Under the dim light of the Milky Way in the Math and Science Building planetarium, Sarah Vanderhoof ’02N and Jonathon Price ’02C sat quietly side by side.

Department of Physics Chair Ray DuVarney had invited them to stay for a quick demonstration of the new Zeiss projector—or so Vanderhoof thought.

He used the pointer to isolate a single star in the Sagitta constellation. “This star was unnamed until recently,” DuVarney said. “Now, its name is Sarah.”

Slowly the lights came up, DuVarney handed Sarah Vanderhoof the documentation for the star that had been named in her honor, and Price got down on one knee beside her.

“The woman I love . . .” he began, reading a poem he had composed for the occasion. Then, voice shaking, he pulled out a diamond ring. “Sarah, will you marry me?”

“I can’t breathe,” Vanderhoof said, but quickly accepted the proposal.

DuVarney, witnessing the emotional proposal from behind the control panel, dabbed his eyes with a handkerchief. “Now you’re making me cry,” he said.

This was the first, but perhaps not the last, marriage proposal in the new planetarium—an idea Price had after he read in a magazine that he could buy and name a star. “I wanted to be able to show Sarah her star, and then I heard about the new planetarium at Emory,” said Price who, although a French and literature major, took an astronomy course as an undergraduate.

Vanderhoof, a nurse at Emory Hospital, said although she and Price have dated for five years, she was completely surprised by the ruse. “We have been together so long, we always planned to get married,” said Vanderhoof, who met Price in sixth grade at a boarding school in Kenya (both their parents were African missionaries). “But this was just a random morning. I thought we were going to a meeting.”

Price, who works part time for Alston and Bird, also runs an expedition business, African Adventures, with his roommate, Daniel Grass ’02C. The couple plans to return to Africa to live in the future, and Vanderhoof’s dream is to work in a public health clinic there.

For now, though, they are happy to focus on planning an August wedding while wishing upon a very special star.—M.J.L.


Other Précis articles:

A return to scholarship

End of an era

• Triumph of imagination

• A not-so-modest proposal

• Seeing with new eyes

• Faculty author resigns

• Way cool

• SAT prep made easy

• Remembering Michael C. Carlos

• Remembering Sanford S. Atwood

• Henry who?

• Awakening the demon

• Bringing science to life





© 2003 Emory University