This Valentine’s Day, timing and chemistry prove to be the perfect recipe for love, especially for a particular pair of Methodist University faculty.
Most of the MU community knows Dr. Scott Marosek as a professor of Music and Dr. Stephanie Hooper Marosek as the head of the Natural Sciences Division at the University. As if their names didn’t give it way, even fewer people know the two have been happily married for 14 years. An even smaller group knows their love story began on MU’s campus and how timing played a critical role in it all.
“It’s probably a mix of fate and luck. A slightly different sequence would have led us to completely different places,” said Stephanie Hooper Marosek.
Before their journeys at MU began in 2007, the two were in completely separate areas of the country. As Scott was wrapping up his Doctor of Musical Arts at the University of North Texas, he was also teaching at a small college in Keen, Texas.
“I was thinking about packing up everything and moving to New York City to try to make it as a musician,” he added. “But as I was teaching a summer music camp in upstate New York, I got a phone call asking me to apply at Methodist University. I interviewed, got the job and moved to Fayetteville.”
During that same time, Stephanie was in the process of completing her Doctor of Philosophy in Analytical Chemistry at Virginia Tech. She hadn’t considered teaching until her last year of graduate school, when students told her she had a knack for it. After interviewing at various colleges and universities, Stephanie ended up at Methodist University in 2007.
They both would tell you neither move would have happened without the help of one MU faculty – the late Jane Gardiner, longtime chair of the Music Department and founder of Friends of Music at MU.
“At the time, Jane was the piano professor and when she was promoted to administration, it created a job opening for me. On top of that, Jane also was one of the people who interviewed Stephanie when she was considering Methodist. Jane always took credit for our relationship. She even signed our wedding card, ‘You’re welcome’,” said Scott.
However, up to this point, Scott and Stephanie had not met each other. That quickly changed on August 15, 2007, when MU hosted an orientation meeting for new faculty. Stephanie first spotted Scott during a chapel service at orientation, where Scott was playing piano.
“He’s pretty good at it,” Stephanie said with a blush.
Later that day, the two were part of another meeting inside Hendricks 222, a moment they both vividly remember.
“He was sitting behind me and he said something funny and something triggered. He was funny and cute,” Stephanie said.
Scott added, “Stephanie is the pretty girl in the room and as they say in the south, ‘Mama didn’t raise no fool’ so I went up to her and said hello.”
What started as a simple acquaintance grew to a friendship that next year. By October 2008, Scott and Stephanie were engaged. Seven months later, they were married at Hay Street United Methodist Church. Now, the two are busy in their current roles at Methodist University while raising their 11-year-old daughter, Laurel.
While the duo work in completely different areas of study, their careers find a way to intersect at times.
“Our email addresses are fairly similar so Scott’s students will email me on accident sometimes and vice versa so we have to forward emails to one another quite often. It’s pretty funny,” Stephanie mentioned.
It’s a small piece of joy that reminds them why they are both grateful for their journeys that led them to Methodist University.
“We both know how difficult it can be for a married couple to both end up at the same institution at the same time. We’ve known couples who would try to end up at the same place, but it never really happened for them. We’re so grateful we have this experience,” said Scott.