In honor of Valentine’s Day 2015, the Office of Development & Alumni Relations presented the ninth annual installment of “Stern Sweethearts”—a profile of couples who met, or whose relationships solidified, during their time here at Stern.

Noa Arias (MBA ’09) and John Arias (MBA ’11)

Noa and John Arias
Noa and John may not have met at NYU Stern, but it was during their time there that they decided to take their relationship to the next level. Just five years earlier, the two had met while working at SMARTS, a company founded by Noa's parents. At the time, John was nervous about asking the boss's daughter out on a date, but he got his resume in order and gathered up the courage to ask Noa out (spoiler alert: He did not get fired for his audacity!).

A few years later, in the fall of 2007, Noa enrolled in the full-time MBA program at Stern. After seeing how much Noa enjoyed business school, John enrolled in the Langone program and, much to his dismay, quickly learned that attending graduate school part-time was a lot more work than going full-time. While Noa spent her days learning and her nights “Beer Blasting,” John spent his days working and his nights studying.

In March of 2008, John decided to pop the question and the couple got married the following summer, shortly after Noa’s graduation from Stern. Most recently, Noa and John returned to Stern to work with students in Professor Sosulski’s E-Communities class on their budding website,, which helps parents find local child care. The two now live in the suburbs of New York with their two children—future Sternies

Catherine Hirschman (MBA ’12) and Ashar Choudhry (MBA ’12)

Catherine Hirschman and Ashar Choudhry
As told by Catherine: During orientation weekend, I was excited to attend the clubs fair and become an active member in the NYU Stern community. I signed up for the softball team but did not think much about it because the season had just ended and would not start up again until May. When May rolled around, I got an email saying that there would be an event at the batting cages at Chelsea Piers. I had not played in many years, but I figured I'd go check it out. I met Ashar that night and was immediately drawn to him so, when the team went out afterwards, I made it a point to get a seat next to him. We had a lot in common and I found him to be upbeat and funny. I couldn’t tell if he was interested in me, but I definitely wanted to see him again. Since Ashar was the captain, I knew he'd be at most of the games, so I made it a point to go to every game I could and always joined when we went out afterwards. About midway through the season, we started hanging out outside of softball.
As told by Ashar: During my first year at Stern, I learned that there was a softball team and I was excited to get involved because I loved playing and also thought it would be a great way to make some new friends. Since I was picked to be the captain of the team, I set up a batting cage day at Chelsea Piers at the start of the season to allow everyone to meet and get some practice time. Catherine was one of the first people to come that day and after I had a chance to talk to her, I remember thinking to myself, “Why can’t I meet someone like her?” Later, when she managed to break one of the team’s aluminum bats with her impressive swing, I thought, “I really need to get to know her.” We were in different core groups and though we had many friends in common, this was the first time we had met. After a few months of hanging out, we decided one day that we would leave class early and catch a movie. I’m sure I missed part of a great lecture, but it was one of the best decisions I ever made (I don’t remember what class it was or what the topic was, but I do remember the movie). Catherine and I started dating and found out that we had a lot of things in common, including playing sports, amongst other things. We have been inseparable since we first started dating. 
As told together: In the summer of 2011, we got engaged. In the summer of 2012, we got married in Brooklyn, and in December 2013, our son, Noah, was born. Thank goodness the Stern softball team welcomes alums because we plan on playing for many years to come. Stern has a special place in our hearts, not only because of the great times we had there and the friends we made, but also because it is where we met each other. We hope our son Noah decides to go to Stern and gets to play on the softball team as well. He’s already enjoyed a few games in his Stern onesie, so we’re hopeful.

Lorraine Spradley (MBA ’12) and Sean Wilson (MBA ’10)

Lorraine Spradley and Sean Wilson
Lorraine and Sean both grew up in Maryland. Before attending NYU Stern, Sean worked less than a mile away from Lorraine’s home in Bethesda, Maryland. They frequented the same Maryland diners, shopping malls, and DC bars, but somehow did not meet until moving to New York City.

In December 2009, Lorraine was finishing her business school applications while working in finance in New York. She was invited to an Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students (AHBBS)-sponsored holiday party by two friends in their first year of the full-time MBA program at Stern. Lorraine and Sean were drawn to one another at the event, and after a few minutes of networking, they realized they had made a deeper connection. The first date took place a few weeks later. Lorraine attended several Stern events with Sean in his last semester, and getting to know his Stern friends made her decision to attend Stern even easier.

After more than three years, five NYC apartments, trips to eight countries and 19 states, Sean asked Lorraine to marry him at Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 9, 2013. The couple was married in Sean’s hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, on August 16, 2014. In attendance were dozens of Sternies from the classes of 2010 and 2012. Lorraine and Sean are still very active in the Stern community, recruiting prospective students and helping with the annual Alumni Holiday Celebration. They currently live in New York. 

Rita Wessan (BS ’55) and Arthur Wessan (BS ’55)

Rita and Arthur Wessan
As told by Rita: It all started in 1951, when I was dating a young man who invited me to an NYU basketball game at Madison Square Garden. I was introduced to many of his fraternity brothers that evening.
In January 1952, having graduated from high school a half-year early, I entered NYU as a member of the class of 1955. In order to graduate on-time with my class, I was advised to take 16 credits in two summer sessions to make up the work.
One of the courses I registered for was Business English, a graduation requirement for the program. I had heard through the grapevine that it was a very difficult course, and I decided that I would complete it early in my coursework.
On the first day of class, I was already in my assigned seat, #29, when a very tall, handsome young man in his Air Force ROTC uniform entered the classroom. He was looking for his assigned seat, #30, and when he saw me, he had a shocked look on his face. He sat down right next to me and began to tell me that we had met at Madison Square Garden a year earlier. He had asked my friend for my telephone number but his fraternity brother refused to give it to him. I found this to be quite amusing.
He continued to tell me that he had searched for me in Lassman Hall and other student lounges, as well as Washington Square Park, but could not find me. (I was a senior in high school then, and I had not arrived on campus until January.) I now understood why he had such a shocked look on his face when he entered the classroom.
That was the beginning of our love affair.
We started dating and Prof. Manville always enjoyed telling people that we met in his class. In February 1952, Art gave me his fraternity pin. We were together for the next three years and graduated from the School of Commerce in June of 1955.
We were married three days later on June 18, 1955, and flew to California for a five-week honeymoon. When we returned, Art's draft papers had arrived and he had to report to the USA armed forces two days later. I would later join him in Germany for two years of European adventures. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of our lives—London, Paris, Italy, Belgium, Scotland, and Holland.
We returned to the United States and had three wonderful children: Lisa, Neil, and Amy. Amy did her undergraduate and graduate work at NYU and loved it just as much as we had.
My parents said that it was fate that brought us together. I had received a four-year academic scholarship to Cornell University, but my parents would not allow me to go to Ithaca, which made me so unhappy. They wanted me to stay in New York so that they could meet the young men that I was dating. If I had accepted the Cornell scholarship, we would never have met.
In June, we will be celebrating our 60th wedding anniversary. Time has passed so quickly. It all started at NYU and we always look back with fondness on those years in Washington Square. We would meet at our favorite bench in the park. It was a very special time and place for us. We learned so much and went on to enjoy successful careers. NYU has always had a special place in our hearts.