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Alumni Couples Share Their Stories in Time for Valentine's

Anar and Takashi Otani.

Anar and Takashi Otani.

In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we got in touch with some of Kogod's alumni couples. These pairs went from classmates and teammates to soul mates. They shared their first dates at AU, and now they're sharing their stories with us.


Takashi & Anar Otani

Who they are: Takashi, MBA '06, and Anar Otani, MBA '07, have been married for about 18 months. Both fond of golf, they were instrumental in starting Kogod's annual golf tournament and networking event. The couple still enjoys playing in the event every year, even though both have graduated.

How they met: "We met during Anar's orientation week for the MBA program in 2005. She was working with her team on a case that would be due the next day in the Kogod Terrace when I came out of a team room and introduced myself," Takashi said. "I was part of the group that was going to present the 'right' way to analyze a case the next day. We chatted about school and playing tennis, since I was carrying my tennis racket, and one of our first times hanging out was playing tennis."

Their first date: "We met for drinks at Nanny O'Briens in Cleveland Park," Anar said. "After drinks, Takashi planned for us to go to All Fired Up to paint pottery. I was so surprised that this guy who barely knew me knew that I loved to paint pottery! I painted him a plate and he painted me two stick people – a boy and girl – holding hands on a coffee mug."

His first impression of her: "Anar caught my attention because she seemed spunky and full of energy," Takashi said. "I thought she was cute but taking the case way to seriously – which seems to be Anar’s work style. I wanted to know more about her because there was something exciting there."

Her first impression of him: "Takashi was so nice and informative about the program since he had been there a semester already," Anar said. "I knew when I met him that he was going to be the first friend I made since moving to DC."

The proposal: "I did it while we were visiting Anar's brother and sister-in-law at the beach in North Carolina,” Takashi said. “He woke up early and seemed nervous," Anar added. By 8:20 a.m. that morning, they were engaged. They shared the news with their family and then spent the rest of the day at the beach.


Bob & Edie Fensterman

Who they are: Bob and Edie Fensterman, both BSBA '81, have been married for 26 years. After graduating from American University, Bob went on to Rutgers University Law School. He eventually became the Executive Partner of the New York-based firm Abrams Fensterman, where he practices several areas of law. Edie worked in retail management with The Limited stores, a job she found through the AU Career Center. 

The pair has two children: a daughter, Rachel, who is graduating from high school in June and a son, Justin, who recently graduated from AU's School of Communication and is currently working in DC.

How they met: "We met during the first week of classes," Edie said. "Both of us were familiar with AU, as we both had brothers who went there. Our brothers knew each other and Bob's brother had mentioned to me that he would have Bob call me. As it turned out, we were both standing outside of Finite Math class at Hurst Hall when Bob asked me where to get his ID validated…and the rest is history."

The first date: "Our first date was at the Tavern. There was music, drinks, and food. We knew instantly that we were for each other and continued dating throughout college,” Edie said.

Fond memories of AU: “Bob was on the Mens' Varsity Tennis team, and I enjoyed watching his matches and still have his AU tennis jacket,” Edie said. “We went to concerts in the ampitheater, Booeymonger’s Deli late at night, and Armand’s Pizzeria. Mr. Smith's in Georgetown is also our 'special' place to hang out.”

Carrying on the legacy: The Fenstermans are a part of the 1789 Club and have a room named after them in the Kogod Center for Career Development. They recently hosted a dinner for Kogod students during the New York City marketing trip. Mr. Fensterman has been on the Kogod Dean's Advisory Council for three years.


Brendan & Kelly Sutch

Who they are: Brendan, BSBA '99, and Kelly Sutch, BSBA '01, have been married for five years and have two children – Andrew, 3 years old, and Jack, 18 months old. "By day, we both work for a large IT outsourcing firm in Virginia out of our home in Connecticut," Kelly explained. She manages a software design team and he is a government procurement subject matter expert. "By night, we try to dream up ways we can both quit our jobs and spend all day chasing the kids," she joked.

How they met: They had several mutual friends and were both in Alpha Kappa Psi, the co-ed business fraternity.

First impressions: "She thought I was nice, I thought she was standoffish," Brendan said. "Turns out we were both wrong." How he knew she was the one: "I didn't buy in until she used the word 'deke' correctly in a sentence when discussing a hockey game," he said.

How he proposed: "Our golden retriever Maggie carried the ring box to Kelly in her mouth. I wasn't 100% sure that she was going to give it back to us," Brendan said.