Alumni: The Puterbaughs, Rowan Prof Sweethearts

twine in heart shape wraps a book

Amongst the millions of connections Rowan has helped students make, the heartwarming story of now-married alumni, Jessica (’03) and Jeff (’02) Puterbaugh, is one we get to share with you today.

Jeff and Jessica (then Jessica Levinson) first met when her and her group of friends hung out one night at Jeff’s fraternity house. While Jessica was not part of a Greek organization, she was an active member of the Public Relations Student Society of America Club (known as PRSSA). The two only got to hang out a few times before summer break, but Jessica noticed that Jeff wasn’t like any other guy.

“We seemed to share the same sense of humor, and I could tell he was really smart. He was fun to hang out with, and soon I started to realize when I didn’t see him out I was a little disappointed,” says Jessica.

Throughout the summer Jessica, and Jeff shared a few phones calls (texting wasn’t the way to talk to your crush in the early 2000’s!) and returned to school once again in the fall, where Jessica soon found out Jeff had a girlfriend.

“I ran into him, and he told me he had a girlfriend,” Jessica laughs. “I was disappointed, but just went about with college life and moved on.”

But, just like those classic romance movies, Jessica, a junior, and Jeff, a senior, we able to reconnect and begin their relationship the following spring. Jessica and Jeff realized they liked each other as more than just friends when both of their friend groups took a trip to Mexico for spring break in 2002. After their trip, they began seeing each other regularly. 

The two loved going to the Mozzarella Grill near campus together for dinner and Rita’s Ice.  “The Rowan campus has changed so much since our time there in the early 2000’s,” says Jessica. While their favorite Italian restaurant date spot has since closed down, Rita’s Ice is still a five minute drive from campus! 

Jeff graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 2002 and landed a job in nearby Philadelphia. The two continued to date while Jessica was a senior. She graduated in 2003 with a bachelor’s in communication. Soon, they moved in together and eventually got their first home in 2006. It took five “long years,” as Jessica describes, before Jeff popped the question.

Today, Jessica and Jeff live in Chicago. Jessica is a design and marketing specialist at Soroptimist, a non-profit volunteer organization that improves the lives of women and girls through projects leading to economic empowerment. Jeff works at Goldwind Global, a wind turbine manufacturing company. They have two daughters, Charlie, 6, and Addison, 4.

Though Jessica doesn’t believe in love at first sight, she always had a little thought in her mind they would end up together. But if it wasn’t for Rowan, she believes the chances of her and Jeff crossing each other’s paths would be slim to none.

Jessica says, “Even after all these years, going on about 15 now, I still feel the same way. He has a great sense of humor, he’s incredibly smart, can fix anything and has an amazingly pragmatic view on just about everything. He’s my best friend and my favorite person.”

There are many opportunities for Rowan University students to meet new people and connect. One day, you may even be reflecting on your college years with your spouse or best friend, remembering the late nights spent at Prof’s Place chowing down on all that fried deliciousness.

Rowan is more than just an academic learning experience, so get out there and connect! The relationships you make today (friendship or romantic) are bound to last a lifetime, and forever impact you in unexpected and amazing ways. 

Did you meet the love of your life here at Rowan University (or Glassboro State College)? Share in the comments below!

By: Katelyne Ortega, junior public relations major

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