This article can be found in the Fall 2019 edition of the Alumni Magazine.
November 18, 2019
Topping the University of Saint Francis romance of Shawn and Olivia (Hall) Ryan won’t be easy. It might even be impossible.
They met here, earned their nursing degrees here, fell in love here and—in a first for the new St. Francis Chapel—were married here.
“It feels corny to say, but I really do feel I got everything from Saint Francis,” Olivia said. “I got my dream job, I got my dream guy and my wedding was the most perfect ever, all from Saint Francis.”
Shawn and Olivia, both from Fort Wayne, met in 2015. There’s some dispute over exactly where they first connected. Olivia says it was during their first clinical at Parkview Hospital Randallia. Shawn, who played on the first USF national championship football team, believes it was microbiology class.
“It was the same semester,” Shawn said. “I just like the memories from microbiology class better.” Once they started dating, the relationship blossomed. “I knew I wanted to marry Shawn the very first summer we started going out,” Olivia said.
They dated throughout their undergraduate years, with Olivia earning her degree in May 2017 and Shawn in December 2017. Both landed quality nursing jobs in Fort Wayne. Olivia works in the surgical trauma ICU at Parkview Regional Hospital and Shawn in the cardiovascular ICU at Lutheran Hospital. “We’ve covered both bases,” Shawn said. Olivia is also continuing her USF education to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. The couple took a trip to Disney World in April 2018 and Shawn brought a ring along with him.
“I proposed in front of Cinderella Castle,” Shawn said. “Disney’s her favorite place on earth so everything worked out.” Olivia might have had a slight suspicion before Shawn popped the question. “I really wanted it to be there,” Olivia said, “but it still caught me off guard.”
Shawn proposed in the middle of the day, with a crowd around. “Everyone started clapping,” Olivia said. “It was really cool.” As they moved ahead with plans for their wedding, the St. Francis Chapel was at the forefront of their preferred locations. Shawn, especially, was intrigued by the chapel early on.
“When I first saw the renderings of the chapel, I knew it was going to be a pretty special place,” Shawn said. “Going to school here and going to Mass in the old chapel every Sunday and seeing what the new chapel was going to be, I was really excited for it. When it finally came through how it was going to look, I thought we should have the wedding there. Saint Francis is where we met.”
Once they requested to have their June 8, 2019 wedding at the St. Francis Chapel, they waited to get the approval. As the time edged closer, they became a little nervous about having the approval in time to get the invitations out, but it all fell into place.
“Everything was awesome,” Olivia said. “The ceremony was amazing and then we got some great pictures all around campus.” “Saint Francis is like a second home,” Shawn said. “To be able to get married on campus was really special.”