Celebrating three love stories that sprung from The Forest
February 2022 – It’s time to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a few love stories that sprung from Drew University.
Samuel Zorn C’15 and Jessica Fortier C’17
Jessica walked into the main third floor lounge of Riker Hall to see what all the noise was. It was Samuel playing the guitar. The two chatted about music all night and went their separate ways. When he got back to his room, Samuel realized he hadn’t gotten the girl’s name. He texted his roommate Mike Sedaille C’15 who wrote back, “Jessica. Make moves.” The two struck up a friendship and Samuel decided to “make moves” seven months later, asking Jessica to Junior Senior 2015. They became an official Drew couple on March 29, 2015.
Jessica would visit Samuel when he worked in the Drew University Observatory, and Samuel would support Jessica when she performed in the Drew Choral Union and Chorale.
Four years and a day after becoming a couple, Samuel took Jessica to the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. He dropped to a knee in front of the beluga whale exhibit and asked Jessica, “Whale you marry me?” The two got married in June 2021 accompanied by Drew bridesmaids, groomsmen, and guests.
Jessica, an economics and music double major and Italian minor, now works as a purchasing analyst at Dow Jones, and Samuel, a physics major and math minor, works as an MS&A analyst at Lockheed Martin.
Jeffrey C. Hoos C’74 and Betsy Smirnoff Hoos C’75
Betsy came back for her sophomore year at Drew in 1972 and was introduced to Jeffrey who had transferred to Drew from the University of Maine. Betsy’s father had passed away during her first year and she felt guilty going away to college and leaving her mother behind in Connecticut. “I always say that Jeffrey saved me,” said Betsy.
Their first date was driving to Peabody, MA, to pick up stereo equipment they sold—along with calculators that only added, subtracted, multiplied, and divided—to fellow students. The two have been together ever since. They got married after Betsy graduated in 1975 and moved to Boston where Jeffrey attended Tufts Dental School. The two have three daughters and two grandchildren, and have worked together at Jeffrey’s dental practice for 42 years.
John and Verna Holcomb C’06
John and Verna met while working at the Technology Helpdesk in May 2005. Verna joined the UT staff after graduating in 2006 and they’ve worked together ever since.
After being friends and colleagues for a few years, the two began dating in October 2008, with sighs of “finally!” from family, friends, and colleagues. They got married in December 2012 and welcomed their first child, Kara, the following year. Their son Johnny joined the family in 2015. The Holcomb kids have brought smiles to Drew staff and students for years, whether visiting their parents’ offices in UT or dropping into virtual meetings the last two years.