Couples Since College
Sweethearts through the years
When Karen Frumovitz was a University of Pennsylvania freshman from New York, she never dreamed that a boy down the hall from California would become the foundation of her whole life. But that is exactly what happened when the couple, who have been married now for 20 years, found each other.
“We happened to live in the same hall freshman year,” remembers Karen, a project coordinator at the Center for Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine, who is as friendly and outgoing as her husband Michael. “The first week of school, my door was open, and Michael popped in to ask if I would hold his sweatshirt while he went out to play something in the quad. I said yes.”
Such was the beginning of a close friendship, as the two became part of a tight group of friends on the same hall. “We liked each other,” Karen says, “but we were always dating other people.” Until the first week of sophomore year. “He asked me out, and we went to this Italian restaurant that seemed like such a fancy place. I’m sure in reality it was not.”
From that night, the couple stayed together through their senior year. “After graduation, I went to law school [in Michigan], and he was taking two years off before medical school [in California].” Michael is a physician in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“It was his idea that we should break up and see other people then, so that’s what I did,” Karen says. “Then ensued what we called ‘The Dark Period,’ when we really didn’t talk at all.”
Michael explains, “I didn’t expect to end up marrying her and being together for the rest of my life. My older son will be 18 this summer. [Son Alex is 17 and Jonathan, 15.] I just turned 18 when Karen and I met. I can’t imagine making that decision at that age. We needed some time after college.”
It was time well spent. During The Dark Period, or The Lost Year, as they sometimes call it, “I realized how special what we had was and that she was the woman I wanted to marry.”
“There was really a lot that could have prevented us from getting together,” Karen says. “I definitely believe in what was meant to be.”
Aimee and Ken Verheeck share a similar meet-cute story. “Truth be told, we were really good friends, and I was dating one of his friends,” Aimee, a dedicated tennis player, gregarious and bubbly, says of their early years at Ole Miss. “Ken was in our friend group, and he’s going to kill me for telling this, but I would set him up with sorority sisters of mine for parties. They would usually go out once.
“Then one of my friends said, ‘If he’s so great, why don’t you go out with him?’ It was the end of my junior year, Ken’s senior year, and I wanted to take a friend to a Pi Phi party. I thought, ‘That’s easy, I’ll just take Ken.’ We ended up having a really nice time.”
Ken, a partner at PwC whose mother and father are also Ole Miss graduates, says, “When she asked me to go to that sorority function, it just felt comfortable. In that moment, I knew there was something special here.”
Aimee and Ken have been married 24 years and have three children, Buster, 16, Andrew, 13, and Maddie, 6. The groom’s cake at their wedding replicated the Ole Miss spirit flag.
A testament to the Verheecks’ dedication to their alma mater (and to Ken’s fun nature): Ken has been known to wear a special (read: eye-catching) Ole Miss vest and dress pants he had custom-made. “He’s worn it to all kinds of games, and obscure press will start following him around,” Aimee says. “I had to ban the suit for a little bit because I was like, ‘Can we not wear it every single time?’
“We still have season tickets for football,” Aimee says. “And we have the same tailgate group. The guy I was dating when I met Ken ended up marrying the girl he started dating after me, and they’re in it.”
Ken adds, “I’ve been with her over half my life. It’s been fantastic.” His only misgiving: “It would be nice if she had gone to a school that won more [football games], so when Ole Miss is not doing well, we don’t have all of our eggs in one basket.”
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