A Walk Around Campus, A Love for a Lifetime

A Walk Around Campus, A Love for a Lifetime

As students, Catherine Jalomo and Daniel Rodriguez got to know each other walking a loop around Fresno Pacific University’s main campus.

So it was fitting that, two days before Christmas, that familiar walk led to something special. Near the Seminary Rose Garden, against the glow of the candlelit fountain, Daniel asked Catherine to marry him. And she said “yes.”

“Having Fresno Pacific as that special place where we met and where we grew together, I just felt like it was right to go back there to propose,” says Daniel, who graduated in 2019 with a B.S. in Pre-health.

“I couldn’t have thought of anything better,” says Catherine, who graduated in 2020 with a B.S. in Chemistry.

The couple plans a summer 2025 wedding. Both are pursuing doctorates – Catherine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Daniel at the University of Saint Mary in Kansas – and plan to complete their studies in May 2025.

The couple—Catherine, from Fresno, and Daniel, from Tulare—first saw each other among 60-80 students in a general chemistry class. An organic chemistry class and study group launched their friendship, and they began dating in Catherine’s senior year.

She says she was attracted to the “quiet nerdy type.” Daniel talks about Catherine’s presence. “Even when we were just friends – and it’s grown even more so over the years – she’s got a warm presence, even though she’s quite nerdy herself.”

Daniel enlisted both families for the proposal. He asked her older sister to suggest visiting FPU to see the Christmas lights and, after they were clear of the fountain and rose garden, Daniel’s family rushed from Memorial Prayer Chapel to arrange lights, flower petals and marquee letters declaring his love with a proposal.

When the couple came around the second time, Catherine realized what was happening. “It would have been nice to give a speech but I got emotional,” Daniel says. “There wasn’t much more that came out of my mouth besides ‘Will you marry me?’”

Today, both look forward to completing their studies and finding a place to call home. Catherine hopes to apply a Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry to a job in the industry or with a national lab. Daniel believes his ODT in Occupational Therapy will open opportunities wherever Catherine finds work.

They are grateful to have found each other at FPU. The university “has an importance and sentimental value for us,” Daniel says.


Cyndee Ott