The newest chapter in a 22-year-old love story began this summer with an intimate wedding ceremony at Stephen F. Austin State University, just a few steps away from where the bride and groom first met as students in 1989.
Tim Brooks ‘92 of Corsicana and Kelli Dunlap ‘93 of Lewisville were married Friday, June 22, in the President’s Suite of the Baker Pattillo Student Center. The Rev. Allen Reed, pastor of First Baptist Church in Nacogdoches, who also baptized Dunlap as a child, officiated the private ceremony.
“The fact that I am marrying the love of my life some 22 years later in the same place we first met, still amazes me,” said Brooks, who works as a probation officer in Navarro County. “SFA was responsible for getting both of us started on our career paths, and now the university is playing a part in us starting our life together. It’s really a dream come true.”
Brooks and Dunlap were first introduced by a mutual friend in the student center cafeteria when they were both students at SFA. They began a dating relationship and eventually got engaged. But after Brooks graduated in 1992, the couple grew apart and went their separate ways. Brooks married someone else and has a 15-year-old son, Jacob. Dunlap never married.
“I think I just never truly got over him,” she said. “He was the one who got away.”
About a year ago, Dunlap learned that Brooks was single again, and the pair reconnected on Facebook. Their college romance was soon rekindled.
“We decided it would be really cool to get married in the same place we met and fell in love all those years ago,” said Dunlap, who is now in the process of moving to Corsicana to begin her new life with Brooks.
Neither Brooks nor Dunlap had been back to SFA since graduating in the early 1990s. Both were surprised at how much things have changed and said walking around the campus brought back a flood of good memories from their college days. In celebration of their wedding, the SFA Alumni Association gave the couple a joint annual membership, and the pair said they intend to visit SFA more often once they settle into their new life together.
“Sometimes in life, you don’t get second chances,” said Brooks. “We feel truly blessed to have found each other again, and we will always be grateful to SFA for making our love story possible.”