UWaterloo faculty and staff couples share gifts of love

We spoke to three UWaterloo couples who not only work together but also support the University community.

By Fram Dinshaw Office of Advancement

Tasha Glover and Jonathan Woodcock

Ask Tasha Glover (BA ’01) about her favourite University of Waterloo moment, and she’ll tell you about the time she won an astonishing 50 bottles of wine as a draw prize to celebrate UWaterloo’s 50th birthday in 2007.

"I had to tell my other half Jonathan in person, so I asked him to come to the Graduate Studies Office right away but did not say why. Poor Jon ran across campus, thinking something terrible must have happened. He was excited to learn we had won the wine, but not impressed with my dramatics at breaking the news!" said Glover.

Glover and her partner Jonathan Woodcock are members of a unique community: couples who work at UWaterloo and actively support the University as donors. Glover is manager of student communications at The Centre (Student Service Centre), while Woodcock is manager of Enterprise Systems at UWaterloo’s Information Systems and Technology.

Glover donates monthly to the Faculty of Arts.

"As an English alum, I hold the Faculty of Arts close to my heart," said Glover.

Their UWaterloo love story began in the bookstore (today’s W Store) in the early 2000s. Woodcock worked in the receiving department, while Glover was an assistant buyer. Glover came down to check on an order, meeting Woodcock for the first time. After a brief chat, Glover wanted to get to know her new colleague better.

"One Friday at the Huether, Jonathan’s friends strategically made excuses to leave early, leaving him and I alone to chat. The rest is history," recalled Glover.

The pair have made UWaterloo part of their family tradition. As well as Glover’s BA in English Language and Literature, Woodcock has obtained a BA in English Honours (2002), an MA in Management Science (2019), a BA in Philosophy (2023) and is currently completing an MA in that subject.

The couple’s teenage son is carrying on his parents’ UWaterloo tradition by participating in Quest activities. Both Woodcock and Glover say he aspires to study architecture at UWaterloo.

"For me, UWaterloo is one of the last places you can have a decades-long career. You can see the retirement announcements in the Daily Bulletin of people leaving after 35 or 40 years. Having that arc in a workplace is an important factor," said Woodcock.

"What I like best about UWaterloo is knowing that our actions are contributing to education and research that will make a global impact. We’re grateful to be a part of the University community of alumni, students and staff."

Franco Solimano and Spencer Small

For Franco Solimano (BSc ’10) and Spencer Small (BA ’12), the favourite part of each day is their commute.

It is a chance for them to have an informal debrief on their working day, keep in touch with how they feel about the semester, swap the latest news on campus and discuss learning opportunities and personal growth.

The couple are both UWaterloo alumni, but only started dating as university employees after meeting online in 2016. Today, Solimano works with graduate students in Columbia Lake Village, and Small works as a counsellor in the Engineering Undergrad Office.

"Even though we don’t work together, it does feel really nice to both belong to the same community," said Solimano.

"We both believe in community-building and people-first relationships and our work reflects this in different ways, Spencer with his counselling role and me helping students and graduates."

Both Solimano and Spencer also support UWaterloo through donations and volunteering. Solimano makes regular donations to the University of Waterloo Warriors swimming team.

Spencer facilitates programming for UWaterloo’s 2SLGBTQIA+ community, including a mindfulness walking group. He also runs a 2SLGBTQIA+ graduate student support group.

"The key for us is finding and appreciating the value in working together and using our relationship to better understand the University and better serve students, as well as mutual learning to improve the culture at UWaterloo," said Small.

"It is valuable to have these conversations about what is happening on campus."

Josh and Heather Neufeld

Although both Josh and Heather work for the Faculty of Science, they are in different buildings and their paths rarely cross. Nonetheless, as a married couple working on campus, the Neufelds say it is awkward to not show the usual affection when they do see each other in the hallway, as both have their "work hats" on.

Josh says that UWaterloo is rarely their place for "lunch dates," because of how busy things get most days. But he adds that "quick calls to check in on each other, or to ask for advice, are quite common."

Josh is a professor in the Department of Biology while Heather is the Manager of Science Outreach. They make monthly contributions to the Faculty of Science General Fund.

Especially because of Heather’s role, the Neufelds are involved in many science outreach events, including the recent Biology Lab Day that included their eldest child joining the tour group. Heather guided the high school groups around campus, while Josh visited the lab session and answered students’ questions.

"My proudest moment happens every time we host the Kids’ Science Open House. We have 350 of our students and staff volunteering to run activities for the day," said Heather.

"It really is the highlight of my year."

Both Josh and Heather enjoy hearing students unknowingly talking to them about their spouses and then learning with surprise that they are married.

"Because Josh teaches such big classes each year, he’s usually the more ’famous’ of us, but both me and my hordes of outreach volunteers sometimes rival that level of renown," said Heather.

"Celebrating each other’s successes with that extra insider knowledge is a real benefit of working together."