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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

A Chance on Love

Photo by Sydney Czyzon
Alumna Jane Panther (left) walks down 12th Steet on Marquette’s campus with her husband and alumnus Rob Panther.

A year apart from one another at Marquette, Rob and Jane Panther never met on campus.

But the two aspiring health professionals would connect shortly after their graduations — Rob’s in 1986, and Jane’s in 1987 — and become involved in what Jane calls a “whirlwind romance.”

As a nursing graduate, Jane was at her first job at Northwestern in Chicago. Rob, a health sciences graduate, was studying nearby at Loyola University’s medical school.

The two met on a blind date, but it wasn’t with each other.

“I was on a date with somebody else,” Rob says. “My friend who introduced us was in the back seat with Jane and another friend.”

From the back seat, Jane interjected with funny comments, impressing Rob.

“The blind date didn’t go so well,” Rob says. “(Jane) was kind of making fun of the whole thing … I think I was more interested in Jane than the blind date.”

A few days later, one of Jane’s friends came to her with a surprise message: Rob had been asking about Jane since the blind date.

Never having called a man in her life, Jane decided to take a chance.

Rob didn’t remember her name, she says. The two planned a dinner date at an Italian restaurant in spite of Rob’s forgetfulness.

“We went out on a date, and that didn’t go so well because he had no money and I ended up paying for dinner,” Jane says. “And I’m like, ‘Oh my god, if I never see this guy again, it will be too soon.'”

Despite the early setback, Rob invited Jane to play tennis days later. Rob’s tennis skills earned his redemption.

The pair walked around, shopping and sauntering into music stores. They connected over their mutual love for Bob Dylan and Tracy Chapman.

It was merely a week or two before the pair shared their love for one another, Jane says.

“We knew right away,” Jane says. “He’s totally awesome, and I just knew he was the one. I was crazy about him.

Not long after, Rob proposed to Jane in a pizzeria without a ring.

He thought you just had a ring at the wedding ceremony,” Jane says. “So we had no money … we looked for the cheapest ring.”

Their wedding was held at St. Josaphat Parish in Chicago, and the couple soon started a family.

I was going to go into pediatrics until I had a kid,” Rob, who is a cardiologist, says.

They had four kids: Jim, Ellen, Elizabeth and Celia, who all have attended or plan to attend Marquette.

Jim, a 2014 Marquette Law School graduate, is currently engaged to 2011 Marquette nursing graduate Megan Heinen.

They met at the wedding of two of their mutual friends, who both attended Marquette.

“At their wedding, he asked me to dance,” Megan says. “Then, he got my number and took me out on a date the next week.”

After recently getting engaged on the pedestrian bridge in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum, the two are currently planning their Aug. 10 wedding.

For Jim, Megan’s nursing background was a plus.

Megan says her nursing aspirations made her a “big hit” in Jane’s eyes. Jane says her own nursing experience benefited Rob’s treatment of his staff.

“All the nurses just love working with Rob because he’s so great to the nurses and all of the staff, and I always say, ‘Well that’s because I trained him how to work with nurses,’” Jane says.

While Jane and Rob don’t often talk about their love story, Jim and Megan view the shared values of Jim’s parents as inspiration for their own relationship.

“You don’t boast about it, you just live it, and I think that’s what I see in their relationship and I think that goes a long way,” Jim says.

Megan says she felt welcomed into the Panther family from the beginning.

“Knowing that he came from a big Marquette family with sisters and parents and everyone else that loved Marquette as much as I did was something that immediately lets you feel more compatible and more comfortable,” Megan says. “I think that we’ll definitely be able to bring that to our future family.”

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