Queen's Love Stories

Leslie Galbraith and Rob Baker
Leslie Galbraith, Artsci’90, MAC’93, and Rob Baker, BFA’86, LLD’16

Here on campus, it’s not unusual to see couples walking hand in hand, doe-eyed and smiling as they travel from one limestone-clad building to the next. For whatever reason, Queen’s has a disproportionate number of people who have connected and fallen in love between study breaks. Whether they met in class, through participating in student activities, or by simple happenstance, these five couples are proof that love is definitely in the air at Queen’s this Valentine’s Day.

Leslie Galbraith, Artsci'90, MAC'93 & Rob Baker, BFA'86, LLD'16

Rob and Leslie knew each other during their high school days in Kingston and started to become closer friends during their time at Queen’s. Leslie enjoyed taking photos, so she would help out Rob and his friends — who were in an up-and-coming band called The Tragically Hip — by taking publicity shots and concert photos. She says Rob “was never on my radar” because he was in a relationship, so she just considered him a good friend.

Leslie eventually moved to Toronto to take photography at Ryerson University and the band would often visit when they had shows in town. One night while out for drinks with the band, Rob — who was no longer in a relationship — leaned in for a kiss. Leslie remembers thinking, “Oh no. Please don’t ruin a good friendship,” but was surprised she really liked the kiss. Soon the pair were dating and Leslie decided to come back to study at Queen’s. They were married two years later in 1989.

Elizabeth and Justin Valentines

Elizabeth (nee Pile), Artsci'07, & Justin Ho, Cmp'07

Elizabeth and Justin met during their first few weeks at Queen’s and were soon part of the same friend group. They got to know each other that first year hanging out with friends in the Ban Righ cafeteria, singing in Queen’s Choral Ensemble, studying at BioSci, and attending church together.

As they spent more time with each other, their relationship deepened and they officially started dating in second year.  Sixteen years later, they have been married almost 10 years and are the proud parents of two young children.

Jalpa and Emmanuel Alumni Valentines

Jalpa Shah, Artsci'12, & Emmanuel Grappe

Jalpa and Emmanuel didn’t know each other when they moved into 30 Garrett St. Turns out they would eventually be living together for the rest of their lives.

Jalpa was a fourth-year Biology student and Emmanuel was on a year-long exchange from France. They started as friends, but once they became a couple, their housemates were worried about the house dynamics if they broke up. “It turns out that that wasn’t a problem since we stayed together,” says Emmanuel.

At the end of the year, he went back to France and they continued their relationship long distance for three years before finally both settling in Paris. When they came to Canada for Christmas in 2016, they visited Kingston and Emmanuel proposed in front of Grant Hall. “I was completely surprised when he asked me to marry him,” Jalpa said.

The couple were married in June of 2019.

Stacy and Mark love story

Stacy Kelly, Artsci'93, & Mark Julien, Ed'08

Although Stacy Kelly and Mark Julien were not Queen’s students together, they first met on campus. Mark, then working at OCAD, was at Queen’s in August 2001 attending a conference hosted by Queen's Admissions, where Stacy was then working. Mark walked into the admissions office to ask for directions and the first person he met was Stacy. “Mark spent the rest of conference chasing after me and I spent the rest of the conference running away. But Mark was persistent in a wonderful way,” says Stacy, who admits he was a little clueless and shy about Mark’s feelings initially.

The conference ended with dinner and a dance in Ban Righ Hall – that’s when the two finally danced together and the sparks flew. Eight years later to the day of that first dance – Aug. 15, 2009 – the couple were back in Ban Righ Hall for their wedding reception. Queen’s played a big role in the wedding. They were married in Theological Hall, photos were taken outside Summerhill, the wedding party had many Queen’s alumni, and most out-of-town guests stayed in Leggett Hall. As Stacy likes to recall, "Mark was lost and looking for directions that day back in 2001. In many ways, so was I. I am so glad we found each other that day."

Paolo, Artsci'10, MSc'13, & Marina Uy, Artsci'13, Sc'18

Paolo and Marina engaged at Queen's pub

If you were in the Queen’s Pub on Sept. 19, 2015, you couldn’t have missed Paolo and Marina. He was wearing a tuxedo and she was in a wedding dress. The pair had just gotten married in a local church and came to the QP to take photos at the table where they first met.

Their love story started at the pub in 2011 when they met each other there through a mutual friend. Paolo proposed at the stroke of Midnight on New Year’s Eve at the end of 2013 at his family’s home. “Her smile lights up the room. I remember thinking I could get used to seeing that smile for the rest of my life,” Paolo says. Their engagement photos were taken at the Queen’s Pub and it was a natural choice to go there on their wedding day for more pictures. “We were getting a few stares from the customers,” says Paolo, noting their wedding was one week after classes started.

Elamin and Emily love story

Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Artsci'11, & Emily Burns, Artsci'09, MA'11

Elamin Abdelmahmoud, Artsci’11, spotted a beautiful girl on a bus coming home after class. After coming across her picture on Facebook, Elamin took a chance and reached out to Emily Burns, Artsci’09, MA’11.

A year later, Emily had a confession – she wasn’t the “bus girl.” She didn’t know Elamin, but a mutual friend said Elamin was a great guy so she decided to accept his mistaken date proposal.

Five years later, they were married on Aug. 4, 2012.

Isabelle and Derrick love story

Isabelle Duchaine, Artsci'14, & Derrick Dodgson, Sc'13

Credit Queen’s vibrant student life for helping this couple fall in love.

“I was a history/politics student and Derrick studied civil engineering – we didn’t have classes together. We probably would not have even met if we were at another university,” Isabelle says.

They got to know each other while working at the Alma Mater Society and through activities such as Queen’s Model Parliament. The couple were married in 2017 and recently welcomed a baby boy to their family.  


Did you meet your partner on campus? Be sure to join the conversation on the Queen’s Alumni Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts on Feb. 13-14 this year to share your love story.