After all of their classes are complete and their tassels are turned, a degree isn’t always the only thing that Hamptonians walk away with. Though they came to Hampton seeking an invaluable education, many also found their soul mates; or, as we have dubbed them Hampton Hunnies.
It’s easy to picture how Hamptonians can fall in love on campus with the gorgeous waterfront and warm weather, the backdrop is set. It makes it even more special when couples make the walk across “Lovers’ Lane.” It is said that if you walk the length of the waterfront holding hands with your partner that is the person you are destined to be with!
Whether they saw him/her walking across campus, stood behind her in the Financial Aid line, or met each other through mutual friends, the Hamptonian love stories are endless. Seriously, think of how many alumni you’ve met who have said, “If it weren’t for Hampton, I never would have met my husband/wife,” or “Oh, you attend Hampton? I met my spouse there.”
Take Lieutenant Colonel Duane L. Richards, U.S. Army (Retired) ‘89 and Dr. Gillian Richards ’88, Hampton’s first female drum major, for example. Duane and Gillian “Gigi” George met at Hampton during the fall of 1985 when Duane was a freshman and Gillian was a sophomore. Although both were from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, the two did not know each other until Duane came to Hampton. After countless conversations with other Virgin Islanders during lunch at the Virgin Islands table in the Big Café, Duane found himself making sure he saved a seat for Gillian to sit next to him every day!
After lunch, Duane and Gillian would find themselves taking long walks along the water front talking about everything and anything under the sun. It was during those times Duane realized that Gigi had a serious side to her; a deeper, more soulful side, and he loved it. For Gigi, these intimate moments; walking along “lovers lane,” had become a time for her to be truthful to someone who allowed her to be herself. Without conscientious realization, this friendship elevated to something greater when Gigi left for the weekend on a band trip and for the first time ever, could not focus on her duties as Drum Major because she missed…Duane. (Awww) Upon her return to campus, there was a letter in her mailbox from Duane stating that he was very miserable that weekend because she was gone. That moment was the beginning of a beautiful and blessed relationship at our Home by the Sea.
Today, Duane and Gillian have been happily married for 23 years and have a son, Duane L. Richards II, who recently completed his sophomore year at Hampton. They also have a 14 year old son named Quentin, and currently reside in Waldorf, MD. Duane is now a Defense Contractor working for CACI International and Gillian is a Music Educator at Accokeek Academy in PG County, Maryland.
Check back for more Hamptonian love stories, on the Hampton Hunnies page.