While attending Illinois State, Amanda Thomason ’05 and Mike Williams ’04, M.S. 07, never expected they would live next door to their future spouse.
“Since we were literally separated by a driveway, a lot of the girls from her house were always at our place. It was a big group of friends,” Mike said.
After graduating, the two were in a long distance relationship for nearly four years. While Mike finished his master’s degree, Amanda started her teaching career at Sandwich High School. Mike then worked at Indiana State University while Amanda taught at Herscher High School. They spent hours on the phone.
“More or less, we were apart for four years after almost a year of living literally two seconds from each other,” Mike said. “I think it was those conversations throughout those years of being apart that really made us realize there’s something here and it’s kind of special.”
Everything changed after Mike received a job offer from ISU Athletics.
“The first week I got back, I went and bought the ring,” said Mike, who is the associate Athletics communications director. Amanda continues to teach at Herscher. They reside in Pontiac.
“When we were planning our wedding, I knew ISU had to be a huge part of our wedding,” Amanda said. “Our engagement pictures were on the football field and on the Quad in ISU jerseys.”
The two married in June of 2010 at Normal’s Uptown Marriott in a ceremony that celebrated both their love and the University that shaped their past and future. They entered their reception with Reggie Redbird as the ISU fight song played.
“Without ISU, we probably never would’ve met,” Mike said. “We wouldn’t have the opportunity we have now.”