It’s not clear which came first for John Buckler ‘93 ancient studies: interest in Amy Young ’92, history, or a disinterest in biology indicated by his chronic class absences.

What’s certain is that in 1991, John spent more time sitting by the pond outside of the Albin O. Kuhn Library getting to know Amy than learning about cells and molecules.

w14-amy-johnWith its fountain and the surrounding trees flowering in springtime, the pond is admittedly conducive to romance. “In April, we’d hang out and talk there,” recalls John. “I began to get interested in her, and I spent a lot of time figuring out how to ask her on a date.”

Amy figured out John was interested when, as she sat huddled in a cubicle of the library working on her senior thesis, John would “casually” stop by – sometimes at 3 a.m.

The now-married couple’s first date finally happened during spring finals week. Fittingly, it took place on campus. “I had been awake for almost two days typing my senior thesis. John asked me if I wanted to meet after I was done that day,” Amy recalls. “By the time we met, I was so exhausted. I don’t know what I agreed to.”

What Amy agreed to was a rendezvous at the Student Union. Over a bucket of Rolling Rocks and mozzarella sticks, the two UMBC students’ feelings for each other began to gel. Twenty-three years later, the couple remains together, through exciting educational and career moves, a 1996 wedding, and the birth of their son, who is now four years old.

In 1995, the couple began graduate school at the University of Maryland, College Park, where Amy eventually received her master’s degree in library science and John earned a master’s degree in anthropology.

Today, John works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a geographic information systems developer for the Economic Research Service, where he spends much of his time performing computerized mapping of the agency’s databases and applications. Amy is the library media specialist for the Meade Heights Elementary School in Anne Arundel County. The couple lives with their son in Columbia, Maryland.

While Amy and John have come a long way from their days at UMBC, they have vivid memories of sitting along the stone wall bordering the pond 20 years ago and contemplating their future.

“At UMBC, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life, I met Amy. It gave me the tools to move forward,” John says.

Amy agrees: “For me, it was just one of those times and places where everything kind of happened. All the pieces just fell into place.”

Read the full issue of the Winter 2014 UMBC Magazine.

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