Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 15:02
In honor of Valentine's Day, the Office of Development & Alumni Relations is pleased to present the fifth annual installment of "Stern Sweethearts"- a profile of couples who met during their time here at Stern. This year's stories are a true celebration of the many exciting facets of romance, from the very beginnings of courtship and engagements to the welcoming of children and long-lasting marriages. As these stories illustrate, love has a magical way of bringing people together, often when they least expect it. You never know – at a beer blast, orientation or spring break – your Stern Sweetheart may be sitting right next to you.
Matthew Guimbarda (MBA '06) and Carolyn Ude Guimbarda (MBA '06)
As told by Carolyn: Matt and I first met in Los Angeles, in May 2004, at a bar called Brennan's, located in Venice (home of the Thursday night under-the-lights, back-patio turtle racing). The first meeting came before either of us had started our illustrious NYU Stern experience but Stern had everything to do with the chance encounter. NYU Stern was hosting a happy hour get-together at Brennan's for Class of 2006 admitted students the summer before classes began. It was a chance to meet fellow prospective classmates in a comfortable setting. Matt claims it was love at first sight, but for me the flame took a bit longer to ignite. However, there was undeniable chemistry, even from that first brief introduction, and we stayed in touch throughout the summer before moving out to NY (we had even coordinated to be on the same flight out). We arrived at NYU already friends, and many of our classmates wrongly (or perhaps correctly) assumed we were hiding a far deeper connection. As fate would have it, we were placed in the same block, Block 2, and destiny seemed on our side. We were inseparable during Pre-Term and spent the first part of the semester exploring the city together. The first few weeks were tense, the romantic tension was palpable and our friendship was tossed on its head one night when Matt saw an opening and jumped in for a goodnight kiss after another long study session.
Our first date took place on a rainy fall evening at a charming French bistro in Soho named Raoul's. Everything was going so well … until, in the blink of an eye, one night it wasn't. I blamed the timing of the relationship amongst all the other madness of that first semester, but, regardless of the rationale, I ended the relationship before it really ever got started. At that point, we went our separate ways, Matt to Australia for a semester (he will tell you to get as far away from me as possible) and I to various international destinations on Stern-sponsored trips. Our remaining time together at Stern was amicable but far more distant, as we turned our attention to our respective upcoming post-graduate careers. I was destined for a management consulting career and Matt had dedicated his life to Wall Street. Yet despite the cooling off of our relationship, and despite the demanding requirements of our respective occupations, we still found excuses to see each other every now and again, a restaurant week dinner here, a fellow Sternie birthday there. I think we both were holding out hope that there was still something more – at least, I know I was.
As time went on, I began to realize how strongly I felt for Matt, and I feared I wouldn't get a second chance. I worked hard to transition our friendship back into something more romantic for months, but apparently I was too subtle. He wasn't about to respond to subtlety after round one of our brief attempt at dating years before. He was guarded, and it wasn't easy to convince him that I was fully committed this time around. Finally, in September 2007, I managed to break through his last lines of defense and, after attending a mutual friend's birthday party one night, we shared a second first kiss, three years after the original. Matt was understandably cautious in the beginning but eventually his guard dropped and we rediscovered the initial chemistry that brought us together back in 2004. We've spoken every day since that second first kiss, and the rest, as they say, is history. Matt proposed on Christmas afternoon 2009, making it the best Christmas a girl could ask for, and we got hitched in late September 2010 at a stunning venue in Santa Barbara, CA. We are finally getting settled after our move back to the West Coast late last year, now living no more than 10 minutes from that bar where we first met. However, we will always look forward to our next visit to the Big Apple, for another dinner at Raoul's, a coffee from Grey Dog and $2 happy hour beers from Bravest.
Jason Hembrey (BS '05) and Jacqueline Hembrey (BS '04)
As told by Jacquie: I had been at Stern since I was a freshman in 2000, but Jason was a transfer student. When he moved up here in 2003 he took a job in the same department as me at Blackrock, which is where we initially met. Our relationship went from coworkers getting lunch together to friends going out to happy hour after work. Then we started planning to meet to say hi the few minutes between classes and hung out with each other on the weekends. It wasn't until months later, though, that we realized we grew to be more than just friends and started "officially" dating.
We dated for two years. We worked together full time at BlackRock, lived two blocks away from each other on the Upper East Side, went on many vacations together with our respective families, and grew to love each other more and more.
On a trip back to Jason's home town of Louisville, Kentucky, for his best friend's wedding in 2006, Jason proposed by a creek by his boyhood home. We were married in NYC in 2007 and in 2009 we had the light of our lives, our daughter Jasmine.
Ken Ng (BS '84, MBA '90) and Lucy Wang (BS '84)