First Impressions: Seth & Susan Stewart

By P. Ann Chen

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Married 27 December 2003

Maybe it was the fact that she was out of her comfort zone—a new MISM student outnumbered by MAccs in a management core class. Whatever the reason, Susan was not amused when a guy walked in late on the first day and nearly everyone—even the professor—just laughed when he said it took forever to find a parking spot. “He was pretty cute, but still I thought, ‘Who’s this kid who thinks he’s so funny?’” she says. “I figured he must be pretty full of himself.”

A few days later, when they were at the same table in one of the Tanner Building’s study rooms, Susan couldn’t help but eavesdrop as he chatted with a friend. “Turns out he was a MAcc student, but he wasn’t a class clown,” she says. “He was actually really nice and kind of shy.”

His name was Seth, and Susan hatched a plan to get to know him. Every day between classes, she’d sit at a table in the atrium with a conveniently empty seat next to her. It worked, and they soon became friends, study buddies, and steadies. After graduating in 2004, the newlyweds moved to the Washington, DC, area. “I proposed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, so being here feels right,” Seth says. His job at Freddie Mac and Susan’s work at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission keep them busy, but they still manage to visit Utah regularly and always meet up with their pals from the Marriott School. “We had so much fun there,” Susan says. “And I learned a lot—including that first impressions don’t count!”

Catch more Marriott love stories in “Joint Ventures,” in the Winter 2014 issue.

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About the Author

P. Ann Chen, a native of Los Angeles, California, is a graduate of the Columbia University School of Journalism. Her work has appeared in People, Allure, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among others.