Posted November 16, 2020

Hoot cute: A couple’s love is Temple Made


After meeting on the job, two former colleagues decide to tie the knot.

Michael Usino and Kate Christensen
Photography By: 
Ryan S. Brandenberg
Michael Usino and Kate Christensen met at Temple.

Assistant Dean of Admissions, Enrollment Management and Student Recruitment at the Temple University College of Public Health Michael Usino, CLA ’06, ’10, came to Temple in 2002 when he was 17 years old and never left. Since then, he said, it’s been “all Temple, all the time.” Whether working as an Owl Ambassador, an adjunct professor of English, or an admissions director, Usino has covered a lot of Temple ground in the last 18 years.

While he was wearing one of his many hats, he met Kate Christensen, FOX ’19, at a graduate admissions fair where Usino was recruiting for the School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM). Christensen was recruiting for the Fox School of Business, and the two exchanged greetings from tables situated opposite each other. 

The two schools were in the process of merging their graduate school admissions operations, and soon the pair became co-workers. Over the next four years, Usino and Christensen formed a close friendship. “It wasn’t rare for us to have 60-hour weeks just the way we were recruiting and growing at Fox,” Usino said. “It’s nice to be able to lean on somebody that you felt close to with all the highs and lows of that kind of work.”

Usino and Christensen agree that Temple is a place that encourages the building of strong relationships with your co-workers. “Temple fosters this place where, for me and certainly for Kate, for a number of years we’ve felt very appreciated for the work we’re doing.” Christensen added: “For us, taking advantage of the city—that’s something that we did as colleagues that really kind of jump-started our friendship, whether it was grabbing a drink after work downtown or going to Art After Five on Friday night at the art museum … not just the two of us, but a group of us that were colleagues because we just want to hang out with each other.”

To counter the demands of work, the two would take frequent walks around campus together. “I think that’s where our friendship deepened,” Usino said. “When I think back to our friendship kind of becoming something more, I just have this backdrop of Temple’s campus.”

Their colleagues predicted they would get together, but they both admit that when it came to their own romance, they were the last ones to know. “We’d say, ‘No, no, no, we’re just friends,’” Usino and Christensen said in unison, laughing.

In 2019, Christensen left her position as associate director of graduate enrollment management at Fox for a position at eCity Interactive, a marketing firm that counts universities among its clients. She credits her time at Temple for cultivating her interest in admissions and giving her a space to grow and learn.

Usino popped the question at the Howard Gittis Student Center in late October. They hope to get married in the Philadelphia area in fall 2021, and are in the process of wedding planning under unusual circumstances. Either way, though, there is no doubt that their romance is Temple Made. 

“If I wasn’t recruiting for Temple, I would have never met this person,” Usino said. “And so it really is this very special place to me that has changed every aspect of and kind of guided me in every part of my life at this point.”

—Sonia Belasco