Vowed Vikings: A Q&A with Karen and Kurt Steigerwald

What did you study and when did you graduate?

Karen: I graduated from the School of Nursing in 1988.

Kurt: I earned a BA in Communications in 1986 and an MBA in 1988.

Since graduating, what have you done in your careers?

Kurt: Karen has worked as a nurse in a variety of hospital settings, from a Level One trauma center to extensive time in pediatrics at Hillcrest Hospital. This year she decided to take a new role as a school nurse with Cleveland City Schools. She’s enjoying her time supporting the healthcare needs of students at St. Martin de Porres High School on Cleveland’s near east side. I am a Vice President at MarketVision Research where I serve as a marketing insights consultant to companies in Northeast Ohio and throughout the country.

Besides each other, what do you value most from your CSU education?

Kurt: When I started college at CSU, I had no idea what I wanted to do. CSU really helped me explore different career options before I found the right path for me.

Karen: What I valued most was probably that the people in my classes were nurses working in various hospitals. Being in a classroom with them was so great, just hearing their stories in a classroom setting. CSU was one of the few schools that had a BSN (Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing) program for people who already had an RN. And it was affordable. And I loved the pool.

Where/when/how did you meet?

Kurt: A long story short, we were both taking evening classes. Between classes, we happened to go to the same location – Science and Research Center – to either hang out, grab a bite or just chill. Karen was often chatting up these other women who were also there, but ignoring me. One time she offered them some peanut M&Ms, but not me. I made a sly, flirtatious remark about not wanting any, so she then of course offered me some of her M&Ms. That small crack was all I needed to win a first date. And the rest as they say, is history.

Was CSU a romantic place in the 1980s?

Kurt: I don’t know about romantic, but after four years of an all-boys high school, the scenery was certainly a significant upgrade.

Karen: It must have been romantic because I could tell you a million CSU grads, including three couples in my neighborhood, who married other CSU grads. You met people there. Especially at the candy counter.

How about sharing one funny memory apiece from your college days?

Kurt: After dating for a few weeks, Karen asked if I wanted to go swimming at CSU’s pool. This was the middle of the winter and all I saw her in was big puffy sweaters, so I welcomed the chance to see her in a bathing suit. We met in the pool and Karen, unbeknownst to me, was a former high school swimmer. She started doing laps. I, a casual swimmer at best, started jumping off the board and doing cannonballs off the lower platform. Karen stopped swimming, came over and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ I replied, ‘This is swimming to me.’ She said, ‘People really don’t do that here. Why don’t you come and swim some laps.’ Agreeing, I went over to Karen’s lane to swim with her, thinking to myself, ‘I’m running three miles a day, how hard could it be?’ I was unprepared to swim for exercise. Two lengths of the pool later, I was grabbing for the side and gasping for breath. It took many months of practice before I could do more than two lengths without stopping. Today we often swim laps to stay in shape. Karen still beats me in a race. And she still looks great in a bathing suit.

Karen: That’s probably my funniest memory too. I remember swimming my laps thinking, ‘Where is he?’ And then I see him doing cannonballs off the diving board and I thought, ‘You’ve got to be kidding.’