Petrel Pair finds special photo in University Archives

In the summer of 1997, Kevin Martin ’01 and Heather Ringer Martin ’01 met during new student orientation at Oglethorpe. The two participated in a creative writing class, To Tell a Story, and engaged in a series of activities alongside other incoming freshmen.

“It wasn’t quite love at first sight, but we both found that we had a bit of attraction to each other,” said Kevin. “Our personalities, backgrounds, and hopes for the future meshed well. Not that it mattered right then and there. She had a long-term boyfriend and I had just gotten out of a long relationship, so it would be a while before we became anything more than friends.”

As they navigated the start of college life together, their friendship blossomed. A few months into their freshman year, things changed, and Kevin and Heather began their journey as a couple. “Three years after we started dating, in the middle of our senior year, we got married.”

Kevin proposed to Heather under a large tree that once lived on the academic quad. The two, now a Petrel Pair, share many special memories of their time at Oglethorpe as students, but perhaps the sweetest memories came post-graduation.

Kevin and Heather still visit campus frequently for alumni events and to visit friends. They’ve even brought their three children, Braeden, Emilia and Ashlyn—a current OU student—to the very spot on campus where it all began.

Since Oglethorpe is where their love and commitment first sparked, Kevin recently planned something special to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary in the fall of 2023.

“I like to put up old pictures of us on social media for our anniversary or birthdays. It’s always fun to look back at the different parts of our life together. In our college scrapbook are photos of that first orientation where we met each other in 1997, from the school newspaper,” said Kevin.

The college scrapbook that Kevin referred to did not have a photo of him and Heather together at orientation, so a hunt for what he calls his “Holy Grail” picture began. Coincidentally, their daughter Ashlyn Martin ’25 was taking an archives class with Library Director and University Librarian Eli Arnold ’06 in the fall of 2023. As his anniversary neared, Kevin saw this as a great opportunity to ask for help in seeking a photo of him and Heather at orientation in 1997, and in turn he was able to assist the university with identifying and categorizing photos from that time. “After a few hours organizing and labeling pictures, I stumbled across my Holy Grail,” said Kevin.

When finding this photo, Kevin described seeing “two kids who had no idea that the person sitting a few feet from them would become an incredible part of their life.” Kevin also credited the many friends that he and Heather met along the way, for keeping things fun and helping them become the people they are today. He encourages other Petrel Pairs to hold on to shared history together and join in to help organize and preserve the memories made at Oglethorpe.

It’s no secret that the time spent as a student is short, but memories last a lifetime. If you have photos of your time at Oglethorpe or need help finding your “Holy Grail,” contact the Archives of the Philip Weltner Library.

Group of students sitting on the grass.
Kevin Martin ’01 and Heather Ringer Martin ’01, both circled, sitting just a few feet from each other at orientation. This photo was found in the university archives as part of a surprise for their 23rd wedding anniversary.

Bride and Groom surrounded by friends
Kevin and Heather Martin, both class of 2001, celebrated their wedding among friends in 2000.
Kevin Martin '01 and Heather Ringer Martin '01 pose together.
Kevin and Heather Martin, a Petrel Pair, recently celebrated 23 years of marriage.