Ted Burgess and Brandie Lindo met in NIU laboratory, got engaged near ‚Äėkissing bench‚Äôand returned to campus for engagement photos
Ted Burgess and Brandie Lindo like to say they have ‚Äúgood chemistry‚ÄĚ together ‚Äď and for good reason.
In January 2008, Burgess and Lindo first met at NIU in an organic chemistry laboratory class. Even beyond the lab experiments, strong attractive forces were apparently at work. This past spring semester, the couple returned to the lab in Room 307 of Faraday Hall ‚Äď this time to pose for their engagement pictures.
‚ÄúOnce they explained their story about how NIU played such an important role in their lives, it was easy to say yes to their request for photos,‚ÄĚ Small says, adding that his department gave the couple ‚Äúbeaker mugs‚ÄĚ as an engagement present.
The story of the pair‚Äôs campus romance isn‚Äôt likely too far removed from that of countless other couples who met during their NIU days.
Fate, of course, always plays a big role.
An NIU track athlete, Lindo had transferred into the chemistry course at the last minute because it was a better fit for her busy practice schedule. Burgess felt a spark when he first saw her walk in late for class, still decked out in her practice gear. She plopped down with her backpack in the only seat that was available ‚Äď at Burgess‚Äôs table.
He isn‚Äôt one who lacks for words.
‚ÄúI made some kind of comment about her bright blue eyes,‚ÄĚ Burgess says, noting that he and Lindo made easy and friendly conversation from the start. ‚ÄúI knew she was someone special.‚ÄĚ
Says Lindo, ‚ÄúWhen I walked into the classroom, I remember thinking, ‚ÄėI want him to like me.‚Äô That was unusual for me, because I was really focused on my studies and sports.
‚ÄúBut I liked the fact that he‚Äôs very tall, and I‚Äôm kind of a sucker for brown eyes,‚ÄĚ she adds. ‚ÄúI realized the first week he was intelligent, which is a big selling point for me.‚ÄĚ
The couple‚Äôs romance blossomed over the course of the semester. But with Lindo‚Äôs jam-packed schedule ‚Äď she was also in a dance group ‚Äď there wasn‚Äôt time for dating. So the couple instead took walks around the East Lagoon and enjoyed the wintry weather while strolling through scenic areas near the science buildings on campus.
After class one day, with big snowflakes falling, they shared their first kiss by the ‚Äúkissing bench‚ÄĚ of NIU lore. Legend has it that every time someone is kissed at the bench, located near Davis Hall, the old and twisted branches of the Scotch pine tree there bends more into the shape of a heart.
Both Burgess, a native of Sycamore, and Lindo, a native of a small-town Biggsville, went on to earn their undergraduate degrees at NIU in biological sciences. While he is now working on his doctorate at NIU, she is teaching chemistry and biology at Larkin High School in Elgin.
With a vintage ring in his pocket ‚Äď it was her grandmother‚Äôs ring containing his grandmother‚Äôs diamond stone ‚Äď he planned to propose at the kissing bench. But with workers there on a construction project, Burgess settled for the nearby fountain gardens on the east side of Davis Hall.
‚ÄúBrandie and I are both sentimental,‚ÄĚ Burgess says. ‚ÄúSo when we got engaged, we decided we would come back to campus to have pictures taken when there was snow on the ground and in the laboratory where we first met.‚ÄĚ
By the way, Burgess and Lindo aren‚Äôt the first in his family to feel sentimental over their alma mater. Burgess‚Äôs parents are both NIU alumni. And his sister, Rebecca, met her husband, Justin Haag, on campus.
‚ÄúNIU just means so much to us ‚Äď and to our family,‚ÄĚ Lindo says.
The couple will be married Aug. 3.