Penn 1993 Love Connections – Part 3

Since it’s Valentine’s Day this week, we asked our Penn 1993 classmates if they met their spouse at Penn. Many classmates responded with the story of how they met, if they met at Penn, and if they both graduated in 1993. We will be sharing these stories over a few posts. Here is the second installment of Penn Couples from the Class of 1993!
Stories included here:
  • Michele Stein Mendoza, C’93, GSE’95, & Dennis Mendoza, W’93
  • Howard Levene, Eng’93, and Tammy (Mirensky) Levene, Eng’01, M’05
  • Carolyn (Friedman) Frank and Josh Frank, C’93
  • Helen (Punwaney) Currie, C’93, and Neil Currie, C’93
  • Janet Miller Stier, C’93, and Byron Stier, C’93
  • Leigh-Ann Maltz-Dichter, C’93, and Eric Dichter, C’93
  • Diana Tapper, C’93, and Jason Gorevic, C’93
  • Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96, and Dean Grabelle, L’95
  • Allyson Wagner Sonenshine, C’93, and Coby Sonenshine, C’92, W’92

Michele Stein Mendoza, C’93, GSE’95, & Dennis Mendoza, W’93

How you met – First day of Freshman year on the 12th floor of High Rise South. Don’t remember much about our meeting, but we both clearly remember Dennis’ roommate introducing himself at the first floor meeting, “Hi, my name is Michael Jackson. I can’t sing, and I can’t dance.”

From Vyjayanti T. Desai (look for her and her husband’s story coming in Part 4):

When I was looking for pictures in my old box, I found these of Michelle Stein and Denis Mendoza from our freshman year (12th floor of High Rise South).   Michelle was one of my roommates and Denis was on our floor.

Howard Levene, Eng’93, and Tammy (Mirensky) Levene, Eng’01, M’05

My wife and I are both Penn grads…but we met after graduation!

We first met on JDate back in 2002, when I was a 1st year Neurosurgical Resident at Temple University Hospital, and she was a 1st year Medical Student at Penn.

We had our first date in Philadelphia at the Victor Cafe. We had one more date but our timing wasn’t right. We did discover that Tammy’s cousin was the Rabbi at my parents’ synagogue in Cherry Hill, and we had many shared interests. She was a Biomedical Engineer (her undergrad degree) with interest in Neurosurgery, and I was a Mechanical Engineer (my undergrad degree) who became a Biomedical Engineer (PhD) and at the time was in my Neurosurgical Residency!

We re-connected in 2015 (Thanks Facebook!) on May 30th, the day before my parents’ 50th Anniversary (Dad is Penn ’54 and ’58 and Mom is Penn Graduate school ’64).

Just about 11 months later, we were married and had loads of Penn grads there.  And yes, we did sing “Hurrah for the Red and the Blue!”

1993 Penn couples #93tothe25th LovePenn

Howard Levene met his wife after Penn

Carolyn (Friedman) Frank and Josh Frank, C’93

We met in the spring semester of junior year (1992) outside of the Quaker Shaker food truck, which was outside of Stiteler Hall. I was coming out of a Psych class, and Carolyn was walking with a couple of mutual friends (Joanna Fein and Stacey Steinberg). I hadn’t ever met or seen Carolyn, and was curious who the cute girl was with Stacey and Joanna. As it turns out, she was a transfer student, which explained why I didn’t know her. We started dating a few weeks later, and never really stopped, even though we were apart for four years after graduation when Carolyn was in law school at University of Miami, and I spent a year working in Congress for Speaker Tom Foley before going to law school at Georgetown. We inadvertently set our wedding date for our five year reunion (oops!), and will be celebrating our 20th anniversary on May 16th.
I’ve attached a before and after picture — the before is from the summer of 1992, a few months after we started dating. I was working in DC as an intern for Bob Shrum, a Democratic political consultant, and Carolyn was visiting me before she flew to Israel for a summer program at Hebrew University. I picked the photo mostly because of the Penn umbrella I’m holding.
Editor: Stylist points for including a Penn umbrella that gives a nod to the red of Carolyn’s shirt.

Helen (Punwaney) Currie, C’93, and Neil Currie, C’93

My wife and I met freshman year at the Hill House front desk. We both had the same work-study job as front desk staff. We were married on June 12, 1998 and will be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary this June. We live in Long Beach, CA with our 2 children, Katelyn (16) and Aidan (13).

Janet Miller Stier, C’93, and Byron Stier, C’93

Janet and Byron were “fixed up” by Penn Professor Al Filreis in the fall of 1992. Al was Byron’s English-major mentor and the director/trustee of Janet’s second home/summer camp.  Al arranged for them to meet with him in his office at the same time. Allison Fink Brody, C’93, was also instrumental in this pairing, by giving him the phone number for Janet. Professor Filreis read a poem at their wedding in 1997. Byron and Janet now reside in Los Angeles, where he is an Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Southwestern Law School, and she is a child psychologist in private practice.

Leigh-Ann Maltz-Dichter, C’93, and Eric Dichter, C’93

We officially met when we came to Penn in the summer of 1989 to discuss course selections. My mom embarrassingly introduced us and truly said, “You don’t need to marry him, but at least you’ll have another familiar face on campus!” We’ve been married since 1996! Thankful for our Penn roots and great friends!

1993 Penn Couples #93tothe25th LovePenn

Leigh-Ann Maltz-Dichter and Eric Dichter, then and now

Diana Tapper, C’93, and Jason Gorevic, C’93

Jason and I met one week before senior year at a party at 4012 Spruce Street.  We were introduced by Deb Brown, C’93, who promptly left to leave us talking with one another.  As it often does, the night progressed to Smoke’s and then Pat’s downtown with a group of friends, where Deb and Keith Dallara, Eng’94, W’94, obviously both not of sound mind at that point, made a bet over a cheesesteak that Jason and I were going to get married someday.  Nine years later, Keith presented Deb with her cheesesteak right in the middle of our wedding ceremony. Verdict was – not as good as Pat’s. Seems like we need another payoff from Pat’s during reunion weekend!

Lisa Nass Grabelle, C’93, L’96, and Dean Grabelle, L’95

In 1993, Dean and I were both Penn law students … he was a 2L, I was a 1L … when I first spotted him. I didn’t know anything about Dean except that he was a cute red head who was kinda quiet yet very social. As my kids would say, I “low-key” stalked him – usually at law school hot spots like the Irish Pub, Roosevelt’s, Smoke’s, Cavanaugh’s and other high class “Pick-Of-The-Week” drinking holes (Hilary Marion Hayes, C’93, was with me some nights to witness this and acted as my wing lady).

Looking back it would have been so much easier for me if I had an iPhone and social media to figure out which bar he was going to on which night! Guess my stalking worked….Dean asked me out right as summer started at the end of my first year in May of 1994. After our first few dates over one marathon weekend, I drove to the shore in my sporty Chrysler Laser with sunblocked tinted windows (of course, I’m from Miami Beach!) and shared my excitement with some of my 4049 Locust girls – Monica Muzzi Moore, Angela Sabatino Collingwood and Bonnie Todd Marino.

The rest is history! Dean and I married in 1999, live in South Jersey with our two teenage girls, and visit Penn literally ALL the time (while Dean attended college at Duke, he now feels like an honorary Class of ’93 member since I bring him to everything).

Allyson Wagner Sonenshine, C’93, and Coby Sonenshine, C’92, W’92

Coby and I met at Skolnick’s in Houston Hall sometime in December 1989. He had seen me perform at my first Off the Beat show at the Gold Standard underneath The Palladium. When we were introduced shortly thereafter (by his unwitting ex-girlfriend, no less), Coby stood up, looked me in the eye, shook my hand, and said “nice to meet you” … this simple courtesy made such a great impression that I knew I wanted to get to know him better. (His mother loves that part of the story.)

Anyway, we ran into each other a few days later, outside of College Hall, and ended up talking for longer than we should have given the snow falling around us. We started dating in January 1990 and have been together ever since.

We moved to Los Angeles after graduation to go to law school at USC and eventually ended up in Newport Beach, California, where we are raising two boys, Solomon (17) and Max (15).


Love these Penn Love stories? Read Part 1! And read Part 2!

We’re working on Part 4. Send us your Penn love story to upenn1993 [at] gmail [dot] com.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion Countdown

The weekend of February 9 – 10, 2018, marked 13 weeks until the 25th Reunion of the Penn Class of 1993 (May 11 – 14, 2018)! Meet us at the Button!

Join us we count down the weeks to our reunion #93tothe25th:

  • Do you have old photos or mementos from our time at Penn? Photos of Spring Fling? Football at Franklin Field? Classes at DRL? We are taking a trip down memory lane and would love for you to share your memories with our class in a future post. Please email us!
  • Follow us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.
  • Classmates are invited to join our Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
  • Donate to The Penn Fund in honor of our reunion! We want to break the 25th reunion participation giving record and every gift matters!

Book Your Hotel Room for Alumni Weekend NOW!

The Marriott Downtown (where we had a Penn 1993 and a Penn Alumni room block) is sold out for Alumni Weekend. There are alternative hotels near by. We recommend booking ASAP! Please see our class website for additional details.

Penn Class of 1993 25th Reunion #93tothe25th


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