GW’s Colonial Inauguration (CI) program is meant to bring new students into the GW family fold, but sometimes it brings together two Colonials in a different way. That was the case for Lauren O’Donoghue Whelan, CCAS BA ’09, and Cory Whelan, CCAS BA ’08, MA ’10, who met working as members of the 2007 Colonial Cabinet.
Cory remembers first seeing Lauren during their group interview on the Mount Vernon Campus and thinking how beautiful she was. Lauren…well, Lauren didn’t remember Cory quite as well, “but I did remember the awesome 3D lobster he made out of construction paper as part of the interview!” she says.
The pair developed a fast friendship during their time together on Colonial Cabinet, one that continued to grow until it blossomed into something more during Easter Weekend in 2007.
“That weekend was the first year Cory hadn’t been home with his family for Easter and he was missing them pretty badly,” says Lauren. The solution: a homemade Easter basket from Lauren and a date to Eastern Market (a tradition they try to replicate once a year)—they’ve been together ever since.
One of the couple’s favorite memories from their time at GW includes relaxing at the Vern pool in the summertime—it was their favorite spots to hangout and relax between CI sessions while they were serving on Colonial Cabinet. Another of their favorite spots at GW? Kogan Plaza.
“We would constantly be hanging out in Kogan with friends during the day and having life chats on the benches at night,” Lauren remembers. The location would take on an even more special meaning for the couple during President’s Day Weekend in 2012.
Lauren had planned a girl’s weekend in D.C., and Cory dropped her off at the airport in Boston on that Friday afternoon. Little did she know, Cory had made some plans of his own. As Lauren boarded her flight, excited to see her friends, he hopped back in the car and drove down to D.C. directly from the Boston airport to surprise her.
That Saturday night, after dinner at Founding Farmers, Lauren and her friends were walking through Kogan Plaza on their way to another friend’s apartment when she noticed the path from the Professor’s Gate lined with candles in mason jars. As she kept walking, Lauren spotted Cory standing in front of the Tempietto at the end of the candle-lit path.
Totally shocked, she ran to him, and Cory got down on one knee and popped the question.
“Of course I said YES! “ Lauren says.
To make the evening even more special, The Hatchet was there taking pictures, and some of their closest friends were on the sidelines watching and cheering. The couple was even serenaded with “Chapel of Love” by a (totally random and unplanned) a capella group after she said “yes.”
“Quite the night ,” Lauren says with a smile. “It was so beautiful.”
Lauren and Cory’s engagement in Kogan Plaza was one of many special memories from their time at GW. Another that stands out to them was the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and the 2009 GW Inaugural Ball.
“The kind of energy that enveloped the district that weekend was exactly why I chose to attend GW,” says Lauren. “Making history with the GW community and with my (then) future husband and best friends was the perfect way to kick off my last semester at GW.”
—W. Gray Turner