Love stories are not just for Nicholas Sparks. Some people find their own — then it’s a life story. It has been more than 60 years since Frances Yates Shaw met her husband Truman in her senior year on this very campus.

Before 1969, the University of Montevallo was referred to as Alabama College for Women. With all of the beautiful women around the young men referred to it simply as “Angel Farm.”

One item that celebrates the days of “angels” sits between Tutwiler and Hanson Hall:  a coal black iron bench.

Many may not even notice it if they were to walk by, but for Frances Shaw, it represents her “happiest year in college” and life with her husband.

The couple unknowingly shared a mutual friend. When Frances Shaw helped with freshman orientation, she met Truman Shaw for the first time. Frances Shaw was sitting at a booth in the recreation area of the tea house where students would get drinks and snacks. “I went back there to speak to the friend, and I ended up with Truman walking me to the dorm,” she recalled.

She said he was hers, and she knew it from the beginning. “He didn’t know it at the time, but he found out.” One year after her graduation in May 1949 they said their vows.

Truman Shaw passed away in May 2012 and this December the bench was dedicated in the Shaws’ honor.

The courtyard the bench is located in is the same place where Frances Shaw would sit with Truman Shaw in her college days. Beth Shaw, Frances’ daughter, approached the university with the idea and her mother couldn’t be happier.

photo by Heather Buckner