Valentine's Day Snapshot

Married Alumni that Graduated Together reflect on "soft skills" that keep them bonded 12 years later

In 2004 Jeffrey and Nichole Gamble graduated together from National University.  The married couple made a mutual investment in a brighter future, culminating in a memorable commencement ceremony on Mother’s Day.

“We value education,” said Nichole at the time. “Our lives and our opportunities have definitely been enriched. We’re completely different people now than we were when we first enrolled.”

Twelve years later, the National University Alumni Association followed up with the couple for Valentine’s Day to see how they were doing.

“We’re still in ‘happily ever after’ mode,” said Jeff, who originally earned a BS in Information Systems. He and Nichole, who earned her BA in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2004, have since moved to Suffolk, Virginia. She was the first in her family to graduate from college, and fulfilled a lifelong dream to become a teacher.

Both were so pleased with their experience at National University, “that we plan on pursuing our master’s degrees,” said Jeff 12 years ago.  Indeed, they did!  Both Jeff and Nichole have also launched their own businesses, including a non-profit organization that assists families of the developmentally disabled.

Having purchased a beautiful holm in Suffolk, and with each working now at a high level in their chosen field, the Alumni Association was curious if they had any big plans for Valentine’s Day weekend.

“We’ll probably go out for dinner and a movie,” said Jeff.  Those simple sort of dates have taken on greater value and meaning now that their three children have grown. The youngest is now a senior in college.

Does studying together and accomplishing academic and professional goals in tandem help to strengthen a 23-year marriage or enhance a longstanding romantic commitment?  “Going to National taught us the soft skills that help to benefit any relationship,” Jeff explained. “Integrity, honesty, how to communicate. All those things have served us well as a couple.”