TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – About 58 years ago, Jerry Robinson was stunned silent by a beautiful woman while waiting in line for lunch in the Suwannee Room at Florida State University.
A year later, they were married.
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Jerry and Jane Robinson celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary where their romance first sizzled – in the Suwannee Room.
“It’s amazing,” said Jerry Robinson, as he took in the newly renovated Suwannee Room, while reminiscing about the restored vaulted ceiling and Gothic arches.
“It’s so different,” Jane Robinson whispered to her husband.
The two met in the hallway leading into the residence dining hall when they were both students at Florida State University. Jerry Robinson was on a meal plan at the school, but Jane Robinson was not.
On most days, after Jerry Robinson ate his lunch at the Suwannee Room, the two walked to the Sweet Shop, where Jane Robinson lunched.
On Wednesday, the two held hands as they toured the Suwannee Room and sampled tacos, catfish and fixins’ and dessert. Lunch coincided with student-favorite Wicked Wings Wednesday, and the Robinsons both enjoyed wings.
“This isn’t anything like when we were in school,” Jerry Robinson said.
The Robinsons met Seminole Dining retail manager Kurt Heinlen recently in Tallahassee, and upon learning he worked on FSU’s campus, the Robinsons told Heinlen about how they met. They asked Heinlen if the residence dining hall is open to the public.
“I knew then we had to do something special for them,” Heinlen said. “The dining halls are open to the public, but we wanted to make sure they truly had an enjoyable, unforgettable experience.”
A table – with red tablecloth, flowers and a “reserved” sign – were waiting for the Robinsons when they arrived Wednesday. After lunch, Heinlen – a 1982 graduate of Florida State University’s hospitality program – provided the Robinsons a tour of FSU’s campus. The Robinsons pointed out places they lived and studied, including the infirmary where Jerry Robinson was treated for swimmer’s ear and where Jane Robinson visited her ailing beau.
Seminole Dining Regional District Manager John Teeple and several administrators from Florida State University greeted the couple as they dined among students.
“It was an honor and a pleasure to host the Robinsons for their anniversary,” Teeple said. “We know many people have such fond memories of their time at FSU and the Suwannee Room, and we encourage them to visit us for breakfast, lunch or dinner to relive those golden years of their youth.”
The Robinsons said they’re already making plans to return to the Suwannee Room.
“It was an absolute pleasure to visit,” Jane Robinson said. “I can’t believe all the changes, and the dining experience was incredible. The hospitality Seminole Dining gave us was out of this world. We can’t wait to come back.”
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