He Said He Was Psychic
Russell Butkiewicz ’07 and Marissa Torento ’05 first met in the architecture
studio in the spring of 2004—back when the architecture program
was still in East Hall. They were both audio engineering technology
majors. Russell introduced himself to her by saying that he was psychic
and already knew her name, which he told her. Surprised at first, Marissa
soon figured out the source of his information.
“I had apparently forgotten I was wearing my Red Key sweatshirt that day, with my name
on the sleeve,” explains Marissa.
They started dating in 2005. At the reception the night before her graduation that May, it
was President Walter Harrison who told her father that she and Russell were dating. Her father
was surprised—not to hear that they were a couple but to realize that they knew the president of
the University on a person level.
And how did the president know?
“I have no idea!” says Marissa. “I would assume he’d seen us together at a few Hillel events—
we were both active in campus organizations. . . . I was as surprised as my dad that he knew!”
Russell and Marissa are legacy graduates of the University—three previous family members
attended UofH: Russell’s dad, Henry Butkiewicz ’77 (BS, College of Engineering); Marissa’s
cousin, Dean Negrelli ’87 (BS, College of Engineering); and Russell’s cousin, Nick Fontaine ’01
“We are currently living in Tonawanda, N.Y., just north of
Buffalo and the Great Lakes ‘snow band’,” says Marissa. “I work
as a junior architect and project administrator at E.I. Team
Architects and Engineers in Buffalo. Russell is the architectural
consultant for the Early Childhood Research Center at the
University at Buffalo and also works at Advanced Auto
Check it out at:http://www.hartford.edu/observer/files/pdf/additional_hartford_sweethearts.pdf