Main Campus loves then still thrive now

Not all romances formed on Main Campus fizzle after the second J&H lunch date. Some North Broad Street-based loves have stood the test of time. Whether it’s a meeting at the Bell Tower or a

Not all romances formed on Main Campus fizzle after the second J&H lunch date. Some North Broad Street-based loves have stood the test of time.

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Whether it’s a meeting at the Bell Tower or a party at a fraternity house, college relationships can come out of all sorts of situations – especially when bumping elbows with Temple’s 30,000 students. Not all Main Campus couples dream of wedding rings as they walk hand-in-hand with their significant others. But the following three stories show how something as simple as a common interest or as convenient as a mutual friendship can turn into a lifelong companionship.

As students at Penn State, Irv Randolph and Carlotta Daniels didn’t know each other past recognition. It was not until they transferred to Temple and both became journalism majors that they eventually became better acquainted with one another.

Although they did not have classes together, Randolph and Daniels got to know each other through their membership in the Temple Association of Black Journalists, TABJ, and later, even better because they both had internships at the former community newspaper, the West Philadelphia Spirit.

“We communicated first on a more intellectual value level, and then it became romantic,” Randolphe said, “That’s something I think can only really happen at a university.”

Randolphe said Temple’s large size doesn’t seem as vast and intimidating when you get to know people who share a major and college with you.

When the two attended a dinner for their internship, the seed of romance was planted. Randolphe’s original date did not make it and he spent the evening talking to Daniels.

“It clicked into something more than just an acquaintance or a friendship to something more romantic [that evening],” Randolphe said, “Thank God for being stood up.”

What started as frequent lunches together at the Bell Tower turned into a 27-year marriage for Randolphe and Daniels. They now have three adult sons and live in the South New Jersey area. Randolphe is currently the managing editor of the Philadelphia Tribune, and Daniels is the managing director at Delaware Community College.

Lisa Thomas and Leo Burger had not known each other very well, but some friends they shared knew they were attracted to each other. In January of 1976, their friends brought them to a showing of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Main Campus.

After the movie, they spent the night dancing at a party at Alpha Chi Rho, AXP, fraternity, and their relationship ensued soon after.

Thomas and Burger’s connection flourished around visiting sites in the city. They were both drawn to Philadelphia for its historical prominence and spent time visiting historic attractions as well.

The two had attended Temple through Messiah College, where Thomas was studying behavioral science and Burger studied religion and philosophy. Thomas explains that they both enjoyed being at a large-scale university and connected over their interest in social justice.

“We’ve been happily married for 30 years. What can I say?” Thomas said of their marriage, which came about after four years of dating.

Now, Thomas, Burger and their 13-year-old daughter live on a 100-acre farm in the North Russel, N.Y. Burger is a supervising counselor for St. Lawrence County, and Thomas does private practice counseling.

Through another mere coincidence, Ron Kaplan met his wife Debbie, when the pair ended up at the same club one night. At the time, Ron Kaplan attended law school at Temple and Debbie Kaplan was a secretary for an insurance company.

Ron Kaplan remembers spending a lot of time with his now-wife on Main Campus when she would come to visit from Delaware County. The two went to the movies around campus and hung out with Ron Kaplan’s friends from law school. They even set a few of them up.

“Although Temple is a big school, it never really feels like a big school,” Ron Kaplan said, relating the same concept to Philadelphia as a city. He gives this as one of the reasons their relationship was able to happen.

Currently, Ron Kaplan and Debbie Kaplan live just outside of Media in Delaware County. They have two sons, one who now attends Temple. Ron Kaplan works in South Philadelphia and Debbie Kaplan is a retail store manager. In September, they will celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary.

Many Temple students will experience a series of college relationships that will fizzle out in time and end up on the pile of used-to-bes. But a handful of them may one day involve wedding bells and legal documents – something to think about next time you and your sweetie curl up in the sun at Beury Beach.

Dana Ricci can be reached at

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