Crush turns into love at homecoming

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Jake Brunner ’08 and Bonnie Harriman ’06 met at Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend in 2011. They were married in May.

Bonnie Harriman ’06 (graphic design) almost didn’t attend Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend in 2011. She had just landed a new job in Manhattan and was preparing to move. Then her car broke down.

But she hadn’t been back to RIT since she graduated and many of her volleyball teammates were going to be there, so she decided to make the trip to Rochester.

Meanwhile, Jake Brunner ’08 (finance) was a regular attendee. Brunner, who was living in the Syracuse, N.Y., area, liked to participate in the lacrosse reunion games and spend time with his teammates during the weekend.

Brunner and Harriman didn’t officially know each other. But the Saturday night of alumni weekend, former volleyball players and the alumni lacrosse players ended up at the same bar in downtown Rochester and Brunner decided to say hello.

“I knew who Bonnie was because I thought she was cute,” Brunner said. “She was a couple of years older than me so I didn’t really pursue her then.”

“I had no idea who he was,” Harriman said. “I had no idea he had a crush on me in college.”

The two hit it off and stayed up talking at a friend’s house until 5 a.m. Brunner told Harriman to call him on her way home to Boston the next day if she got bored in the car. Two hours into the drive, she called and they talked the rest of the way.

They talked every day from that point on and a month later Brunner visited Harriman in Manhattan. They decided to start a relationship.

A year later, Brunner was able to get a job in New York City as a finance director for NBC Universal. Harriman works as an art director for Hook & Loop, an internal creative agency in New York City.

They got engaged on Nov. 17, 2013, and were married May 8. They now live in Stamford, Conn., and commute to the city.

Harriman said it’s funny looking back at it all. When she was living in Boston she was looking for the right person but couldn’t find him. Then that Brick City weekend she stopped looking and found Brunner.

“It was really all about my teammates that weekend,” she said.

As for Brunner, he had forgotten about Harriman until he saw her again.

“I nudged one of my buddies and told him that I used to have a crush on her,” he said. “So I figured I would go up and talk to her.”

They are both glad he did.

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