You can find many things at The University of Winnipeg library. Some students go there to find a quiet space to study. Others go to find books and academic journals for their research papers.
But for Matt and Amanda Opalko, the library was where they found love.
Now married, they were once undergraduate students together in the integrated education program. However, it wasn’t until their second of year of studies that they noticed each other for the very first time.
“I remember coming from an early morning workout and opening the door to go to class,” said Matt, who was a member of the Wesmen men’s basketball team from 2003 – 2008. “She walked right past me and caught my attention. Later that day, I went to the team and told them I’m going to marry her one day.”
UWinnipeg will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
Matt and Amanda Opalko
“I remember seeing Matt after one his practices and he was signing a song and I thought ‘that guy is so confident and cool,’” Amanda recalled. “That’s my first memory of when I sparked interest in him.”
The two would often see each other because they were in the same program and shared the majority of courses together.
After finally mustering up the courage to ask her out, Matt started wandering around campus hoping to run into her accidently on purpose. Little did he know that Amanda was also looking for him that day.
“I knew he would often go to the library after class, so I went with a friend looking for him,” she said.
“I remember going to the library and running into her when she was going down the spiral staircase and I was going up,” he said. “It was on the third step that I asked her on a date and invited her to watch one of my basketball games.”
From there they were inseparable.
They continued dating throughout their undergraduate studies . During the last few weeks of their final year, Matt took Amanda back to the library staircase with another question for her.
“We started walking up the spiral staircase when I grabbed her hand and turned her around on the third step,” Matt said. “I dropped down to one knee, pulled out a ring, and proposed.”
She said yes. The two embraced on the staircase with a round of applause from students in the library.
Matt and Amanda were married at Elim Chapel across the street from UWinnipeg. Now 11 years later, they have three daughters and both work in the Winnipeg education system as school counsellors.
When they look back at their time at UWinnipeg, they’ll always remember the library and the spiral staircase that changed everything.
“UWinnipeg will forever hold a special place in our hearts.”