It was a Friday night back in the late 1960s when Miami Mergers Marilyn Wickerham and Harry Kent Russell met in a bar Uptown.
Miami University is known for its high number of what they call Miami Mergers. Miami Mergers are couples that met and dated throughout their time at Miami University and are now married.
Marilyn and Harry were out for the weekly TGIF, where students would all crowd into the bars Uptown, much like they do today, and relax after a stressful week of school. TGIF was a weekly tradition for Miami students at this time.
Marilyn and her friends had made it to the bar and began conversing with the guys around them. Harry approached Marilyn and asked her to dance, and they instantly hit it off.
“We clicked instantly,” Marilyn said. “We watched the same TV shows and we were from similar hometowns.”
After that night, they began to date, and their nights on the town included trips to the Follett’s bookstore where they would sit and talk while sipping on sodas together. They also went to the movies regularly.
The Miami Merger legend had began between 1949-1965. They met on March 8, 1969, their junior year of college, and they dated until 1971. Before leaving Miami, Marilyn said the couple kissed under the Upham arch – further solidifying their status as a Miami Merger.
They both graduated in 1970 and entered the workforce. After living apart for a year, they found that they could not live without each other.
“We got engaged on March 8, 1971 so that he could remember the day we met,” Marilyn said.
Although Marilyn and Harry found one another, discovering someone to date wasn’t always easy.There were no cell phones or dating sites back then, and sometimes students could get desperate. In an issue of The Miami Student from 1968, a boy posted an advertisement looking for a date for his formal. TMS reporter John Prickett did a follow up with him the next week, and found that the boy received 10 offers for dates to his formal.
Although this advertisement was only a one-time scenario, it goes to show how different dating and searching for “the one” was without technology. Today, all it takes is a swipe right on an app, and you could very well find the love of your life.
Through the use of the dating app Tinder, sophomore psychology major Sasha Gutierrez found her boyfriend, Kyle Ray, a Miami ‘18 graduate. The couple began dating on April 22 2018. They are grateful for the dating app that provided them with a successful relationship.
“I was scared that I wasn’t going to find someone that wanted something serious, since most people on Tinder just want to hook up,” Gutierrez said.
The couple planned to meet at Bell Tower dining hall a month before they began officially dating, and they found a spark after the first five minutes.
They began with the typical questions about their hometowns and their majors, but because Ray’s friend was sitting a few tables over, he told Gutierrez about all of the “crazy” things the friends had done together, and that’s what sparked Gutierrez’s interest.
Gutierrez and Ray’s relationship exemplifies how dating has changed since the time of Marilyn and Harry’s time at Miami. Marilyn has her own opinions about the new advances in social media and relationships.
Marilyn said that she would have a hard time trusting someone that she has only talked to behind a screen.
“I don’t know how they use a dating app now, they can just lie like crazy,” Marilyn said.
Marilyn is currently a professor for the College of Education, Health, and Society and is still married to Harry after 48 years. Sasha is still finishing her degree, but her and Kyle’s relationship is still going strong.