Call it love among the volumes. UNC Charlotte alumni Krishnan Kesavaram and Riddhi Gupta credit the Atkins Library and an unexpected cup of coffee for the start of a love story they are still writing to this day.
Their love story officially began in the fall semester of 2000, when Krishnan almost missed out on the chance to meet his dream girl. Stunned by Riddhi’s poise and "gorgeous, beautiful hair," as she scaled the grand stairway one day at the library, Krishnan watched her circle around again before mustering the courage to extend an impromptu coffee invitation.
That initial coffee date became the first of many they would have. The couple claimed an Atkins Library first floor couch as their unofficial "living room," easily becoming the quiet, cozy place where they spent most of their time together.
Atkins Library houses over 1.2 million books and manages an actively growing digital resources collection. It is one of the largest libraries in the UNC System and is a member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries.
Fast forward a few years, Krishnan and Riddhi had both earned master’s degrees in computer science and begun their professional careers. Krishnan knew Riddhi was "the one," and could think of only one place to pop the question. "Even if I could have gone to France, I wouldn’t have. It had to be at the library," he said.
Krishnan devised a plan to get his unsuspecting bride-to-be onto the campus. With spring break in session, they were able to enjoy a peaceful stroll on the beautiful campus, ending at the library. Krishnan surprised Riddhi with a proposal in front of the library.
Married since 2005, their family and careers have both grown. They celebrated the birth of their first child in 2008, while both work as Charlotte-based consultants in information technology. "My son has been a huge motivator," said Krishnan. "I want him to run around campus - I want him to truly feel this place and know what it means to me."
Now serving as an alumni board member, Krishnan’s focus is scholarship funding. He and other members are identifying new initiatives to help students pay the rising cost of books and tuition.
One day, the couple would like to provide a scholarship in their family’s name, allowing future students the opportunity for a great education, and maybe even love.