Thank goodness for co-ed dorms, or Joshua Schwartz, SEAS BS ’85 and Elissa Schwartz, CCAS BA ‘86 might never have met. As first and second year students at GW, Elissa and Josh lived across from each other in Thurston Hall. Josh was in engineering and Elissa was a political science major, so if it weren’t for their close living quarters, their courtship may have never happened.
“I remember Josh hanging out in the hallway in his blue bathrobe, talking on the phone,” says Elissa. “At the time, there were no cell phones.” It was ‘like’ at first sight, so they started out as friends. They ended up eating most of their meals together in the dining hall on the ground floor of their dorm.
After sharing multiple breakfasts, lunches and dinners, ‘like’ turned into ‘love.’ Their first official date was at the National Zoo. One thing led to another, and they eventually married in Newton, MA, Elissa’s hometown. The Schwartzes settled in Virginia where Josh is on the research staff at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a job he has held for the past 28 years.
After working as a paralegal in the early years, Elissa dedicated much of her time to raising their two children, Jason (22) and Lauren (19), both of whom are now undergraduate students at Virginia Tech. Raising the children surrounded by old haunts was a thrill for Mom and Dad. The ice skating rink that Josh and Elissa went to as students is now a courtyard in the building where Elissa later worked and took her children to daycare. And the National Zoo has been a favorite family outing for years, starting when the children were little and continuing on into their young adulthood.
“I think what’s so nice about being college sweethearts is that we have shared memories and experiences as young adults that blend so nicely with our much older adult memories and experiences,” Elissa says. “As alumni, it’s fun to tell current GW students that we met in college. And when someone asks Josh what his best experiences were at GW, without hesitation he’ll say: I met my wife there!”