Kari Weil jokes that when she first met Michael Roth she had her doubts.
“Sheesh,” she remembers thinking. “Two kids, two books already…”
Clearly, however, the man had something going for him. Almost two decades later, the twosome now clinches the title of cutest couple at Wesleyan: President Michael Roth and Visiting Professor of Letters Kari Weil.
The couple first met as graduate students at Princeton University—Roth in history and Weil in comparative literature.
“We had common friends, although we don’t remember the exact occasion of our meeting,” the couple wrote in an e-mail.
While the precise circumstances surrounding their first encounter have grown hazy, their initial impressions of each other remain crystal clear. Roth says that, from the very beginning, he was captivated by Weil’s intelligence and beauty—two particular traits which, to this day, have never ceased to amaze him.
But a romantic relationship did not blossom right away. The duo went their separate ways to teaching positions at different schools—Roth at Scripps College and Weil at Wake Forest University. In fact, they did not even see each other again until years later when Weil was teaching in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of California, Irvine.
Students who know Roth and Weil as professors will not be surprised, perhaps, to discover the location of the couple’s first date: a philosophy and literature conference.
“We checked out early to go horseback riding,” the couple said.
When Weil returned to Wake Forest after her visit at Irvine, the couple kept in touch through long letters written from opposite coasts of the country.
And the rest of the story is a subject that Roth knows quite well: history.
Roth and Weil tied the knot in Southern California at an old Mexican theater on Mount Baldy. With a close friend ordained as the minister, and family, friends and students all present, it was a perfect ceremony. Well, nearly perfect that is.
“A bear came at the end of the party to wish us luck,” the couple recalled.
Ten years ago, the couple added another member to their foursome—Roth has two sons, Jeremy and Max, from a previous marriage—with the birth of their daughter, Sophie Weil-Roth. At that time they also had four dogs and a horse.
After 16 years together, Roth and Weil say they still enjoy the same activities they did when they were dating: visiting Highland Ranch in Northern California, listening and playing music, playing tennis, and reading around the fire with Calvados brandy.
Favorite Valentine’s Day spots?
“Dinners at BayWolf in Oakland and Chez Panisse in Berkeley,” the couple said. “Where we get to remember who we are.”