The Bucknell Marriage Statistic: a hot topic for students

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Eli Strausser / The Bucknellian

Juliana Rodrigues, Special Features Co-Editor

Among the students of Bucknell University, the high student-to-student marriage statistic is no secret. 

Commonly talked about by professors and students, the probability of marrying another Bucknellian is a frequent topic of conversation all four years. 

In the 2022 publication from the Institute for Family Studies regarding married alumni of elite colleges, Bucknell was ranked as third out of the 50 colleges observed. Their study found that 65.4 percent of alumni born from 1980-82 were married, but the specific statistic derived that fascinates the student body is the amount of alumni that marry another alum. 

According to a 2017 article from USeeIt, an organization that works to publish information and data about colleges around the country, about 15-20 percent of students marry someone else from Bucknell. 

Upon talking to different Bucknell students, staff and alum there is various speculation as to why the statistic is so high. 

“I would say that Bucknellians love Bucknell and through that it also means other Bucknell students,” Richard Alexander, the associate head coach of the Track and Field team, said. “So when you find a partner it gives you a nice foundation to build love around. So no, I am not surprised by the high statistic.” 

Alexander was a Bucknell graduate of 2003 and his wife was class of 2005. The two met during the time when they were both on the track and field team. Although Alexander’s wife does not work at Bucknell the coach came back and started working here in 2010.

“I do remember people mentioning that there was a high rate of Bucknell marriages when I was a student. I know several different Bucknell marriages dating back to before me and including one that just happened last weekend,” Alexander said. 

Theories vary and there could be many different reasons as to why this is such a popular trend, but one constant that was observed from questioning students is that many had a story to share with their own experience regarding the Bucknell marriage statistic. 

Sonia Sergeant ’25 shared her parents’ story of how they met at Bucknell. 

“My mom’s roommate was dating my dad’s roommate in college,” Sergeant said. “The roommates set my parents up for a random date party. While my parents before this didn’t really know who each other were, I guess they hit it off because they got married a couple years out of college and so did my parents best friends.” 

Sergeant continued, “the funniest part of the story is that the four of them became so close at Bucknell and stayed that close and now their three kids and my brother and I are practically like siblings. Their eldest son and I are the exact same age and we both applied to Bucknell, got in, and somehow even with Bucknell’s random room pairings we ended up as next door neighbors in Swartz. You can imagine parents’ weekend is so fun for them now.”

The Bucknell Reunion that takes place for different classes each summer are where many interesting stories stem from. Eleanor Geno ’23 talked about her experience as a reunion ambassador.

 “During the reunion it almost became a joke between ambassadors that almost every couple who came back for the weekend went to, and met at Bucknell.” Geno said. “I think that 90 percent of the alums I talked to were there with their Bucknell spouses. It was crazy to see the statistic we always hear thrown around actually come to life.”

Kate Festa ’24 shared what she knew about the statistic with The Bucknellian.

“Before starting my first year I did know about a high marriage statistic at Bucknell,” Festa said. “I was warned about it before coming here by my best family friends. They were both Bucknell alumni, they met here their first year here as they were both playing on the tennis team.”

A similar experience was shared by Emily Sharpe ’24. 

“I did know about the statistics coming into my first year because my best friend’s parents knew of each other while they were going to Bucknell but did not date during their time here,” Sharpe said. “They were in different classes and only dated after Bucknell but now they are married.”

She said that a man from her dad’s company questioned her at a career fair about whether or not she’d fall into the trend.

Katherine Witte ’24 shared an encounter just this past summer with a Bucknell couple.

“I give swim lessons to children of different ages over the summer,” she said. “One morning I was wearing a Bucknell shirt and the mom of one of the regular families asked if that was where I went to school.” 

Witte continued, “the mom let me know that her and her husband met at Bucknell their first year here. There truly are Bucknell marriages everywhere.

Like many others, Grace Overend ’24 also learned about the statistic before attending school here.

“I applied early decision and as soon as I got in I had two couples from the neighborhood reach out to me to let me know that their entire college friend group ended up marrying someone from Bucknell,” Overend said. 

When asked for her opinion on if the statistic would stay high she said, “in my opinion I can see the possibility of the statistic going down, but if it doesn’t, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.”

Sometimes the marriage statistic is one of the first things people learn about Bucknell — this is the case for Mia Sidlowski ’24. 

“I was here at Bucknell back in 2014 for my older sister’s first year move in,” Sidlowski said. “On that day, almost the first thing her roommate’s parents said to us was that they went to Bucknell together and are now married. They warned us that we would probably find our husbands here.”

Talking to Gwen Scopelliti ’24 she explained her thoughts and another possible theory on why the statistic is so high. 

“I didn’t know about the statistic before starting at Bucknell.” Scopelliti said. “Over the past three years after hearing about different parents who had gotten married from here and even professors talking about it, I learned how popular it was. I think a contributing factor to the statistic is our location. Being in Lewisburg we aren’t making many outside peer connections during the school year. We rely on each other and get very close during the four years here.”

There are also students who don’t believe this popular trend will remain as popular with our classes. 

“I did not know about the statistics before coming here and didn’t know it was so high, but I also don’t think it will remain this high with our generation,” Will Bertsch ’24 said. 

It is safe to say that the popularity of the Bucknell marriage statistic lives on through the many stories students have to share and the children from Bucknell marriages who chose to come here as well.

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