Valentine’s Day Introduces “Wedding Wednesdays”

By: Sarah Vahlkamp

mom (3)

Valentine’s Day has become quite a celebrated holiday for couples around the world; and some of these couples may have originated right here at Quincy University.

Beginning today, QU Media will feature one QU Alumni couple every Wednesday until the end of the 2016 spring semester in a series titled “Wedding Wednesdays.” If you would like to make a submission to the website, please send your story as well as any pictures with the subject line “Wedding Wednesday” to

In the spring semester of 1987, Bernie Vahlkamp ’89 and Mary Pat Hillen ’88 began a relationship that could be traced back to simple small talk at a campus party.

mom (2)“I used to see her getting milk in the cafeteria. I thought she was cute, and I knew I had to talk to her. I was a lot more shy back then, though” said Bernie Vahlkamp.

One evening, Bernie decided to attend one of the weekend parties on QU’s campus. He had just finished his shift working night stock at Hy-Vee and wanted to enjoy the rest of the evening with friends. When he arrived to the party, he saw Mary Pat standing in the corner with her roommate, Colleen. He had seen her around campus, and knew her name, but this would be the first time he had gathered the courage to walk up and talk to her.

mom (1)“I told him my name was Priscilla,” said Mary Pat while laughing.

“And I told her I slept in a john boat in my dorm. I don’t know why we said those things. Just being young and silly, I guess. But I knew I wanted to get to know her more,” replied Bernie.

After that night, Bernie and Mary Pat did begin to get to know each other more and began dating in March 1987. When Mary Pat graduated in 1988, she took a job in QU’s Admissions Office while waiting for Bernie to graduate. After he did, they moved to Springfield and were married in June 1991. They moved back to Quincy in 1996, and have three children together: Sarah, 21, Jake, 19, and Zachary, 17.

“I would have to say it was love at first sight as soon as I got to know Mary Pat. I knew she was who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with,” said Bernie.

Bernie and Mary Pat Vahlkamp will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in June of this year.




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