2022 Averett Love Stories

Posted on February 14th, 2022 by Matt Bell

From February 1-14, Averett University has featured the love stories of some alumni, faculty and staff on social media. Read their stories below.

Pat Maurakis ’85 and Albert Maurakis ’41, ’08

Pat Maurakis ’85 met her beloved Albert Maurakis, ’41, ’08 outside of Averett, but it was an event at the University which brought them together. After many dances and concerts together, it was after a Danville Symphony Orchestra event that Albert asked Pat for her hand in marriage, saying, “You will marry me, won’t you?” The next day they were at the jewelry store, and later on she was ecstatic when he slipped the ring they picked out on her finger.

Al has since passed away, but he is the University’s oldest graduate. In 2008, just a month shy of 90, he obtained a degree from Averett. During commencement exercises, all in attendance stood in his honor.

Joel ’00, ’12 and Adrian Nester ‘01, ‘03

Joel and Adrian shared similar interests and friends in college, although Joel, Averett’s director of admissions, thought she, “was just a dorky freshman,” when they first met. But the joke is on him! Over 22 years later, they have now been married for 18 years in July.

While at Averett, they would communicate over Averett’s landline phones, write notes for each other and catch up at their dorm rooms. Joel says they began dating at the end of Adrian’s sophomore year, but she says it was the beginning of her junior. It’s a humorous debate they still have.

They have two sons, Patrick and Liam. When picking names for Liam, they knew for sure his middle name would be Averett because of their strong connection to the University.

Dr. Nic ’07, ’10 and Kaylin Sturdifen ’05, ’07

Nic and Kaylin met in 2004 in Averett’s Bishop Hall, where a video game tournament was taking place one evening. The resident hall assistant had asked Nic to make a poster advertising the tournament, then later asked Kaylin to color the poster to make it really pop – unbeknownst to Nic, who had gone to the other end of the hall to his room. When Nic walked out of his room and saw Kaylin coloring on his “masterpiece,” he wasn’t too happy at first. However, when he got closer, he realized this was a great ice-breaking opportunity to meet a new person.

From that moment, the two became great friends. About a year later, Nic and Kaylin started dating, and the rest was history. Two children, two businesses and a dog later, they both agree Averett proved to be the perfect place to cultivate a foundation of love for one another and for the University.

Jackson Weller ’01 and Sara Weller ’03

Love at first sight? Yes! Sara ’03 knew she would marry Jackson Weller ’01, Averett’s Alumni Board president, when they first met as students on campus in 1999.

Shortly after meeting, they went on an unofficial first date to Wendy’s. While the location was lame, the time together was amazing and they wanted that always.

They married in 2003, have three children, and a myriad of adventures – it is always exciting.

The first photo the Wellers shared is from 1999.

James and Hannah Contreras ’18

While at Averett, James and Hannah knew of each other through athletics – he was on basketball team and she was on the volleyball team. They became close friends after having a few classes together at the end of their freshman year. Midway through their sophomore year, James and Hannah became a couple and have been ever since!

After graduating from Averett in 2018, James and Hannah got engaged before he left for the Marine Corps Officers Candidates School. They got married in May 2019 and moved to Jacksonville, NC while James finished his training.

Currently, James and Hannah live in New Bern, NC with their great dane, Zeus. James is stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point as the budget officer, and Hannah works as a kindergarten teacher in the local school system. They are excited to welcome their first child in August!

Michael Brackett ’18 and Bri Harris ’21

Michael Brackett ’18 and Bri Harris ’21 first spotted each other in their sports communications class at Averett. Neither made an immediate move, but after watching Bri hit a home run in one of her softball games, Michael had the excuse he needed to stop her after class the next day. It wasn’t long before they began dating, and have been together ever since!

Bri and Michael were strong supporters of each other during their athletic and academic time at Averett. The happy couple recently got engaged, and they look forward to getting married later in 2022.



Jude ’14 and Lesley Swanson ’13

The Swansons met as freshman in 2011, and were introduced to each other by Dr. Nickens, who they would later share as a New Testament professor. The two became close friends that first school year and “finally” (in the words of many friends and professors) started dating in May 2012.

Jude and Lesley’s favorite memory at Averett would have to be when he proposed on the front steps of Main Hall at Homecoming in 2014. They later found a picture of Lesley’s late mother, class of 1984, from her time as an Averett student standing in the exact same spot.

In 2015, Jude and Lesley were surrounded by family, friends and Averett family as they were married. The Swansons now work for local school systems and reunited with many members of the Averett family upon returning to Danville.  They are truly grateful to Averett for all it’s given them, especially each other.

Kyle and Jillian Patterson ’09

Kyle and Jillian met while both working at Averett. Jillian was a fortunate Averett graduate in 2009 that was hired by the admissions office to help with recruitment. In 2012, Kyle began working for the Housing and Residence Life Office. They went on their first date in February 2013 and got married eight years later on the same day.

Jillian used to joke that she helped students get to Averett, and Kyle dealt with them once they got there. Both of them have enjoyed seeing the students they worked with mature, grow and succeed in their own ways.



Rev. Dr. Dan ’90 and Emily Carlton ’90

Averett is a foundational part of Dan and Emily’s lives that continues to bring them joy!

They knew each other as freshmen – sharing similar classes and hanging out with mutual friends. It wasn’t until their sophomore year that they began dating. Dan and Emily’s first date was at Pizza Hut at Ballou Park. Their first kiss (much later!) was on Fourth Main. While at Averett, they enjoyed hanging out on Bishop and Danville Halls with great friends. Dan and Emily did many things together – Averett Student Foundation, Baptist Student Union, intramurals and more.

Dan is the current Board of Trustees chairman. They were both also 1990 graduates of the University. “We cherish the great memories we have of Averett!”