From classmates to soulmates | AJ & Gina

Posted on Feb 9, 2015 in Alumni News and News

Whether it was in the midst of Budig 320 or over a crunchy chicken cheddar wrap at the Market, hanging out on Wescoe Beach or at a network watch party years later, countless Jayhawks owe their marriage to their time on the Hill. We’re sharing some of our favorite stories this week in anticipation of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, Feb. 14.

A.J. and Gina DeBacker | photo by Peyton Baldwin | www.kualumni.orgGina (Souders) DeBacker, j’08, and A.J. DeBacker, e’07

Gina and A.J. were married June 27, 2009. Gina shared the story of how they met:

I met A.J. when I was a freshman at the University of Kansas in 2005. I enrolled in a Taekwondo class to stave off that “freshman 15” you’re always hearing about, as well as to check off a pesky single credit for a well-rounded semester. I started out as a white belt when A.J. was a black belt. We didn’t talk much during class itself, but he did teach me a couple of forms and complimented my high kicks when we sparred.

We were both rather shy, so we really owe our eventual pairing to Mark Zuckerberg. As you may recall, Facebook launched in 2004, and even though A.J. and I shared class twice a week, it was via Facebook that we even started talking. Too shy to approach me, A.J. poked me on Facebook, I poked him back, and so on. This went on for awhile, and eventually we started messaging, still never actually talking face-to-face.

We made plans to meet up at The Granada for their weekly “Eighties Night” and ended up dancing the night away. He asked me out on an actual date the very next day. It wasn’t long before we became a couple. Of course I was initially attracted to him, but I soon fell in love with him. He’s funny, extremely smart, considerate and can even be charming on occasion.

This past year we celebrated our five-year wedding anniversary, as well as 10 years of being with each other.
We no longer practice Taekwondo, but we do enjoy “sparring” every once in awhile. And as it turns out, we were not the only couple to pair off from that Taekwondo class during the spring 2005 semester—three additional couples met in that very same class and went on to get married. It must have something to do with those darn doboks.

Photo by Peyton Baldwin.

See more of our Jayhawk couples online and send us your own! To have your photo included in our Jayhawk wedding album, please email a JPG image to

Please include:
•    Names of the couple
•    KU degree information if applicable
•    Wedding date
•    Brief story of how you met

By sending us your photo, you consent that the photo will be included in the Jayhawk Wedding Album on the KU Alumni Association Facebook page.

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