Stanford soulmates

(AUBRIE LEE/ The Stanford Daily)

On love, marriage and beer vending machines on the Farm

Of the many Stanford myths repeated to freshmen, one of the most common is that up to 70 percent of Stanford students meet their life partners at the Farm.

According to the Stanford Alumni Association and as reported by The Daily , in fact no more than 15 to 20 percent of Stanford students marry fellow trees. The Daily spoke with Stanford couples of all ages about romance on the Farm.

Barbara Beck Garton ’79 was on the swim team with her husband-to-be Dan Garton as an undergraduate at Stanford. The couple met through the team during their freshman year, although they did not know each other very well at the time because, as Barbara put it, “I was in the fast [swimmers’] lane and he was in the slow [swimmers’] lane.”

In their senior year, the pair became better acquainted. By chance, they lived in the same house, where Dan was the president.

“He was the one who assigned the rooms,” Barbara said. “He remembered me from swimming and put me around the corner from himself.”

Their courtship began, but was not an immediate success. During fall quarter their house put on a medieval party, in which Dan’s actions put a strain on their budding relationship. Dan went dressed as Prince Charming while Barbara dressed as the Lady of the Lake from the Arthurian legends.

“He had a big crush on me, but unfortunately he overindulged and ended up stripping down to his tights,” Barbara said. “It took a few more months to repair the damage he did at that party.”

Eventually, however, Dan managed to win his future wife over. According to Barbara, he impressed her with his ingenious method of stocking the house vending machine with beer, despite it being against the rules.

Claiming that her case is not unique, Barbara recalled that there were two marriages from her freshman dorm alone. Both couples remain married today, including her hallmate–who was also her best friend on the swimming team–and her best friend from freshman year.

The marriage trend has continued even in Garton’s family.

“A girl from Dan’s freshman dorm became my sister-in-law by marrying Dan’s brother Michael, a Business School student.”

Keeping the Cardinal tradition strong, all three of the Garton’s daughters attended Stanford. One, a graduate of the class of 2007, met her husband at Stanford.

Some students, however, meet their spouses years after their time at Stanford, as was the case for Hilary Lieberman Link ’91. Link and her friends hosted a Passover Seder in April 1989, which her future husband attended with a group of friends.

“We met that one night and never saw each other again,” Link said. But 10 years later in New York, a mutual friend set them up on what was supposed to be a blind date.

“I called my friend and asked if Jeff Link was the guy from Hawaii who came to our Passover Seder,” Link said. “She said ‘Yes, it was and he was cute. You should go.’”

Although their relationship didn’t start until years after they had both left the Farm, Link said she feels that their shared connection to the school played a large role in the formation of their relationship.

“[The Stanford connection] runs through our relationship,” she said. “I think the fact that we met here had a huge impact. When we re-met, that was sort of it from then on.”

While hook-ups and flings are prominent on campus, there are many couples that envision being together for the long-term. Such is the case with Megan O’Brien ’14, who met boyfriend Michael Crayne ’12 through the archery team at the beginning of her freshman year.

Between schoolwork and extracurricular activities, many Stanford students feel they are too busy for a relationship. O’Brien said she doesn’t think this is reason not to commit to one.

“Ideally, you’ll both be involved in some of the same activities, so you can spend that time with them,” she said.

Both O’Brien and Crayne are members of the archery team and share their Catholic faith.

“You should be helping each other do what you already do better, not hindering them or taking over their life,” she said.

For O’Brien and many other students who find love at Stanford, the connection they make with their partners is more than good chemistry, but something that is deep and profound.

“To most, love is a warm, fuzzy feeling that you have when you’re close to a person and want to be with them a lot and enjoy spending time with them,” O’Brien said. “Love is, above all, a choice to be with someone and care for them and give yourself up entirely for them.”

  • Jan

    Please, never refer to Stanford students/alumni as “trees.”

    Learn our mascot traditions and follow the rules.  Our official mascot is the color Cardinal, our unofficial mascot is the Tree (it’s also the official mascot of the LSJUMB), and we cannot refer to either of those in the plural.  (We’re not like other schools.  We don’t need to refer to ourselves as the bruins or the cowboys.)

  • guest

    oh come on

  • guest

    the problem with you “trees” is you over analyze everything

  • Evan

    Speak for yourself Jan, I’m a tree at the way. Official mascots are overrated. 

  • guest

    UGH. I met my future spouse while we were both undergrads on The Farm. Don’t do it, kids! Otherwise you’ll be forced to run into your ex at every reunion!

  • Guest

    This is silly. I’m not on any teams and I’m an atheist. Your examples don’t pluck any of my heartstrings. Could you guys work on an article that addresses actual issues, like those of us who choose to ignore the on-campus scene of crappy parties and crappy guys and how much happier we are? What about the issues of dating? Maybe this pressure to commit and be a Stanford success story is yet another obstacle to dating. People feel like if they aren’t head over heels for someone, they don’t even want to bother with a first date.  I’ve met folks here who have legitimately never been on a date here at Stanford. Why?

    And just in general:

    Ladies, if you aren’t an athlete and want a guy to respect you for the busy career woman you are, don’t go settling for some Stanford dude who has no idea wtf he is going to do with his underwater basket weaving major and spites you for your vision. You have enough troubles deciding what YOU want to do. Don’t settle for someone who wants to dump their emotions and whine at you without reciprocation. You have enough problems like that from your gal pals. Don’t settle for some guy that thinks having a conversation with you is less important than finishing a problem set due in a week. If you are willing to make a little time, find someone who doesn’t mind making a little time too.

    We are near enough to the tech guys of silicon valley for you to secure a funny, geeky, slightly older, stable guy with a passion for his work and an eagerness to figure out what makes you tick.  Or whatever type of guy floats your boat. Sure, Stanford is a great place to meet folks at your intellectual level, but perhaps not at your maturity level. Oddly enough, California has plenty of dudes with bachelor’s degrees. Just because they took PWR, doesn’t mean they will treat you any better or worse than any other guy out there.

    Take away message: if he is taking you out on dates to Stern, you met him when he vomited on you at a frat party, or you met him in IHUM when he was being a creeper in the back row, there is a possibility that you’re doing it wrong.

  • Van Q Anders

    Do you have any idea at all how bitter and unhappy you sound?