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Co-ed’s father unknowingly triggered a campus romance

February 15, 2012 12:00AM

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Cheryl and Ken Giefer

Like thousands of Pittsburg State University’s 55,000 alumni, Cheryl and Ken Giefer say their life together began on the PSU campus. Although they met in the fall, when Valentine’s Day rolls around, the Giefers think of how their romance began back in 1973.

Cheryl, who is now a member of the faculty in PSU’s Department of Nursing, said she came to PSU from Kansas City with a friend.

“My parents drove us down in a van that was just packed full,” Cheryl said.

When they arrived, they were being watched by a group of young men at the Phi Sigma fraternity house, which was across the street from Nation Hall.

“It was quite a deal for all the guys to watch the girls moving in,” said Ken Giefer, who is now a school psychologist.

Cheryl’s father noticed the fraternity guys and quickly thought of a way to ease his moving chores.

“My dad walked across the street and asked the guys at the fraternity if they wanted to meet a couple of pretty girls,” Cheryl recalled. “I think they had the van unloaded in about five minutes.”

After Cheryl’s parents left, the fraternity guys introduced the new co-eds from Kansas City to life in southeast Kansas. That included swimming in the pits and southeast Kansas fried chicken.

Cheryl dutifully recorded the weekend’s activities in a letter to her parents and their reaction was as swift as the Postal Service could deliver.

“I got a letter back within two days.” Cheryl laughs when she recalls the brief but pointed response: “Do not ride in the car with strange boys. Do not date strange boys. Do not swim in the pits.”

But Cheryl, like most college students, had her own plan. The Giefers now have been married well over 30 years and they see the irony in the fact that it was Cheryl’s father who set the wheels in motion.

“I just wish I had kept that letter!” Cheryl said.

©2012 Pittsburg State University