“Part of drawing class was nude drawing. She was across the room from me, and in between us was the nude model. He would have to change his position every 30 to 60 seconds or something and you would really have to sketch fast. All of a sudden his position change was him just reaching down and grabbing his ankles. And so his butt is facing me directly and I look up to continue to draw, and honestly, I couldn’t keep it together. I looked across the room at Vanessa, our eyes met and we busted out laughing because it was so awkward and hilarious at the same time.
“It wasn’t all nude drawings … We went over to the greenhouses where CRCE is now and this is one of the first few times we had actually talked. We were doing charcoal drawing of the plants in the greenhouse. I said (to Vanessa), ‘You have some charcoal on your face.’ She went to the restroom and came back. She had put charcoal all over her face. She said, “Did I get it?”
“Between drawing nude people and weird charcoal face incidents, we fell in love.”
Doug Burgett met his wife and fellow Illinois alum Vanessa in 2000 when they were sophomores. They were married at United Methodist Church in Champaign and have an 18-month-old son, Oliver.
Listen to Doug's story.
“My sophomore year, I had figured out I wanted to pursue graphic design. What that meant is that I had to start in foundational classes, and one of those was a drawing class. I kind of came into this class with an attitude, thinking I was so much older than everyone else. I noticed Doug right away both because I thought he was a good looking guy and because he talked a lot in class and buddied up with the teacher a lot. I kind of disregarded him because I assumed he was a freshmen and I was a sophomore, and to me back then that was a big deal.
More towards the middle of the class, he had caught me outside of our classes together by Wohlers Hall and the architecture building and Krannert Art Museum. He had stopped me and very directly asked said, ‘Can I have your number?’ I was very taken aback by the directness and slightly scared off. In hindsight, it was actually really sweet because I don’t know that I’ve ever had someone who I’ve dated be so traditional about asking me for my number to date me. It kind of reminded me of a John Hughes ‘80s movie. I didn’t know that happened in real life.”
Vanessa Burgett on what she remembers about first meeting her husband, Doug, in 2000. After a busy fall semester and dodging Doug’s attempts to see her, Vanessa said she decided to walk to Newman Hall – where Doug lived – and call him up to hang out. They’ve been together ever since. Vanessa graduated from the U. of I. with a degree in English in 2002 and Doug graduated in 2003 with a degree in graphic design.
Listen to Vanessa's story. For the entire #ILLINOISlove playlist, listen here.
To read more #ILLINOISlove stories:
Will and Melissa
Stephanie and Brandon
Lucia and Peter
Amber and Dwayne
Pat and Dick
Ted and Gillian
Patrik and Lindsey
Bryan and Annick