The Memorial Belltower is NC State’s most iconic landmark. For some alumni couples, it represents their commitment to the university — and each other.
CCEE alum Jacob Weber (BSCE 2020) and Lauren Wright both started school at NC State in 2009, but their paths wouldn’t cross — at least not directly — for several years.
Weber, who was in the Army at the time, left school to serve in Afghanistan and returned in 2016 to complete his degree in civil engineering. In 2017, he met Wright on a blind date.
“A coworker of mine was dating one of his really close friends, so she set us up,” Wright said.
“But when we met, we were both like, ‘You look so familiar.’ We swear we had to have crossed paths at least once in the Brickyard. We’re convinced.”
They still bond over their shared love of NC State.
“We just love it. We love the close-knit community, the people we’ve met through State and our education. We wouldn’t be where we are without it,” Wright said. “NC State is in everyday conversation for us. We love going to games and keeping up with what’s going on on campus.”
Throughout the Belltower restoration project, she would send Weber updates about the anticipated arrival of the real bells. When he was preparing to propose last November, he knew the steps of the Belltower would be the perfect place to take the next step in their relationship.
To keep Wright’s suspicions about the proposal at bay, Weber told her he was taking her on a day date. On their way to downtown Raleigh, he told her he wanted to make a quick stop at the Belltower to check out a new plaque honoring veterans that had served in Afghanistan.
“He tricked me. I know it’s an alumni military memorial, so I didn’t think much of it,” Wright said. “When we got there, I was circling around the Belltower searching for this plaque that didn’t exist. When I came back around, he got down on one knee.”
That wasn’t the only surprise Weber had for her that day. After the proposal, the NC State drumline came out and played. Wright, who was in the drumline for two years, was thrilled.
“I started jumping around and dancing when I heard the drums. This is always my reaction for NC State’s drumline and marching band,” she said. “Once Jacob told me they were there specifically for us, I cried. It was so exciting and special.”
It’s a moment she’ll never forget.
“I loved the proposal because NC State has always been a big part of my life,” Wright said. “My older sister and my dad also went to NC State. I got my class ring from the Belltower. And now I have my forever ring from the Belltower.”