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University of Missouri

Laying a Foundation

Mizzou Match made on Traditions Plaza.

Traditions Plaza Mizzou engagement

Mark Roderique and Mary Wyrwich got engaged at Traditions Plaza during 2014 Homecoming. Photos by Lindsey Pantaleo.

Thousands of Mizzou community members descended on the newly dedicated Traditions Plaza during Homecoming 2014. Tigers young and old walked slowly over the freshly laid bricks and tiles, reading notable quotations and the names of alumni and legacy families.

A few people got the surprise of a lifetime when they looked down to see a marriage proposal paver and their future spouse on bended knee before them.

Mary Wyrwich, BS BA ’10, MHA ’12, was happy enough to see the new landmark but soon walked off the plaza stage, eager to meet up with friends and fellow Tigers. But boyfriend Mark Roderique, BS Acc, M Acc ’10, insisted she return to the stage. When she rejoined him, she understood why.

Inscribed on a brick was, “Mary, will you marry me? — Mark.”

“As soon as I saw the brick, he went down on one knee,” says Wyrwich, an assistant administrator at Tenet Healthcare. The Mizzou fans who live in Chicago didn’t need an excuse to come back to campus, but Roderique, a financial analyst for CNA, says they’re both glad to leave a legacy at Mizzou.

Ever since Mizzou started admitting women in 1867, there have been Mizzou Matches. Today, MU lists more than 19,000 households in which both spouses have graduated from the university. In 2005, the Mizzou Alumni Association launched a program recognizing couples who have MU degrees and are MAA members. The program won an alumni relations programs award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education the next year.

Couples who sign up for the program receive an annual electronic Valentine’s Day card, a set of Mizzou Match lapel pins to wear on special occasions, and inclusion in the Mizzou Match online registry where they can post photos and share their story.