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Timing was everything in this love story

Connecting again by chance led to 32 years of marriage for W. P. Carey Cupids Dani O'Dell (BS Accountancy ’87) and Dean O'Dell (BS Finance ’87).

Molly Loonam

Sometimes, students leave the W. P. Carey School of Business with more than a top-rated education — they find a life partner, too. We call them W. P. Carey Cupids — couples who met at W. P. Carey and are now making lives together.

Despite their magical first date in 1986 after meeting in a junior year accounting class, Dani O'Dell (BS Accountancy ’87) and Dean O'Dell (BS Finance ’87) didn't begin dating seriously until reconnecting after graduation. Thirty-seven years later, the couple reflects on the role W. P. Carey played in their relationship.

Dean and Dani O’Dell

Question: Tell us more about how you met.

Answer: We met in an intermediate accounting course. Dean just had to pass the class to move on to his upper-division finance courses, and since he knew my friends and I were striving to excel as accounting majors, Dean and his buddy made sure to hang out with us to review classwork. We were dating other people then, so we didn't think of it as more than a friendship. It wasn't until the following semester that we connected again by chance on campus. When Dean found out I wasn't dating anyone, he asked me out that night. I told him I was so happy to go out with a friend since I was tired of my friends setting me up on dates. We went to Bandersnatch (now the Residence Inn across from Mountain America Stadium), we rode go-karts, and did the dog races. We talked all night long — it's crazy how much we had in common and how connected we felt after that first date. It was March 6, 1986 — our “magic night.”

Because of the lack of technology, it was a lot easier back then to balance relationships and busy schedules. I was always at the library, so when he stopped by, I enjoyed the break. Neither of us wanted a serious relationship, so it wasn't until after college that we reconnected and seriously dated. Still, that special connection on our first date has stayed with us.

Q: How have you stayed connected to ASU and W. P. Carey?

A: We love ASU football, especially Dean. We come back for football games and to see how the campus continues to grow. We’ve been completely blown away by how built up the school has become. It’s wonderful to see the growth and that ASU is still thriving and creating opportunities for its students. We are very proud to be ASU Sun Devils!

Q: Where are you two today (e.g., family details, hobbies, etc.)?

A: We married in 1992 and have two beautiful, grown children who met their spouses at college. While we were business majors, our children and their spouses were fine art majors and are very creative, making a great balance in the family. We own a residential real estate firm in Orange County, California. Dean runs the company, and I take care of the finances. We have had a lot of success, which we attribute to the balance of work and play we learned at ASU.

The O’Dell Family

Q: What's your advice for couples meeting at W. P. Carey and dating during college?

A: We think dating in college is the best time to meet someone because so many people are around you with the same interests, and everyone is just figuring out life. We were always honest with each other, laughed a lot, and talked a lot. We are still the same way today; these characteristics are important in a relationship. Of course, it's not always easy. But when you lay a good foundation, it helps get you through difficult times.

Q: Favorite place to spend on campus together?

A: The ASU stadium. The excitement of game day and that beautiful Arizona sunshine are special.

Q: What’s your favorite memory you share?

A: The 1987 Rose Bowl. It was our senior year, ASU was playing the University of Michigan, and Jim Haubaugh, who led Michigan to a national championship this year as head coach, was the starting quarterback. The stadium was full, and ASU came away with their first Rose Bowl win. Jim was not a good sport, and we still root against him! It was so much fun. We can also say we were the very last people to leave the stadium that day because Dean lost his keys, and we watched every car leave as we waited for the locksmith to rescue us.

Q: What are you looking forward to?

A: We've always loved to travel and look forward to doing more. We're also excited to watch our children have families of their own.

Did you meet your significant other at W. P. Carey?

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