Married faculty reveal love stories


In 2013, the Daily News looked into the lives of married faculty. Today, the Ball State employees who handle our food and dole out grades still dream, love and say incredibly gooey things about each other.

The Roberts

Branden and Whitney Roberts live and breathe Ball State.

“We are about as Ball State as they come,” Branden said. “We both attended Ball State for our undergrad. I attended for graduate school as well.”

Branden works in Dining Services as the general manager of the Atrium and Whitney is a food service supervisor for Woodworth Commons.

The two met while attending a luncheon for work in 2009 and they spent their first date showing their Cardinal love at a Ball State football game.

Beneficence watched over their proposal when Branden popped the question next to the statue.

They broke with tradition for their marriage at the Minnetrista Rose Garden in 2011, but they plan to continue their “Ball State love story” by raising their two sons to be future Cardinals.

Steffen and her Sparrow

Journalism instructors Colleen Steffen and Ryan Sparrow's romance had never been expected.

Steffen walked onto Franklin College’s campus at 17-years-old, ready to embark on a great dating journey.

Instead, she sat down in-between two cute boys in an orientation circle, one of which she would later marry.

“I was on campus for 10 minutes,” said Steffen.

They didn’t date their first semester at Franklin, though they did say they hit it off right away.

For Colleen it was the hair that attracted her. 

“He had the cute artsy boy floppy hair cut – it’s funny now because he’s bald,” she said.

Ryan said he just tried to come across as something other than an 18-year-old male.

They’ve been married to each other for close to 20 years and have worked together at three different jobs despite their differences.

Steffen has a label maker and Sparrow’s a stack maker.

“I love the fact that she’s extremely weird so that in a way she continues to mystify and challenge me day in and day out, which is a good thing because it makes everyday not boring,” said Ryan.

Colleen said she loves that Sparrow’s great with their daughter, Tommy.

“He [has] a gushy center, he’s really warm and accepting of people and their feelings,” said Colleen.

The Sadlers

The Sadlers have always used their talents to their advantage when it comes to wooing the other.

At their wedding in 2003, Andrea and John chose to reflect their background in design technology in the decorations and entertainment.

“I wanted to design the space and make a statement when people walked in,” Andrea said.

The two draped the ceiling with fabric and positioned lights to diffuse through the draping.

Andrea’s dress had light-colored flowers on it and multicolored topiaries sat on tables.

“There was nothing plain about it,” Andrea said. “It was very reflective of fun.”

John’s groomsmen, most of which came from theatre and performance backgrounds, wrote the couple a song for their wedding called “John and Andy” that recapped the pair’s relationship.

Now, John and Andrea both work in the Ball State Theatre and Dance Department; Andrea is a recruitment coordinator and special projects assistant and John is a scene shop supervisor and prop shop manager. They have two children: a daughter Josie, born in 2006, and a son Parker, born in 2012.

They don’t place too much importance on couple holidays or anniversaries, but one Valentine’s Day, Andrea texted John saying she felt thirsty.

John showed up at Andrea’s office with a big fountain pop from Woodworth on which he had hot-glued roses to the lid.


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