A university may not be the typical setting for a wedding reception, but when Schauna Lawson (formerly Boynton), SASN ’13, needed a location for her upcoming nuptials, she immediately thought about hosting the wedding at her alma mater. The New Jersey native had recently moved back to her home state after several years in Texas, and wanted a location that had meaning. “I didn’t want to get married anywhere just to be in New Jersey,” she explained.
Schauna had been a theater minor at Rutgers University-Newark (RU-N), so her first idea was to hold the reception in Bradley Hall’s black box theatre. She walked into the Arts, Culture & Media department to try to book the theatre, where she was surprised to find her former professor, Fran Bartkowski. The alumna had taken a class on Toni Morrison with Bartkowski that she recalls as her favorite class in college. She said it was an amazing experience to be able to read and study one of her favorite authors for an entire semester. “I was so grateful to be able to take the class. I’ll never forget it.”
Bartkowski suggested the University Club might make for a better wedding location, and that’s where Schauna and her now husband, Jarvis Lawson, tied the knot on December 1, 2018.
“It was the best decision I ever made, because they made my wedding better than I could have ever imagined on our very small budget. It was beautiful. The food was delicious, and the room was decorated beautifully.”
Schauna and Jarvis grew up less than a mile from each other and attended the same middle school, but they didn’t meet until the end of Schauna’s freshman year in high school, when she mustered up the courage to have a friend tell Jarvis she thought he was cute. Before their relationship had a chance to blossom, however, Schauna’s family moved and they lost touch until she saw Jarvis again at his senior prom, where they shared a few dances and once again, parted ways.
It wasn’t until 2009, when they both happened to be sitting in the same area at a college step show, that they rekindled their friendship and began a relationship. “It wasn't love at first sight, but it's definitely everlasting love,” she says.
After graduating from RU-N with a degree in psychology, Schauna and Jarvis moved to Texas together, where she found a job at a university in student support and disability services. They were in Texas when Hurricane Harvey hit in 2017, and were forced to evacuate their third-floor apartment by boat when the reservoir sent water flooding up their staircase. They relocated to Waco, but eventually moved back to New Jersey just before their wedding. Schauna is hoping to pursue her PhD, possibly at Rutgers-Newark.
Schauna says her Rutgers-Newark wedding has given her more even school pride than she already had, but she has some advice for current students: “Looking back, I wish I would have been more involved on campus. I was so focused on just working and going to school.”