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How we met: Charlie and Susan Celenza

Couple sitting in front of bench that reads

Charlie and Susan Celenza enjoy visits to campus.

Charlie Celenza ’82 and Susan Goode ’83 first met at a social function for their Dunn-Barton and Walker residence halls. She was a freshman and Charlie a sophomore. He worked around his shyness to meet with her again.

“I would strategically hang out at our cafeteria in hopes she would come down to eat. My plan was to gather up courage to ask her out,” he said. The two began going to Capen movies and the Bowling and Billiards Center. Campus walks led to long conversations and the start of a lasting love.

Both worked in the kitchen of their dorm’s cafeteria. Later Susan took a job at The Vidette, and Charlie volunteered at TV-10. Summers were spent five hours apart. Phone calls were expensive, so they relied on love letters to stay connected. Work schedules meant only one visit during the summer.

Charlie finished his communication degree one year before Susan graduated with a commercial art degree. They made a long-distance relationship work until their wedding in June of 1984. The two settled in Prospect Heights, where she worked as an artist at a printing agency. He produced and edited TV programs for a communications company.

The two have experienced plenty of change during their 35 years of marriage. There was the addition of three children, and Susan completed a master’s degree to pursue her passion as a first-grade teacher. The two still enjoy time on campus together as they drive to visit family in Southern Illinois. “We stop and eat at Avanti’s for our favorite gondola sandwiches that we first experienced 40 years ago,” Charlie said.

Now residing in Itasca, they keep in touch with their college friends at an annual gathering. One special Redbird friendship Charlie still appreciates is that with his roommate Eric Eggleson. The two had a conversation the night before the event whereFCha Charlie met Susan. “I told him that it seemed as though I would never find the girl of my dreams. He said not to worry, as the Lord had already chosen her for me,” said Charlie, who still believes he and Susan are indeed a match made in heaven.

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