Winning at the game of love: An ‘80s alumni love story

The year was 1981. At the time, then-BCIT student Ron Jacobson was walking to his car with some friends after class when he was stopped in his tracks.

“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the most beautiful woman,” says Ron, now a BCIT alum. “She was carrying a baseball glove and heading to the softball diamond on campus.”

Mesmerized, Ron says he dropped his books, abandoned his friends, and walked in her direction. The mysterious softball player was Kari Clark, a student in the Finance Diploma program.

“I was a bit surprised when he approached me,” Kari shares.

Searching for something to say, Ron says he improvised: “I suggested that her team play my team someday…I wasn’t even on a team.”

It was a quick interaction, but Ron says it was enough to have him smitten. He asked her out on a date the next week. Feeling that there was a spark was worth exploring, Kari accepted.

Now, 42 years later, that spark still burns bright.

Falling in love and making it last

After their first meeting at a sports field, the couple stayed on theme with a Vancouver Whitecaps soccer game as their first date. Kari says her first impression of Ron was that he was cute and very outgoing.

Alumni, looking for date ideas? Enjoy special pricing on sporting events and other exclusive offers through the free BCIT Alumni Perks app.

Ron and Kari spent the final year of their respective programs hanging out on campus and meeting during the summer. The couple shares that the long hours spent at school combined with social events made BCIT the perfect melting pot for love.

Ron says it didn’t take him long to realize Kari was the one.

“We had the same values around life and family,” Kari recalls. “He was quickly becoming my best friend.”

Split image showing Kari in 1985 smiling with red Valentine's Day balloons and another image of Ron and Kari on their wedding day 1985
L: Kari before Ron’s proposal R: Ron and Kari’s wedding day, 1985

In 1985, Ron planned on proposing to Kari. He says he knew she’d have a specific ring in mind: “To play it safe and smart, I created a paper engagement ring in my office one day.”

He placed the stand-in paper ring in a ring box and proposed on Valentine’s Day. The temporary ring was replaced with a custom design of Kari’s choosing shortly after.

After more than 37 years of marriage, the couple has four children and six grandchildren (with a seventh on the way). Ron says she’s kind, caring, and still the most attractive woman in every room.

These seasoned veterans of love share their advice for making it last.

“Successful couples commit their lives to each other come rain or shine,” Ron shares. “Don’t get too down when it’s raining and be sure to make hay when the sun is shining.”

Kari, who says she loves how Ron makes her laugh (even when she’s mad), adds that relationships require daily effort, and a sense of humour is a must.

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