The second floor of Gannon University’s Palumbo Academic Center was the site of a marriage proposal Oct. 14.
Bryan Prior, an adjunct lecturer in Gannon’s philosophy department, asked his girlfriend, Amy Doty, to marry him.
Prior’s proposal took place, more specifically, in front of the copy machine where he first asked her on a date in 2010.
It was fortuitous that Doty happened to be using that particular copier that day in December. At the time, Doty worked as an adjunct in Gannon’s English department, which is located on the third floor of Palumbo. The copier she normally used malfunctioned, forcing her to use one on the floor below. There, she crossed paths with Prior.
The pair had met three years earlier in 2007, when Doty first started teaching at Gannon. The timing, unfortunately, was never right to make a move, Prior said.
Now, the second floor copier has twice as much significance as it once did, being the spot where they began dating and became engaged.
Prior admitted that his friends, who knew of his idea in advance, were skeptical of his location choice.
“That was us,” Prior said. “To me, there was just no other place I could do it.”
When deciding how and where to propose, he said he considered the standard options: a fancy dinner, a romantic getaway, a favorite hangout. Ultimately, he said he chose to keep the moment unfussy yet meaningful.
“We’re kind of geeky, nerdy,” Prior said. “The simple stuff always makes us laugh, always makes us smile.
“There just is a place in my heart for that copier,” he said with a laugh.
His choice in location wasn’t the only creative aspect of his proposal. Prior also accepted student input beforehand.
“Every single one of my classes, any time I would bring up the subject, was more than happy to bounce ideas by me,” Prior said. “They could tell I was really excited.”
In his Oct. 4 ethics class, he informed his students that he wanted to ask Doty immediately after class, when she usually met up with him. Prior asked if anyone would be willing to discreetly take a photo when he got down on one knee.
More than a dozen students hurried to the second floor ahead of the couple, smartphone cameras at the ready.
“All the subtlety of a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant,” Prior said jokingly, quoting “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”
In fact, both Doty and Prior said they were thankful for the students’ support.
“As much as I rip technology, it actually served me well,” Prior said. “I got about eight or nine camera views of my proposal, which was phenomenal. That’s nice to have.
“It really meant the world to me to have my students there.”
Likewise, Doty said she appreciated the presence of students, who erupted into cheers after she said yes.
“It was really cool,” Doty said. “So thank you from me, too.”
The couple plan to hold their wedding in July 2014 and honeymoon in either the Adirondack or Pocono mountains.
Prior graduated from St. Bonaventure University with a degree in philosophy in 2000. He went on to earn his juris doctorate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law three years later.
Doty, a Grove City College alumna, earned her master’s degree in English at Gannon. She currently works as an English instructor at Edinboro University.