As part of a week-long series alongside Valentine’s Day, we’re featuring stories about UF couples, past and present, called “Findlay Faithfuls.” Did you meet the love of your life on campus? We want to hear about it! Share your story via Facebook or Twitter using #IHeartUFindlay #FindlayFaithfuls.
The abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock said that “Love is friendship set to music.” For Abby Land and Brent Hoggatt, currently a senior and junior at UF respectively, these words hold special meaning.
Abby and Brent met the summer before her senior and his junior year in high school in Wilmington, Ohio, after she had transferred from another school district. Over time, they became friends while together in marching band and in theatre, where they built an on-stage chemistry playing romantic leads opposite each other. This chemistry didn’t stay on the theatre stage, however, as after a bit more time spent in each other’s company, Brent asked Abby out. Abby wasn’t shocked when it happened, saying that the magnetism they’d worked to create in their performances had spilled over and out into the real world.
The relationship blossomed throughout the year as the two continued to make music and perform together. When it was time for Abby to head off to college at Wright State University, Brent stayed behind to finish his final year of high school. Their love for each other kept them together through the separation, and, soon enough, Brent started to do college visits of his own. On one particular college visit, however, he didn’t go alone. As fate would have it, Abby visited just one school along with Brent, and, as she wasn’t entirely happy with WSU after nearly a year spent there, fell in love with it right along with him. “We both loved the University of Findlay, and wanted to be together anyway, so it made sense,” she said.
So, their musical love story continues at UF, where the couple are largely inseparable, helping one another equally with both academics and performances. “We study together often, quizzing each other over test questions.” Abby said. “We love that we get the opportunity to take classes together, and that we can meet up on campus in between classes because the buildings are so close by.” They assist each other with every production, and are currently studying lines together for UF theatre’s upcoming production of Funny Girl. The mutual affection for each other and for music adds an element of enchantment to their relationship and to their time on campus. “We’re bonded by musical performance,” Abby said. “The musicals we do together and the music we play in band provides a way of speaking and evoking feelings without using words. What’s more magical than that?”
“Magical” might just be the perfect word for describing the scene when Brent asked Abby to marry him a few months ago. It was over Thanksgiving break, and Abby’s friend asked her to go on a hike at a nature area in Wilmington, something they’d done regularly. As they walked, Abby started noticing that things were a bit “different” in the woods this time around. There were pictures strung up in the trees—pictures that followed her relationship with Brent from its beginning to that moment. Just then she looked toward the bridge and saw something red dotting its wooden path—rose petals. And there, among those rose petals, stood Brent, his trademark smile spread across his face and a small box in his hand. Abby approached, Brent took a knee, and the rest, as they say, is history, albeit one that is yet to have an end.
And the beat goes on for Abby and Brent. The plan for the newly-engaged couple is to marry in June of 2019, after they’ve both graduated and attained jobs in their chosen fields—she as a school counselor and he in the environmental hazards area. When asked what they’d suggest to other young college couples hoping to have a successful relationship, they agree that couples should always make time for each other. “Find something that the both of you love and make time to do that together,” said Abby. “You will be so much closer and will hopefully find that your significant other is your best friend too.”