Alumni Reunite 25 Years After Rome Semester, Will Marry This Fall
Date published: July 2, 2019
While many UD couples joke about their “ring-by-spring,” Karen Norris, BA ’88, and
Michael Rouse, BS ’87, have a less conventional UD love story.
Norris and Rouse first met at New York’s JFK Airport in January 1985 while making
the connection on the group flight from Dallas to Rome. They traveled together throughout
the Rome semester, journeying through Europe, and visiting places like Capri and Heidelberg.
In addition to late-night studies of Aristotle, Norris and Rouse have fond memories
of playing Trivial Pursuit with a group of friends in the dorm lounge. While they
were good friends during the rest of their time at UD, they lost touch after graduation.
It was only about 10 years ago, nearly 25 years after their Rome semester, that they
crossed paths again when Norris Googled her name. “I found out that Karen Norris is
a 1940s movie star ... and my name popped up on Michael’s website,” said Norris. This
sent her searching through her own albums of memories from UD and the Rome semester,
looking for this fellow alumnus and spring 1985 Romer in her own photographs. She
reached out to Rouse via email, and much to her surprise, he sent her a reply, and
they began an email correspondence that continued until Rouse came to Fort Worth on
a work trip. “When I first saw her, she was still the pretty girl from across the
classroom in Rome,” said Michael. They struck up their old friendship again and soon
Inspired by Professor of Physics Richard Olenick’s classes, Rouse, a former physics major, proposed on a beach in Oregon during the
diamond ring effect of the 2017 total solar eclipse: “I proposed at exactly 10:17:51
a.m. PDT (plus or minus a couple of seconds) on August 21, 2017, at 44°45’03” N latitude
and 124°03’52” longitude (within a quarter second of arc). I am the most attentive
fiance ever! Thank you, solar eclipse!”
They will be getting married at Immaculate Conception Jesuit Church in New Orleans
on Oct. 24, 2019, and at their reception they will serve — what else? — Due Santi
wine. Since Norris works in Dallas as the director of curriculum and instruction at
Momentous Institute, the couple will start their new life together in Irving, although
Rouse jokes that he is really just moving back to be closer to the Cap Bar.
While Norris and Rouse might not have begun dating while at UD, they still credit
UD — and their Rome semester in particular — for their love story. “My time at UD
gave me friends for life, and my semester in Rome gave me my wife,” said Rouse.