Did Cal Lutheran send out the first college admission letter containing a marriage proposal? Talk about wanting to get accepted.
Last year Troy Tittlemier of Palmdale, Calif., told his girlfriend, Aimee St. Pierre, that she would have to read the letter aloud to him when it finally came from CLU. It mattered so much that he wouldn’t be able to look.
In a way, he meant what he said. Tittlemier, now a 26-year-old junior majoring in geology, realized late that he wanted to become the first person in his family to get a college education. He set his mind on CLU while attending Moorpark College and recovering from a 2009 motorcycle accident that, in nearly killing him, gave him “different goggles for looking at my own life.” So, yes, he’d been anxious about the admission decision, and the award of a substantial academic scholarship.
But in truth, Tittlemier had another, better reason to feel nervous on the evening of Oct. 26, 2011. Unbeknownst to St. Pierre, he’d already tucked away the real admission letter as she – in his aunt and uncle’s kitchen, in front of family members who were in on the conspiracy – began reading from a fabricated letter that arrived with the thick bundle of materials welcoming him for the spring of 2012.
A few paragraphs into the letter from CLU, in words that Tittlemier had inserted there, a baffled St. Pierre indicated that it was time to pop the question. He knelt and proposed, she exhaled something signifying yes, and the couple was married on June 9 of this year. (Her painfully real surprise is recorded in a home video.)
Setting aside how he won her heart, how did Tittlemier get CLU to stuff a customized letter into a real admission packet?
More than two years ago, he started contacting Ineke Dyer, now CLU’s associate director of admission, about transferring. Informally, she would become his academic adviser, charting the path for his successful application.
“I would say I knew what I wanted more than if I was 19. Private [college] was definitely the way I wanted to go,” he said.
Gradually, both Tittlemier and Dyer gained a lot of confidence about his chances of being accepted, and he “just kind of sprung the idea that the acceptance letter could be manipulated.”
Dyer wasn’t sure she could get permission for the stunt, but Tittlemier’s enthusiasm about CLU made her want to try. “He just bled purple and gold,” she said.