Through the passing of time and every life change, Southeast has proven to be a common ground that alumni gravitate back to. That's certainly the love story of Matt Carter and Katie Krodinger.
Southeast Missouri State University alum Matt Carter gazed out across the campus from the infamous dome of Academic Hall on a Friday afternoon last September. When he turned around, he got his first glimpse of his soon-to-be wife, Katie Krodinger, in her wedding dress.
It was only fitting that this special moment on their wedding day take place on the Southeast campus. Afterall, that is where their story started and continues today.
Meeting At SEMO
Matt and Katie both received their undergraduate and graduate degrees from Southeast Missouri State. At one point during Katie’s undergraduate studies, she met up with a group of friends at D’Ladium’s Sports Bar across from Houck Field. There, she met Matt Carter.
Matt, who is a Cubs fan, found conversation with Cardinals-fan Katie during the baseball game at the bar that day. She saved him in her phone as “Matt ‘Cubs Fan’ Carter” and a friendship was started.
“We had one of those friendships, relationships, where you would be excited to see them out but were never the kind friends who made plans independently,” Katie said. “I always had kind of a crush on him, but just between ebbs and flow of other relationships, it never really happened.”
Moving On From SEMO
With the help of a close group of mutual friends, the two maintained their friendship while they finished their degrees. Both eventually graduated from their programs and moved away from Cape Girardeau at different times.
Katie went on to work in admission at another school. Eventually, Katie had the opportunity to come back to Cape to take a full-time job with Southeast Missouri State. In addition to her new position at the school, she had the opportunity to reconnect with friends from college who had stayed in town.
It also gave her the opportunity to start running into Matt again, who had also returned to Cape Girardeau. With a large group of mutual friends, Katie and Matt began their friendship up again, too.
Several years later when they both ran into each other at a friend's house over the summer that they started to get closer. After many years as friends, the pair started dating.
Back To SEMO
From there, everything just kind of clicked. Katie says everything seemed to line up from their interests and their hobbies to their life priorities.
“Just one of those things where life kind of brings you to the right place at the right time,” Katie said.
They eventually bought a home together, moving in just in time for the coronavirus pandemic to hit. It had them working from home together and spending every single moment together.
A year after buying their home, Matt proposed to Katie.
Their story is part of the reason they wanted their wedding to come full circle back to Southeast as it did. They put off wedding planning as they waited for the 2022 football schedule to be released. As soon as it was, they booked everything.
They got married the Friday before the first home football game. They took photos on campus, did their first-look in the dome of Academic Hall and even signed their marriage certificate in the endzone. The next day, their friends and families joined them at the football game to cheer on the Redhawks.
Grounded In SEMO
Katie still works as the director of New Student Programs for the University while Matt works as a project manager for Red Letter Communications. They both credit Southeast in a big way for where they ended up in life.
“SEMO has given me more than I could have ever expected,” Katie said. “It's just one of those stories. We would have never met if baseball hadn’t brought him to SEMO. We would have never met if we didn’t care about SEMO athletics and put those like-minded people in our lives, shared friendships and relationships with those that are the ‘servants before self’ kind of people, who really dedicated their lives to the university. It’s what our lives center around obviously and I know neither of us would have it any other way.”
And even though it took time to get to where they are now, she thinks their friendship and their mutual group of friends are part of where their strength as a couple came from.
“In early stages of a relationship, there’s always that vetting of trust level,” Katie said. “And knowing how much he was trusted and cared for by people whose judgment I really valued made it easier to feel comfortable with him in those early stages, at a time when my trust meter was running pretty empty. It gave me faith that there are good guys, good people out there.
“Obviously, our relationship is very centered in each other, but it’s really cool to know you have this really passionate group of people who have your back and support your relationship.”