Although the inside of the Wellness Center is filled with sweaty bodies and cold machines, there is something much sweeter on the outside.
Located in front of the entrance to the Wellness Center, the Love Bridge contains 153 bricks that express the testaments of people who met and fell in love at the University of Miami.
The bridge was named the Love Bridge on Nov. 5, 2004, to commemorate the love of two alumni, Allan and Patti Herbert. The couple established an endowment for the Canes Health Assessment and Motivation Program, a fitness assessment that is free for students.
In recognition of their gift, President Donna E. Shalala honored the couple by officially dedicating the bridge to everyone who has fallen in love at the university.
Wellness and Recreation Administrative Assistant Robyn Hardeman processes all requests for the bricks and frequently hears the stories behind the stones.
“The Love Bridge is really fun to work with. I get to see people at their best,” Hardeman said.
For a $500 donation, a brick can be purchased with 54 characters of type to set one’s love in stone.
Some engravings include, “U Complete me,” “Happily Married To Other People” and “The Best Thing Found At UM was U.”
Usually, from the day the bricks are ordered to the day they are cemented in the ground, the process requires approximately six to eight weeks. However, Hardeman explained that an expedited brick is possible for a special occasion, such as a proposal.
“We make it happen,” Hardeman said, “Three weeks minimum and we’ll get it done.” In the case of Leo Ramos, timing was everything.
Ramos, a 2005 graduate, contacted Hardeman and presented quite a challenge: He requested a brick inscribed with, “Martha Will You Marry Me? Sept. 22, 2007,” and notified Hardeman that it had to be set in the ground after his girlfriend had done her daily workout, so that she didn’t see it when leaving the gym.
Martha Armas, the founding mother of sorority Alpha Delta Pi, graduated in 2006 and had been disappointed that her boyfriend, Ramos, neglected to buy her a brick after five years of promising to do so.
Ramos coordinated with his fraternity members in Alpha Sigma and Armas’ sorority sisters to hold candles and serenade Armas with the Alpha Sig sweetheart song while Ramos led her by the hand to her brick.
“He got me all dizzy!” Armas said. “I was so surprised. I didn’t even know he was proposing until I saw the brick.”
The couple had first met during freshman orientation and experienced their first kiss at the Orange Bowl.
“The Love Bridge offers the ultimate gift,” Ramos said. “We met here; we fell in love here; in 25 years when we come back for homecoming I’ll be able to show my kids where I proposed to their mom.”
Lauren Carra may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Love Bridge:
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