Finding love at MSUM: Former Dragons built life long connections while attending school

Let’s be honest, the majority of people spend a fair amount time searching for that special someone. Whether it’s through work, school, the gym or a mutual friend, we just want to love and be loved in return.

Even though we never know when cupid’s arrow will strike, some are fortunate enough to find “the one” while attending college. There are a multitude of suitors in a single class, let alone throughout the entire campus. Although there are probably several couples that had their journeys start at MSUM, here are two special couples whose stories all began during their college careers.

Ashley Berg and Xavier Reed 

Xavier Reed proposed to Ashley Berg during Christmas 2012. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Xavier Reed proposed to Ashley Berg during Christmas 2012. SUBMITTED PHOTO

It was Ashley Berg’s freshman year. As a member of the Dragon track and field team, she attended the student athlete kick-off get together; that’s when she first saw Xavier Reed.

“When I first saw him I was like ‘oh he looks serious and he looks like he’s been here for awhile.’ I just thought he was really handsome and looks like he liked to have fun. He looked like my type of person,” Berg said.

However, Reed had just gotten out of another relationship and didn’t share the same feelings as Berg.

“I liked him and he didn’t like me right away,” Berg said. “So we just were friends and kind of hung out.”

Reed, a sophomore forward for the Dragon men’s basketball team at the time, agrees.

“Ya, I didn’t really like her that much as first, but she grew on me,” Reed said. “She was always somebody I could go to and talk to. She had a good personality and we are really alike in a lot of ways, but also opposites attract, and I think there are things that we do differently that kind of attract us together too. It was just a mix of knowing that she’s somebody I can trust and will always be there for me.”

Reed jokes that their first date was at Kise, but Berg clarified that their first date was at Xavier’s house.

“He just invited me over for a movie and we talked about growing up,” Berg said. “We played video games and just relaxed. We were just trying to get to know each other.”

Berg and Reed became an official couple June 1, 2010, although, they had been dating for a couple months prior.

Berg and Reed pose for a photograph after one of Xavier’s basketball games in March 2011. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Berg and Reed pose for a photograph after one of Xavier’s basketball games in March 2011. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Reed’s best memory with Berg from their time at MSUM is being able to go and support each other at sporting events. Berg would always go to his basketball games and Reed would watch her run at her track meets.

“I know we both really cared about our sports a lot when we were in them, it’s something I think we will remember about each other forever,” Reed said.

This past Christmas, Reed planned to get both of their families to get together for the holidays so he could propose; however Berg had no idea. She thought it was a bit weird that she and her family would be spending Christmas with Reed’s family, because they never spend the holiday away from home, but she brushed it off.

On Christmas, after they had finished eating dinner, Reed was antsy for the group to start opening presents, Berg said. After everyone else had opened their presents, it was finally time for Berg to open hers from Reed. It was a giant box, which she was extremely excited for.

“I was like ‘oh my gosh, what am I getting, it’s something good; it’s huge’.”

Inside the giant box was a smaller box. Inside the smaller box was yet another smaller box. After five boxes there were three small ring size boxes. In the first box was an owl shaped toothbrush holder and in the second a snowman snap bracelet.

“I was like kind of mad,” Berg said. “When I got to the third box I was like choking up because I was like “Oh my god, this has to be it, this is it,” and Reed got down on one knee and it was in a ring box, and inside was four dice and Xavier said I thought you and your friends might want to play craps.”

Even though Berg thought it was funny and was laughing, she was still kind of upset about the gag gifts. Even the rest of the family in the room was frustrated at Reed, and yelled “are you serious?” at him. But after everyone had a good laugh about the gifts, Reed got up, went and grabbed a different box and said “enough with the jokes,” and he opened the box and there was the ring, Berg said.

“It was really funny and a lot like Xavier, but it was really cute,” Berg said. “It was nice that my family and his family were all together for it; my dad actually got it on tape.”

Reed knew he wanted to marry Berg when they moved in together in July of 2011.

“I had seen how serious she was starting to get about life and her school and knowing that there were more important things than having fun all the time because that’s how I am,” Reed said. “I like to have fun with my friends but I take school and my profession seriously. It was good to know that somebody else that I loved saw things the same way.”

Reed and Berg can’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together. Their wedding is planned for Aug. 23, 2014 in Minneapolis.

Brenda and Corey Elmer

Corey and Brenda Elmer at Euro-Spring in 1992. SUBMITTED PHOTO.

Corey and Brenda Elmer at Euro-Spring in 1992. SUBMITTED PHOTO.

The year was 1989, Brenda (Piotter) Elmer and Corey Elmer were freshmen at Moorhead State University at the first student organization meeting of the year. As a sign-in sheet was being passed around the table, Corey Elmer, who had spotted Brenda, wrote down her name and address when the sheet got to him.

“I thought she was lovely and intelligent, and I thought, ‘I want to meet this girl’,” Corey said.

Corey asked Brenda out for ice cream following the meeting, but she turned him down because she was still seeing someone in her hometown of Sisseton, S.D.

In October, Corey had the courage to ask Brenda out again and they went to the movie “The Abyss,” at The Safari Theater.

“On our first date I thought she was very pretty, very smart girl,” Corey said. “I remember I let her drive my car around town.”

There was a Dahl-Ballard picnic in Gooseberry Park following Corey and Brenda’s first date, which they attended. After the picnic, Corey called Brenda’s friend and roommate and she let Corey into their dorm room so he could leave a rose on Brenda’s pillow.

Soon after Brenda and Corey spent almost all their time together. Whether it was hanging out in the dorms doing homework, participating in student organizations or heading to Kise for lunch or dinner, the two soon became an item.

Corey and Brenda Elmer with their three sons Christian, Jack and Blake on vacation.

Corey and Brenda Elmer with their three sons Christian, Jack and Blake on vacation.

“We both had an interest in current events, student government and politics and that sparked out interest at first,” Brenda said.” We ended up being on Student Senate together.”

Both Brenda and Corey graduated from Moorhead State University in 1994. After college, Brenda was job searching while Corey attended graduate school in New Zealand, which was a difficult time in the relationship for both.

“It was a trying year, I think the distance really made it certain that distance does make the heart grow founder,” Brenda said. “I went to visit him towards the end of his time there for a three-week trip and that’s when we said that we he (Corey) got back at the end of the year we would get engaged.”

When he returned, Corey proposed to Brenda at the front gates of MSUM at the stroke of midnight, in the falling snow, on New Year’s Eve of 1995. The two were married 10 months later on Oct. 5, 1996.

After their wedding, Corey and Brenda moved to St. Paul, Minn., where Corey was a lobbyist at the state capitol and Brenda was a policy analyst in the House of Representatives. The couple had their first child, Christian, in May of 2001.

In January of 2003, Corey and Brenda decided to move back to Moorhead with their son Christian. Even though they both loved their jobs, they wanted to be closer to family, and the city life style, along with busy jobs, was too hectic for raising a young family.

Brenda and Corey now reside in Moorhead and have three boys: Christian, 11; Jack, 9, and Blake 5, along with a puppy, Molly, and a cat.

“We just enjoy the time we spend together as a family or just us,” Corey said. “Whether it be coffee sometime or going to a movie.”

Brenda is currently a Moorhead City Council Woman in Ward 3. Corey is an attorney and shareholder at the Vogel Law Firm in Moorhead where he works in business transactions and corporate law. He also is the board president of the Alumni Foundation at MSUM.

Brenda and Corey both said they owe everything to MSUM, from their marriage, kids and where they live, they love to give back to the school and the community.

“Looking back it is so much fun to have enjoyed college with my best friend,” Corey said. “I mean to go through all that and look back now and think we went through it together, it’s so much fun, it’s been a treat everyday.”


3 responses to “Finding love at MSUM: Former Dragons built life long connections while attending school

  1. It was the first day of summer school and my first day of college having graduated from high school 3 weeks earlier. I was scheduled to take English 101 from Dr. Woolwind, so I got to class early and took a seat. Across the room sat a beautiful classmate. Over the next couple of weeks we got to know each other, and began to date. (Our first date was to the Strawhat Players play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” It was 3 weeks later that I proposed to her, and we have been married for almost 43 years. We have been blessed with 2 sons and daughters-in-law and 3 grandchildren. Life is good thanks to what was known back in 1968 as Moorhead State College.


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