For Proposal, Alumni Couple Goes Back to Where It All Started

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Ethan Kuster and Natalie Berigan after getting engaged on campus

Ethan Kuster, ’14, ’17 DPT, and Natalie Berigan, ’15, ’17 MBA, are sure that they met as students at Rockhurst. Other details are a little fuzzier.

“I say we met in humanities class,” Kuster said. “She was shooting some googly eyes at a guy next to me. I thought she was sending them my way and made the first move.”

Berigan remembers things a little differently.

“The real story is that Ethan and I met at a house party,” she said, where he introduced himself with a wince-inducing pickup line.

Either way, when it came to picking the perfect place to pop the question in December 2017, there was no better place for Kuster than the Rockhurst University campus, where the two first met and shared so many experiences.

“There was this one night when we first started dating,” he said. “We walked probably 30 laps around Rockhurst and she listened to all of my stories. At the end of the night, I remember thinking that I wanted to marry her. So it was kind of a come-full-circle kind of situation, to take the next step where it all started.”

Berigan agreed, saying Rockhurst is more than the place where they developed their professional selves — she said it’s also where their relationship first blossomed.

“It was where we met, where we grew from kids to young adults and where we learned who we were both in our relationship and outside of it,” she said.

Kuster’s proposal plan, which took about a month to map out, was as follows — ask Berigan to come to campus and pick up some physical therapy gear from one of Kuster’s instructors on the way to a lunch with his cousin, then surprise her there with the question with a photographer standing by to capture the moment. Somehow, some way, however, he said, some of that top-secret information might have been compromised.

“As we walked past the bell tower I told her to stop and she gave this look, like she already knew something was going on,” Kuster said. “I didn’t say any nice words — more or less, it was ‘Who broke? Who told you? Will you marry me?’”

With that, the speech he had planned went out the window, but he got the answer he was hoping for, and the couple staged a scene for the photographer to get that “surprise proposal” look before heading off to celebrate with family. The surprise didn’t really matter anyway, Berigan said — she was elated.

“It was one of the happiest moments of my life. I had known for a long time that Ethan was who I wanted to spend my life with, and it felt amazing to make it official,” she said.