Lumberjacks in Love

Jan, 2024
A photo collage of Lucinda and Gary Jensen and Jayda and Taiden Partlow

Those who attend Cal Poly Humboldt often discover their love for the outdoors, their community, or a particular discipline—some even find the love of their lives. As a matter of fact, one in 12 Cal Poly Humboldt alumni are married to another. They share memories of walking through Founders Hall, studying together in the Library, hanging out at the Jolly Giant Commons, and taking small hikes in the redwood forest behind campus. Below, some of these couples share the stories of how they met and their time at Humboldt.

Jayda and Taiden Partlow 

The Partlow’s love story was fate. Jayda (‘18, Critical Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies) and Taiden (‘18, International Studies) remember always sharing subtle glances in passing to and from their dorms during their freshman year in 2014. He lived in Tan Oak, and she in Maple—neighboring dorms whose entrances face each other.

“I definitely would see him around a lot, and I thought he was cute,” Jayda says.

In the spring of their sophomore year, they took a biology class together, where, with the help of a mutual friend, they discovered their crushes on each other.

During this time, each of them began creating their own Humboldt experiences. Jayda volunteered and worked as a peer educator with CHECK IT and Title IX, and Taiden worked at the information desk at Jolly Giant Commons. Taiden would attend CHECK IT and Title IX events where Jayda volunteered—which made her quite nervous, Jayda says. Jayda, on the other hand, would watch Taiden dance and play music on the University Quad. She says he’s the best dancer she’s ever seen.

After a few weeks of flirting, staring at each other, and learning about their mutual crushes, Taiden sent Jayda a direct message on Facebook. He asked her on a date, and she said yes. They spent the beginning of their relationship watching movies, walking Taiden’s dog, Dimples, and hanging out during Taiden’s late-night shifts at the JGC information desk.

Jayda was shy at the beginning of their relationship, but after getting to know Taiden better, she became more outgoing and extroverted.

“Jayda is beautiful, and I enjoyed getting to know her. I realized she had a lot of love to give and a lot of love to accept that she deserved, and I wanted to give that to her. You know, I felt like we had an opportunity to grow pure love together,” Taiden says.

After six years of dating, they married in 2021 and welcomed their son, Adonis, last December.

Taiden and Jayda's fates were intertwined even before they arrived at Humboldt. They were involved in the April 2014 Spring Preview bus accident, but were on different buses. Taiden was on the first bus, while Jayda was on the second bus that was hit. After recovering and working through the trauma of the accident, they both decided to attend Humboldt and met each other soon after.

“That experience makes me feel like our love was written in the stars,” Jayda says.

Jayda and Taiden plan to visit Humboldt this spring. They’ll tour the campus and show their son where their love story began.

Lucinda and Gary Jensen

When Lucinda (‘70, English), also known as Lucy, first saw Gary (‘69, Forestry), she knew she had to meet him.

She first saw Gary when she and her friend looked outside the window of her Sunset Residence Hall. Standing with two other male students, he was wearing a cowboy outfit, belt buckle, and cowboy hat. When she told her friend she thought one of the guys (Gary) was cute, her friend said she knew him and promised to set them up. But to Lucy’s surprise, her friend set her up with the wrong guy.

After hanging out with their mutual friends, Lucy and Gary became friends. Gary asked Lucy to dance at a stag dance, and they spent the rest of the night together. They officially started dating and spent their days studying in the Green & Gold Room in Founders Hall when it was a study hall, taking walks on campus, and attending football games, basketball games, and dances together. Lucy likes to say she’s a city girl who found her country boy as she hails from San Francisco, and Gary is from Bakersfield.

Together, Lucy and Gary participated in many student life events like homecoming and the Jack and Jill Double-Bucking competitions at Lumberjack Days, an event Lucy says was an important annual celebration during their years at Humboldt. Lumberjack Days was something couples especially looked forward to because of the competition opportunities for them to participate in.

“Besides getting our degrees, we had a lot of fun. Cal Poly Humboldt was a great place, and it still is a wonderful place to go to school. We're very, very proud of our Humboldt education and excited for all the changes at Humboldt,” Lucy says.

One of Lucy's favorite memories is when Gary hurriedly walked her to her dormitory and gifted her a heart-shaped redwood slab, which he had cut and carved their initials onto, just before the doors locked. They still have the redwood slab to this day.

Gary proposed at the beginning of Lucy’s senior year and before he left for active service in the U.S. Marine Corps. They’ve been married for 54 years and share three children and six grandchildren. They’re now living in Eugene, Oregon, on a tree farm. Every time they visit Cal Poly Humboldt, they reminisce about their good times.

Do you know any Cal Poly Humboldt alumni who met each other during their time at the University and are still together? If so, we would love to hear from you! Please submit a high-resolution photo of the couple, along with their names and the year they graduated, and give us a brief 100-word description of how they met. Email your note with the subject line "Alumni Love Stories" to news@humboldt.edu

Photo: (From left to right) Lucinda and Gary Jensen with their dog, Sadie, and Jayda and Taiden Partlow on their wedding day.