Blue Devils in Their Hearts

couple who met as UW-Stout students get married on campus

by UW-Stout News

Kira and Mike Sullivan and their wedding party enjoy a happy moment on their wedding day in front of the UW-Stout library, across the street from where they were married at the Memorial Student Center. Photo Credits: one.two.Three Photography by Tara Pichelmeyer
Kira and Mike Sullivan and their wedding party enjoy a happy moment on their wedding day in front of the UW-Stout library, across the street from where they were married at the Memorial Student Center. Photos: One.Two.Three Photography by Tara Pichelmeyer

Kira Blake and Mike Sullivan met as students in 2009 at UW-Stout in Menomonie, and it didn’t take them long to make a connection. Soon, they were getting together in the mornings for coffee and enjoying Scrabble dates.

Seven years later, when they decided to tie the knot, the decision where to get married seemed as easy and natural as their relationship. On Saturday, Aug. 20, Kira and Mike made it official where it all began – at UW-Stout.

In front of about 200 guests, many of them Blue Devil alumni as well, they were married in the Crystal Ballroom at the Memorial Student Center. The reception was held just a few steps away – across the hallway – in the Great Hall of the student center.

Although rain that day forced the wedding inside from where they had planned to hold it, the amphitheater on the east side of the student center, Kira said everything came off without a hitch as they were getting hitched.

“It was perfect. I was pretty bummed about the rain, but that all went away when I saw how everything came together,” Kira said. “We had a lot of compliments on the Crystal Ballroom. People said, ‘This is your backup site?’”

The day included wedding party photos on the grand staircase in the student center and elsewhere on campus and a dance in the Great Hall to wrap up the reception.
One of the wedding colors was navy blue, which happens to be one of the school colors. Mike wore a blue suit.

The groomsmen and bridesmaids included several of Kira and Mike’s friends who were UW-Stout alumni.

The wedding photographer was alumna Tara Pichelmeyer, who owns One.Two.Three Photography of New London. Pichelmeyer graduated in December 2015 in business administration, with an emphasis in graphic communications and a minor in applied photography.

Kira and Mike Sullivan pose on the porch of the Louis Smith Tainter House at UW-Stout on their wedding day, Aug. 20. The couple met on campus in 2009 and were married at the student center.
Kira and Mike Sullivan pose on the porch of the Louis Smith Tainter House at UW-Stout on their wedding day, Aug. 20. The couple met on campus in 2009 and were married at the student center.

Making Their Home in Menomonie

Along with being UW-Stout alumni, one of the reasons Kira and Mike decided to have their wedding on campus is that they have remained in Menomonie. Kira is a regional community development case manager for Goodwill Industries, and Mike works in sales at Keyes Chevrolet in north Menomonie.

Kira, originally from Johnson Creek between Madison and Milwaukee, graduated in 2010 with a degree in vocational rehabilitation. Mike, from Ashland, is close to finishing his degree in business administration while working full time.

Kira said she switched majors about three times before finally settling on vocational rehabilitation. She worked at Goodwill while in college and moved into a full-time position with her degree. She works with people who have “disabilities or some kind of employment barrier” to help them get back in the workforce; Goodwill provides training and possibly a job.

“I love it. I never came to Menomonie thinking I’d stay here, but I was fortunate enough to start with a company in college and work my way up,” she said.
Kira and Mike bought a home in Menomonie in 2014. They have two cats and still play Scrabble together.

Destination: UW-Stout

Getting married at the Memorial Student Center gave their family and friends a chance to see where they met and the city where they’re making their life together, as opposed to the destination wedding site they had briefly considered.

UW-Stout and Menomonie are home to them now. “I was involved in some student organizations in college. I felt like I lived at the student center for a while,” said Kira, noting however that the building has been remodeled since she graduated.

The wedding was catered by University Catering, part of UW-Stout Dining Services led by Catering Manager Rod McRae. Learn more at www.uwstout.edu/dining/catering/index.cfm.

“I highly recommend UW-Stout as a venue and their catering staff. Rod was wonderful. They were just amazing. Everyone from Stout was amazing to work with,” Kira said.

University Catering caters many types of events on and off campus and has done weddings for other alumni as well, McRae said.