to go jogging, to midnight when she goes to bed, there’s always laughter and talking,” Mark said.

Jo Ann said what she cherishes most about Mark is his attitude. She said he is kind and accepting about everything.


Jo Ann’s advice is to marry someone who is kind and thinks of others before themselves.

Mark’s advice is to stay committed to your faith, which makes you stronger as a couple.



The Bruners

John and Kathy Bruner, both media communication professors, are the dynamic duo of the film department. This power couple recounts their days as middle school sweethearts.

How they met:

Kathy Bruner’s dad was a pastor who had recently transferred to John’s church. His first impression was that she was beautiful but too young, as he was fifteen and she was twelve. So they didn’t start dating until she was fifteen and he was seventeen.

“We have been together ever since,” Kathy said.

He proposed on the front porch of her dorm in college, the September of her senior year. They dated six years before getting engaged and were married in June of ’87.


“He keeps our lives full of joy and celebration,” Kathy said. It’s one of the traits she most admires about John. “He’s just able to see the bright side in everything.”

John said Kathy is godly and rooted in Scripture. He said she has made him a better person.

“She is this amazing woman, but her one fault is that she has bad taste in men, and I am so grateful for that,” John said. “It has allowed me to be with her all of these years.”

John and Kathy have been married for 28 years.


Kathy said to expect to be flexible and give each other grace.

John said to take your time and make a great decision when it comes to choosing who you will marry. He said to know the inner person and worry less about superficial things.

“This whole Ring by Spring thing is the biggest mistake . . . how about ring by whenever it’s ready,” John said.


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