Texas Tech University

Mailbag: All About Love Part II

Allen Ramsey

February 24, 2023

Raider Red

Two weeks back, we shared a couple of stories of Red Raiders in love. We liked it so much we’re doing it again.

Welcome back to the Mailbag!

Two weeks ago we leaned into some Red Raider love stories and asked if anybody else would like to share. 

Most of the time the Mailbag doesn't double down on a topic, but we love love and we got a good enough response from our readers to make an exception. 

Now, it's no secret that there are wedding traditions here at Texas Tech University and among Red Raiders. In fact, last week our office told the story of going to the Kent R. Hance Chapel to get hitched, a growing tradition among Red Raiders. 

The first story we're going to share here is similar in nature. A couple fell in love and wanted to get married on campus.

We'll let Rebecca take it from there. Like before, we're letting people share their stories – sent to us via email – without much editing on our end, but we did remove one detail from this one. 

Shane & Rebecca

My husband, Shane McNeil and I Rebecca McNeil, are both Tech alumnus and got married on Texas Tech campus at Carol of Lights in front of the wreath on the chemistry building and Christmas tree in December 2008.

We met in 2007 at an ATO party when he was a sergeant in the Army and we were both undergrads. Fun story, his fraternity bother Griffin Ice (Raider Red) introduced us. Within two months we knew we were soulmates and moved in together at my apartment off 4th and Frankford. 

Shane & Rebecca

We got married on 12/12/08, the day before I graduated from Tech. We got married on campus. Shane graduated the next year and then deployed to Iraq for the 3rd time in 2009. Life goes on, now we live in Virginia. Shane is employed with the DOD and is about to start a job at the Pentagon. I am a program director at a counseling agency and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  

We both have master's degrees and Shane is completing his doctorate. We both still cheer loud and proud for the Red Raiders!

We always knew Raider Red had a Cupid streak in him. 

We love this story, and we have to say we don't have much in the way of knowledge about regulations for weddings on campus. We would encourage any future couples to look into it before just deciding to get hitched here. 

Rebecca, you have a lovely family and we're happy to have you as part of our Red Raider family. 

Our second little tidbit comes from one of our own. 

Ashlyn Grotegut is one of our media relations specialists, and it's her writing we shared about the Kent Hance Chapel earlier in this Mailbag. 

Ashlyn didn't get hitched at the chapel herself, but she and her husband Parker shared a video with us from their wedding, and it's pretty clear that at least one Red Raider tradition went with them to their wedding venue. 

Video produced by 4.16 Productions

“Parker and I met when I was a first-year student at Texas Tech,” Ashlyn explained. “We saw each other around and always enjoyed each other's company, but we were just friends. We both graduated in 2014, went our separate ways and began our careers. 

“Then, during the Texas Tech vs. Oklahoma football game in 2016, we reconnected at the stadium and began dating a few weeks later. As a nod to where our relationship began (and our Red Raider pride) we decided there would be no better way to exit our wedding than a tortilla toss. My family members from New Mexico were a little confused to see one of their favorite foods flying through the air, but since then, several of them have become Red Raiders too. So, in a way, it was an effective recruiting tool.”

As you can probably imagine, Ashlyn is a lot of fun to work with. Even though she's really just getting started as part of our storytelling team, she's already crushing. We're thrilled she's back at Texas Tech, and while sharing your stories is her job, we thought it appropriate to share part of her story with you as well. 

Our final love story for today highlights how Texas Tech brings people together. 

This one comes from Kaitlyn Mallare, and we're going to let her tell it. 

My husband, Rafael, and I met on Aug. 26, 2012 during a First Generation College Student meet & greet event hosted by PEGASUS. I had just sat down at a random table with my paperwork and BBQ lunch when he sat down in front of me.

Shane & Rebecca

We smiled at each other awkwardly and then started to chat about where we were from and what we would be majoring in while at Texas Tech ( he was there to be an Engineer and I was there to major in Spanish). Rafael and I actually spent most of the event just sitting across from each other laughing and talking. Eventually we swapped numbers and then met up with our respective teams during the last 15 minutes of the even. After our initial meeting, we started to hang out together on campus, study together, added more friends to our friend group, and over the course of our first semester we became best friends.

About a year later, Fall 2013, we started dating. After we both graduated from Texas Tech (Rafael was class 2017 and I was class 2016), we moved to DFW where Rafael works as a Salesforce engineer and I am currently working as a Scrum Master in the IT field with him.

As of today, we have been best friends for over 10 years and we will be celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary on Oct. 23, 2023.

All because of one small chance encounter at Texas Tech University.”

Sincerely Rafael & Kaitlyn Mallare

There's so much about this story to like. 

Kaitlyn, Rafael, we hope your second anniversary sees you both happy and healthy and that it's just one of many, many more to come. 

That's it for this week. 

We're going to move off the love stories for a while now, but you can still share yours through the Centennial submissions and we'd love to hear them. 

As always, if you've got anything else you'd like the Mailbag to talk about, shoot us a line and we'll see what we can do. 

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