Grad woos ‘Fair Lady’ with theater

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David Torrente ’97 and Nancy (Mertmann) Torrente ’98 were married in 2000.

David Torrente ’97 (mechanical engineering) has musicals in Toronto to thank for meeting his wife.

In 1996, David was going door-to-door on campus selling raffle tickets for the RIT Student Music Association’s trip to Toronto to see My Fair Lady. He was in the basement of The Wallace Center when he approached a student working on co-op making video recordings of distance learning classes.

“I had gone back to the office of the Music Association and I mentioned that I ran into this really cute girl working downstairs in the library,” David said.

“He sold me a raffle ticket and apparently he was interested in me,” said Nancy (Mertmann) Torrente ’98 (electrical engineering). “Then I kept randomly bumping into him.”

First, Nancy saw him on her way to the monthly meeting of the student association of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. The meeting had been moved from the electrical engineering floor to the mechanical engineering floor.

Then a couple of weeks later, the Music Association had its end of the quarter meeting at a local restaurant. Nancy’s roommate, a Music Association member, invited Nancy to tag along.

Nancy had just gotten out of a relationship, so she wasn’t eager to start another one. But David was persistent, and in May of 1996 they started dating. That summer sealed the deal.

David was working in the New York/New Jersey area on co-op and Nancy had stayed in Rochester to take summer classes. For her birthday, David had purchased tickets to The Phantom of the Opera in Toronto. He rented a convertible to drive to Rochester and pick her up for the trip.

“This guy is going all out just to woo me,” Nancy said. “I kind of fell for him hard that weekend.”

They were married in September of 2000 on Long Island. Today they live in Randolph, N.J., where David works in patent law. He got his law degree from Fordham University in 2005. He attended classes at night while working as a patent agent during the day.

Nancy is transitioning back into the workforce doing technical writing after being a stay-at-home mother to their children: Jean, 10, and Richard, 7. Before that, she was a systems test engineer working on air traffic control systems. She went on to earn a master’s degree in education from St. John’s University in 2004, which she put to use teaching middle school math.

They stay active with RIT. David is part of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and they come back annually for Brick City Homecoming & Family Weekend.

In July, they hosted a send-off party in Randolph for area freshmen headed to RIT.

They don’t get to many musicals these days with their busy family. Nancy pointed out that she still hasn’t seen My Fair Lady. Her raffle ticket back in 1996 wasn’t the winner.

“Instead, she got the booby prize,” David said.