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Athens, je t’aime: a UGA love story

Written By: Leigh Raynor Arndt
Photo Credit: Steven Wallace of Steven Wallace Photography

Athens might not be universally known as the “City of Love,” but the Bulldog Nation might have something to say about that. More than 25,000 couples have met and fallen in love at the University of Georgia. And in honor of Valentine’s Day, we’re sharing just one of many love stories that began in our beloved college town.

Coincidentally, Teman Worku (ABJ ’16) and Kevin Steele (AB ’17, AB ’17) both studied in Morocco while students at UGA. But Marrakech can’t lay claim to “Chapter One” of this recently engaged couple’s story. Instead, as Teman tells it, she and Kevin have one thing to thank for their near-at-hand nuptials: an overly air-conditioned UGA bus.

Teman Worku + Kevin Steele Rooftop Engagement

Photo: Steven Wallace of Steven Wallace Photography

Once Upon a Time …

Teman Worku + Kevin Steele with President Morehead

Teman (left) and Kevin (right) with UGA President Jere W. Morehead during a 2015 UGA Student Alumni Council event when they were students. Photo: Christopher Mark Sorrow

On a freezing bus from Athens to Atlanta, Teman and Kevin were headed to the UGA Alumni Association’s 40 Under 40 Awards Luncheon. Both were members of the UGA Student Alumni Council, a group of committed student leaders that organizes events and volunteer opportunities that current students with alumni.

For reasons she’ll “never understand,” the bus’s air conditioner was on full-blast despite the early morning chill. Teman and Kevin shared a blanket to keep warm. They had become friends through their involvement with SAC and the Student Government Association. On this bus ride, their conversation went beyond the passion they shared for these organizations. A deeper connection blossomed.

For Kevin, this opportunity was long in the making. As a first-year student, he was impressed with Teman when she attended an SGA Freshman Board meeting to talk about her semester studying in Morocco. Back then, he doubted that Teman, a third-year Grady College student, would take notice of a freshman like him. Nonetheless, he was soon headed to Morocco on a Maymester program, so he suggested they grab coffee. Unfortunately, before they could nail down a date, Kevin was boarding a plane to Marrakech and their meeting never happened.

Fast forward one year, Teman and Kevin had become an official couple. As college sweethearts do, they planned date nights on a student’s budget. On Wednesdays, it was Amici for 50-cent wings. In the summers, it was Fuzzy’s tacos or a slice at Automatic Pizza after a Saturday spent poolside.

In 2016, Kevin, an international affairs and Arabic double major, spent a semester in Jordan on a Boren Scholarship. Teman met him for a week-long vacation in Bulgaria where their money stretched further. There, they “ate like kings and queens,” said Teman. “We had appetizers, a full meal, and dessert, too!”

One of the most memorable meals during the couple’s first overseas trip together was at a Moroccan restaurant. The dinner brought them full circle to the shared experience and love for travel that initially brought the two together.

From Chapel Bell to Wedding Bells

Today, Teman and Kevin happily live in Arlington, Virginia. Kevin works in national security for the U.S. government. Teman is a video producer for 2U, a company expanding access to higher education through online learning. This past November, they got engaged.

Teman Worku and Kevin Steele at graduation

Kevin and Teman celebrate Kevin’s graduation from UGA in 2017.

It was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and Teman was traveling home to Atlanta, where Kevin would join her the next day. As she headed to the Glenn Hotel’s chic rooftop, she was under the impression that she was meeting some close friends and a close friend’s mother. Instead, as the elevator doors opened to a noticeably quiet terrace, Teman found Kevin, calm as can be.

The last time Teman and Kevin stood on this Atlanta rooftop, they joyfully talked about the future on a casual night out. Now, Kevin kneeled before Teman, asking her to put those plans into action. Knowing how much Teman loves a sunset, Kevin timed the proposal to the sky turning pink and orange.

“All of these places that we’ve traveled to—Bulgaria, California, Miami—I’ve always made sure to find a spot where we can enjoy the sunset together,” said Teman. “And Kevin kept that in mind when he planned this amazing proposal. He put a lot of thought into it.”

Afterward, the couple headed to a restaurant where Teman was in for another surprise: their families and friends gathered to celebrate their engagement. Now, Teman and Kevin are beginning to plan an even bigger celebration. With lots of relatives on both sides, they anticipate a well-attended wedding. And though they’ve formed a close network of friends in D.C.—many of whom are also Bulldogs—they’ll recite their vows at home, in the state of Georgia.

Teman Worku and Kevin Steele Rooftop Engagement Photo

Kevin and Teman celebrate their engagement on a rooftop in Atlanta in November 2019. Photo: Steven Wallace of Steven Wallace Photography

UGA in Washington reception reunites alumni, friends

UGA alumni at DC event

Hundreds of alumni were in attendance at the UGA in Washington reception on June 19.

The University of Georgia brought a little bit of Athens to D.C. during its annual UGA in Washington reception on June 19 at Union Station.

The event was an occasion for UGA alumni and friends in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to connect with one another as well as with UGA President Jere W. Morehead, UGA Vice President for Government Relations Toby Carr, and special guest UGA head football coach Kirby Smart.

More than 140 UGA alumni work on Capitol Hill. Among those in attendance at the reception were Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue (DVM ’71) and Congressmen Buddy Carter (BSPH ’80), Rick Allen and Jody Hice.

In attendance at the UGA in Washington event were, from left, UGA Vice President for Government Relations Toby Carr, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and UGA President Jere W. Morehead.

“UGA in Washington is always a wonderful opportunity to meet with our remarkable D.C. alumni,” said Meredith Gurley Johnson, executive director of alumni relations. “We are proud to have such a significant presence in the capital with over 5,000 alumni living in the area and our Washington Semester Program students living and learning in Delta Hall.”

Since Delta Hall’s opening in 2015, more than 250 UGA students have taken classes, participated in internships and immersed themselves in D.C.’s vibrant culture. More than 150 of those students have remained in the area after graduation and have stayed involved with the university through the D.C. Dawgs alumni chapter.

The D.C. alumni chapter is one of the most active in the country and hosts dozens of professional development and cultural events every year, in addition to game watching parties during football season. All UGA supporters are invited to participate in events and programs hosted by local alumni chapters.