Newbies of DSU: The LaVoie love story

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A couple who gets hired together stays together, or at least, that’s the philosophy for a new faculty couple at Dixie State University.

After Nicole LaVoie, instructor of health communication, and Mark LaVoie, instructor of media studies, said they were lucky to get jobs together at DSU. 

Nicole LaVoie said they first learned about DSU through a job call for her current position. 

“At first I thought, is that in Mississippi?” she said.

Nicole LaVoie was offered a tenured position and, coincidentally enough, a position opened up at the last minute in the media studies department, allowing Mark LaVoie to sign a yearly spousal contract. A spousal contract allows an instructor’s husband or wife to be hired in order to fill a needed position for the year.

“Many professors choose different schools because they can’t get hired together,” Mark LaVoie said. “That was never going to be an option for us.”

Nicole LaVoie said they had debated a few universities that were bigger and more researched based, but they both prefer to teach more. 

“Both of our hearts are more into the teaching, that’s what we enjoy,” she said. 

So they raised their glasses and cheered as they left the gray winter slush, the humid summers and the tornadoes of Champaign, Illinois. 

The LaVoies have been together 16 years, 10 years married. They actually first met as coworkers, at the Mexican restaurant, Chevys Fresh Mex, in Kansas City.

“I asked her if she liked to play pool; she said yes, so then I asked her out,” Mark LaVoie said.

After two cancellations from her, he finally got the opportunity to pull up in his punk-rock stickered car, with dice hanging in the mirror to pick her up.

He walked her to the car, opened the passenger door and when he turned on the car, the stereo was blasting “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, she said.

He turned down the music, apologized and said he was trying to get in the romantic mood.

Nicole LaVoie said she thought that was sweet until she learned it was a set-up.

“I never leave my [speakers] up,” Mark LaVoie said.

“He wouldn’t admit the truth until after our wedding,” she said.  

Nicole LaVoie said she didn’t quite know what she got herself into when he then took her to a “cruddy” strip mall with a cheap Chinese restaurant.

“So then I thought he was sweet and cheap, but it turned out to have the best sesame chicken in all of Kansas City,” she said.

Mark LaVoie said his first impression of her was how much she interested him with her honesty.

For dessert, they played pool.   

Mark and Nicole LaVoie had many odd jobs together before they decided they had put school off long enough.

 “When you’re young, you [say], ‘We love each let’s get jobs together,’ and when you’re older, you [say], ‘We love each other; I want to be able to pay a mortgage,’ ” Mark LaVoie said.

Nicole LaVoie said they are very much coworkers at work and when they are home they are family.

“Certain things you don’t take to the office and other things you don’t take home,” she said.

“The hardest part about being coworkers is not calling each other babe,” he said.

Mark LaVoie is currently applying for a more permanent position, but his job is not guaranteed.

They said they don’t know what they will do if he doesn’t get the position, but in the meantime, they spoil their beagle-terrier, await an adoption call and enjoy living in the red rock country.