Auburn’s Arboretum Holds Plants and Precious Memories
While the Donald E. Davis Arboretum is home to a plethora of native Alabama plants and habitats, it also holds the memories of many members of the Auburn Family.
Auburn’s campus is recognized for its beautiful backdrop’s – Samford Lawn, the Green Space, Red Barn, and Davis Arboretum, to name a few. However, it is the time spent with friends and loved ones that make these scenes special. For Stan and Katherine Manush, Davis Arboretum serves as the starting point of their life together – where the couple got engaged.
More than three decades ago, Stan Manush (’86) proposed to his then-girlfriend, Katherine Conyers (’85), in the most laid-back, yet memorable fashion.
While working a co-op job in Huntsville one winter quarter, Stan drove down to Auburn to visit Katherine for a weekend. He recalls the weekend beginning poorly with a broken-down car stranding him in Oneonta that Friday night, and no plans or dinner reservations for when he eventually arrived in Auburn.
“On Saturday, we got a hamburger at Wendy’s and went to the Arboretum to eat. It was a beautiful winter day with just Katherine, me, and somebody’s French-fry-eating Siberian husky there in the Arboretum. The time just seemed right, so I popped the question,” Stan Manush said.
And of course, she said “yes.”
The couple met in Calculus I, the very first class of their very first quarter at Auburn. Stan was interested in one of Katherine’s friends in the class, and Katherine was interested in one of Stan’s friends, so the four spent time together after class each day.
“We [Stan and Katherine] were walking between classes when we also found out we had the same English class. We had Gothic Horror and Supernatural Fiction as our freshman literature class … funny how I still remember that, I think those were the only classes we had together,” Katherine said.
It took Stan until November to ask Katherine out. They dated throughout the rest of their time at Auburn, got engaged senior year, and were married during the summer of 1985 after Katherine’s graduation.
Stan studied electrical engineering and has worked as an electrical/electronic engineer since his graduation 33 years ago. One of Stan’s greatest accomplishments in his career was helping design part of the tracking system that NASA used to monitor the space shuttle.
Katherine studied personnel management and industrial relations. In 1992, she switched her focus to real estate sales and has been working in the field ever since.
“I was actually a campus recruiter for my company at Auburn for my first job for a while – that was extremely weird! We were living in Auburn while Stan finished his final year after being a co-op student and I commuted to Montgomery. I was an ‘adult’ in Montgomery, but still a ‘student’ wife in Auburn,” Katherine said.
Both Stan and Katherine have deep ties to Auburn. Several of Stan’s extended family members attended Auburn, so he became an Auburn fan too, he said.
Katherine remembers watching the 1972 Iron Bowl – better known as “Punt Bama Punt” – with her father. “When I was applying to different colleges while in high school, I was accepted to the ‘other’ school, but when I told my dad, he told me how wonderful that was and how proud he was that I had applied, but that I’d have to walk to get there because he wouldn’t drive me there,” Katherine said.
The Manush’s two oldest sons are both Auburn graduates and married to Auburn graduates. The couple’s youngest son is a freshman at Auburn.
“A lot of people will say this about their college, but I think it is especially true at Auburn. Once you experience Auburn – the school, the campus, the family – it really becomes a part of who you are and stays with you for the rest of your life,” Stan said.
The Manush’s reside in Vestavia Hills, Alabama. They enjoy spending time with family, watching Auburn sports, and vacationing to Hilton Head Island.