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EMU Love Story: Michael and Leighanne Denja

by Chris Vilag, Published July 25, 2011








Names: Michael and Leighanne (Redmond) Denja

Relationship Status: Married

Anniversary Date: November 29, 1997 (started dating April 1994)

Do you have children? How many? Six; three girls, three boys

How did you meet? In winter 1994, I was living my second year as an honors student in Goddard Hall. I took the class, Psychology of Sex, with Pam Jacobs and I met a guy who lived in my dorm. We studied together for a couple of tests and I got to know his roommates. There were four guys in their suite, all traditional college students and really fun-loving guys, except one. Mike was a little older, non-traditional student who had started college after completing 4 years in the US Army. I thought he was a bit of a stick in the mud. Nice enough, but he was older and more serious and on the quiet side and just not my type.

I was on my first trial of the FLEX meal plan and in that year, and basically by semester's end I had a boatload of money left from all the meals I skipped and so I would invite pretty much anyone and everyone out to eat on my meal plan. One day I called down to their room and Mike answered. I asked if the guy I shared a class with, Aaron, was in. Nope. I asked if Todd, another roommate was in. Nope. I asked if Matt, the third roommate was in. Nope. Oh. "Is there something I can help you with?" he asked. I said, no, I was just going to see if they wanted to go eat. "Well, I'm hungry. I'll go eat with you," he replied. Shoot. Now I was stuck. So I agreed and we walked over to DC1 together.

In the course of a minute or two, we found out we both were cat people, not dog people and that both of us came from intact homes (parents still married) this amazing novelty led to a great conversation and I quickly realized he wasn't a stick in the mud and he realized there was more to me than silly co-ed.

Where was your first date? After a few more trips out to the Eateries or DC1, we had our first official date at the State Theatre in Ann Arbor. The next thing you know, it's 17 years later; we have been married for almost 14 years and have six children. Any cute memories you have together at Eastern? We used to always have endless email conversations on the green screen computers down in the Goddard basement lab. We also shared our first home together on campus. It was an apartment in the old Pine Grove Apartments (torn down to build the new Student Center) while I was a GA.

If married/engaged did they propose on campus? If so where? No, he proposed to me at the Arb in Ann Arbor.

Years attended Eastern: Leighanne 1992-1997 Michael 1993-1997


To share your EMU love story, e-mail We look for couples who met at EMU - preference is given to couples where both partners are alumni.