An FIU alumnus brought his love story full circle when he proposed to his girlfriend where they first met – in the FIU library.
Timothy Tejera, 23, reached out to FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg over the summer to share the story of how he met Lillie Garcia, 23, in the Steven and Dorothea Green Library and to ask for permission to propose to her in a second floor booth where they had their first date.
Tejera and Garcia, both members of the class of 2019, met on Instagram, and Tejera invited Garcia to a first date over Vietnamese food at the library. He told Rosenberg that they laughed and talked all night, and they shared their first kiss nearby, on FIU’s “kissing bridge.” FIU lore has it that any couple who kisses on the bridge will be together forever.
“Let me tell you, I feel that FIU magic every day! We are happy and madly in love,” Tejera wrote to Rosenberg.
With Rosenberg’s support, FIU staff helped make arrangements for the perfect proposal.
Tejera also enlisted his friends – fellow alumni Josie Marie Garcia and Emmanuel Manon. Manon pretended to need a book returned to him by Tejera. Lillie Garcia didn’t suspect anything unusual, she said, until they were inside the library.
When the couple approached the library booth – on the 21st night of September – their song, “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire, started playing. There were photos printed of them hanging on the wall above the booth. And on the table: the same Vietnamese pho of their first date.
For the bookworm couple – Tejera, a comic book fan, and Garcia, a former English major -- the library was a fitting place to begin the rest of their lives.
“It was the perfect location for who we are as people,” Garcia said. “It was the coolest full-circle, fairytale thing… It was a really cool experience to have that tie into such an important part of my life.”
Tejera said he is grateful for the help in creating his ideal marriage proposal. It was more than he could have wished for, he said, and is glad that he was able to propose at the library.
“I had never met a woman like her–ever. And I found her at FIU,” Tejera said. “Some people just go through FIU and get their degree. I found my life at FIU.”
For Rosenberg, helping with the proposal was a pleasure.
“I couldn’t say no to a Panther who wanted to propose in our library,” he said. “What a great FIU story! I wish Timothy and Lillie a wonderful life together.”