Surprise engagement unfolds during CMU Homecoming

Alumni sweethearts betrothal occurs where their love began

| Author: Jason Fielder | Media Contact: Jason Fielder

Homecoming 2023 was extra special for CMU Alumni Taylor Gritzmaker (BA ’22) and Bryce Shaw (BS ’22), who celebrated their engagement amidst the vibrant festivities. The couple's romantic journey, which began during their time at CMU, led them to a surprise proposal at Mill Pond Park in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

A man wearing a CMU hooded sweatshirt and backward ball cap smiles and poses with a woman wearing a maroon jacket and CMU winter hat while showing off her engagement ring.
Taylor Gritzmaker shows off the ring after her engagement to Bryce Shaw in front of family and friends (upper background).


Taylor, a current student at the Ohio State University College of Medicine, and Bryce, who has successfully launched his career at Delta Dental after graduating with an IT degree from CMU, now reside together in Columbus, Ohio.

Their love story began during their senior year at CMU, with a twist of fate and the power of friendship. At the time, Taylor’s best friend and roommate, Jenn, was dating Bryce’s roommate, Joe. Eventually, Taylor and Bryce were introduced, and it didn’t take long for them to realize they were perfect for each other.

“When introducing us, Jenn and Joe said, ‘I don’t know why we haven’t introduced you yet, you are the same person,’” Taylor said. “We finally met the fall semester of 2021 and immediately became super close friends.”

The couple's connection grew stronger, and they eventually graduated side by side. Together, they then embarked on a memorable journey through Europe before Taylor’s study abroad program began, and upon her return, they settled in Columbus together.

A male and female smile and pose together after a commencement ceremony, each wearing a cap and gown.
Bryce Shaw and Taylor Gritzmaker at their commencement ceremony in 2022.


Their engagement, shrouded in secrecy, came to life during CMU's Homecoming festivities. Their loved ones gathered and stayed out of sight at Mill Pond Park, where Bryce proposed to Taylor on the banks of the Chippewa River. The park held sentimental value for Taylor, as she often took walks with a baby she nannied during her time at CMU.

A man wearing a maroon hooded sweatshirt and backward action C ball cap is down on one knee in the sand beside a river, proposing to a woman wearing a maroon jacket and CMU winter hat.
Bryce Shaw proposes to Taylor Gritzmaker on the banks of the Chippewa River at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant.


“It was super special as we were surrounded by all our friends and families, and for Bryce, it was more special because he was able to pull it off without me knowing,” Tayor said.

Russ Shellberg, another CMU graduate, captured the magical moments through his lens. The proposal was a masterfully orchestrated surprise, as Taylor and Bryce were caught up in the Homecoming parade and tailgating excitement.

“We were planning to visit for homecoming before one of my block exams, but it was very up in the air, and I canceled it a few times due to being uncertain about my exam schedule. Bryce had to keep planning and canceling on everyone because of me. I finally decided we could swing the weekend, as it would be my only chance this year to see my little brother, who is in the marching band,” said Taylor.

The couple's engagement symbolizes the enduring love that blossomed from their undergraduate years at CMU and has continued flourishing. Surrounded by the warmth of their families and friends, Taylor and Bryce embark on this new chapter in their lives, united by the bonds they built during their time at Central Michigan University.

View latest news