An Illini love story, co-authored by Ned and Anne Tabat, now living in metro Minneapolis:
“Dialectical Materialism. Lincoln Hall. Ancient Regime. Eccentric girl in lecture hall.
“These all play a part in our personal ‘How I Met Your Mother’ story. Ned was a young electrical engineering student seeking enlightenment by taking Professor John McKay’s European history class in Lincoln Hall, which he perceived to have a higher female population than the engineering campus. He was confident he would meet some congenial coeds who would be listening raptly to his views on dialectical materialism and study the ancient regime together.
“This was very strategic thinking in those pre-Tinder days and after a few false starts, he met Anne, a ‘reasonably attractive’ (his words) and ‘brilliant’ (her words) student majoring in history and economics.
“The courtship began with the anticipated deep discussions and numerous study sessions at the Illini Union. One particularly memorable conversation involved Ned recalling an eccentric girl in a discussion session where the power went out and students were trying to take notes in the dark and this enterprising student held up a Bic lighter to get the professor’s attention. As Ned was laughing at this memory, his face suddenly changed. He looked at Anne and realized ‘Wait! That was you!’
“Our days at Illinois were all too brief and soon Anne, being the older and wiser of the two, graduated and eventually ended up in Chicago working as an advertising executive. Ned stayed behind and went on to complete his Ph.D. and then headed to Bell Labs in New Jersey and later the University of Wisconsin, where he taught engineering.
“Thirteen years after our first date, it occurred to us that perhaps we should get married — and so we did. Our three reasonably attractive and brilliant daughters were born in Madison, in a Big Ten setting that we both love. We now live in the Minneapolis metro area, home to yet another Big Ten school.
“Anne works in healthcare marketing and Ned is the CEO of Semaphore Scientific, a company that specializes in sensors for autonomous vehicles. We have been happily married for over 25 years and were delighted to discover that the history textbook assigned to our daughters in high school was written by John McKay, the same professor who taught their parents European history at Illinois.”