Love in Academia: Wiggins and Wiggins

Posted: February 9, 2005 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

Married couples in academia often seek positions at colleges or universities where both spouses can work, and most institutions are eager to arrange a “package deal” to accommodate them. George Mason University is no exception. There are many couples on the faculty and staff, and in this week leading up to Valentine’s Day, the Gazette profiles some of them.

Lunch Partners for Life

By Carrie Lake

Who: Dave Wiggins, director of the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, and Brenda Wiggins, associate professor in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism.

How long they’ve been here: Fifteen years—the longest they’ve stayed at any institution. Dave joined the faculty as a tenured professor and Brenda was originally hired as an adjunct.

How they met: In high school in central California, Dave’s sister noticed Brenda watching his baseball game. She went home, looked Brenda up in the yearbook, and told Dave he should call and ask her out. Brenda says she remembers cheering the team on by yelling at the top of her lungs. Dave called, and the rest is history.

Brenda and Dave Wiggins
Photo by Evan Cantwell

Advantage of working together: Carpooling. For 25 years of their marriage, they shared one car. Of course, that was before their sons, Jordan, 24, and Spencer, 18, were of driving age. (Spencer will graduate from high school this spring and will attend George Mason on a baseball scholarship in the fall. Jordan graduated from Occidental College and now lives in Los Angeles.)

Disadvantage of working together: If there are disadvantages to working together, Brenda and Dave can’t think of any. Mason is the fourth school where they have taught in the same university department. Other employers were Kansas State University, University of Maryland, and University of Oregon.

Best benefit of working together: Brenda and Dave enjoy having midday lunches together. Their favorite (and only on-campus) spot is Randall’s CafĂ© at the Prince William Campus. Otherwise, they like the Louisiana-style fare at Okra’s, as well as Jake’s, both in old town Manassas.

The key to their success: Keeping a good sense of humor and never taking themselves or life too seriously.

A Valentine’s Day tradition: Since they were married 33 years ago, they have always tried to go out for dinner and maybe a movie. They also humor one another by exchanging the funniest Valentine’s Day cards they can find.

Favorite Valentine’s Day memory: When Dave was away at college and Brenda was a high school senior, he ordered her a dozen roses. When two dozen were delivered by mistake, Brenda was impressed. When she called to thank Dave, he was puzzled (and a little worried he might get a bill for two dozen roses). Luckily, the florist never charged him for the mistake.

Write to at