Some love stories that happen on campus don’t necessarily end in marriage. Some end up simply with a pair of inseparable friends.
George Gasser and Nate Saverino are both a big part of the Southeast Missouri State world today. George works as director of alumni services, while Nate serves as the senior associate athletic director of external operations.
They Spent Five Years as Roommates
Looking back almost 20 years, the two were just starting as freshman on the fourth floor of Vandiver Hall.
“I don’t remember one-on-one interactions so much, per say,” Nate said. “It was really that whole floor that was very active together.”
In the middle of their freshman year, they had both become a part of a close group of friends that were going to live together when sophomore year started. They moved down to the second floor of Vandiver Hall, Room 214 to be exact. There was a coin flip in the end to see who was going to live with George. Nate was the winner.
“You were so gregarious, still are,” Nate said. “I was so nervous. I thought, I don’t think I can handle living with that guy.”
But he handled it. More than that, they lived in the same living arrangements through the rest of undergrad. When both moved onto graduate school at Southeast, they chose to rent a house together and stayed roommates even longer.
They BECAME the best of friends
“It’s really strange thing to think about the friendships you create in college,” George said. “You make them quickly with lots of people as you’re around campus and you don’t know which ones are going to end up being that long lasting friendship.”
George and Nate started going everywhere together, almost as a package deal. Both say their friendship is how they got involved in so much during their time on campus as students.
“That’s really when things changed for me, it was when I was forced to interact with people,” Nate said. “George, to me, is the one who pulled me along. He pushed me into situations that I would have never, ever done without him as my roommate and friend. It developed me so much more as a person to really get me out of my comfort zone and create an experience that’s so unforgettable and brings us here today. I’m not who I am today without George.”
It's easier to branch out when you have your best friend there at your side.
“If we had never been roommates, having a job is something I would miss, because I don’t think I would have been successful as a person,” George said. “I don’t think I would have gone to get involved in things if I didn’t have Nate there. At that point in my life, I needed that other person in the room.”
The two claim to have opposite personalities, but their back-and-forth is seamless and conversation lively. They come back to one foundational similarity, though, and that’s how much they love Southeast.
No, they really love Southeast
“We know what each other is thinking in a way,” Nate said. “We have a similar philosophy and I think love for the institution and the place that drives a lot of what we do. I think a lot of my love for the institution, it has as much to do with the people, and George has a big part to do with that. The place is great, but the people are the backbone of all of that.”
Their jobs interconnect them professionally, but they find time outside of work as well. They joke about finding homes someday that are interconnected by a tunnel.
Three years in Vandiver Hall as roommates, two years renting off-campus as roommates, and nearly two decades of friendship created countless memories for the pair. The simplest of those moments remind them how they got here today.
“The real memories that really matter are those quiet moments,” George said. “When you’re just sitting talking to people you wouldn’t have any other reason to be around.”
Nate said, “Sophomore year, you couldn’t have guessed that things would end this way. It’s wild how that worked out, fate or whatever you want to call it, we just happened to be in a circumstance where we were in the same place. What has sort of budded as a friendship in college, we’ve been able to stay connected so easily partly because we’ve been together.”
Between their jobs and their friend groups, Southeast continues to be a huge part of both George and Nate’s lives. Even though both are married and have their separate “adult” lives as they would say, they also continue to be best friends.
And it all started freshman year
“He’s my best friend,” George said, as Nate nodded in agreement. “He’s the person who I will ask any question that I have to, he’s my sounding board work wise and just in life. He’s someone who I’ll always rely on and lean on for anything that I need or just don’t know what to do with.”
Nate said, “In terms of what George means to me, I don’t know what kind of person I would be if it hadn’t been for that. Set aside all the memories and fun times, I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing.”
Through the Years