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Newlyweds gain more than an education from UTM

By University Relations
On January 16, 2013

For Erin and Matthew Chesnut, UTM is the place they can both call home together. The two met and got engaged on the UTM campus and graduated together during fall 2012 commencement exercises.

Before attending UTM, Erin attended Riverdale High School in Murfreesboro while Matthew went to Columbia Academy in Columbia. He also spent a year at Mississippi State University before transferring to UTM.

"I came to Governor's School for the Humanities in 2007, and I just loved it. I loved campus, loved all my professors," Erin said of her decision to attend UTM.

A couple of years later, the two first met at an event hosted by the Church of Christ Student Center at Centennial Court in the center of the UTM quad.

"So, we both went, and that's how I met Matthew," Erin said.

After a miscommunication led to a humorously flawed first date, the two dated for 15 months before becoming engaged.

"The first night of the rodeo ... he had talked like [a group of us] were all going to go together ... but he came up with his parents, and he never asked for my phone number, so we all got there, and he couldn't find me," Erin said of the date.

"I actually hadn't been to the rodeo yet, so I did not know that there were going to be thousands and thousands of people there, so I thought I could pick her out in the crowd," Matthew added in his defense.

The engagement was also centered at UTM. In the summer of 2011, while Erin had returned to campus to serve as a counselor for the Governor's School for the Humanities, the two took a walk and when they reached Centennial Court, where they had met, Matthew popped the question.

"I had brought her best friend up here to take pictures, and she was hiding behind one of the trees, so I had to walk [Erin] to the edge of Centennial Court so [her friend] could see it," Matthew said, after Erin, expecting the proposal, had stopped in the center of Centennial Court.

The two later even had engagement photos taken on the UTM campus and were married on May 19, 2012.

Because they experienced so many notable life events on the campus, they both consider Martin to be their new family's home.

"This is really our place. Spring Hill is where he grew up, and Murfreesboro is where I grew up, so this is just important to both of us," Erin said. "This is where we became adults. This is where we figured out who we were individually, and when we met we figured out who we were together. "

"This is where we kind of grew into our own," Matthew added.

The Chesnuts graduated together on Dec. 15, Erin with a degree in communications and English and Matthew with a degree in animal science. While the couple currently also lives on campus, they plan to move to the Caribbean next year where Matthew will attend veterinary school.

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