Austin Chandler felt there was no better place than Samford Clock Tower to propose to his girlfriend, Jacqueline Keck.
She was Auburn’s third woman Student Government Association president. He is executive vice president of initiatives.
“I find a lot of joy knowing that we got to share Auburn together, and we get to come back,” said Keck, outgoing Student Government president and senior in economics.
Chandler, junior in
Chandler looked out across Samford Lawn through the small wooden window of the tower before lowering himself to one knee.
Keck said after his knee hit the floor she remembers saying yes and the whirlwind that transumed afterword.
The two lovebirds met through work with the Miss Auburn election. Keck was busy scheduling visits for her candidate in her sophomore year and Chandler was assigned to work with her.
She sent Chandler and Kathryn Kennedy, today’s Miss Auburn, an email that said the two of them would need to crank out 530 emails within the next hour.
“They got it done and I said, ‘He is such a hard worker, I like a man who can send some emails,’” Keck said. “He was always on the ball and I thought, ‘Someone needs to date this boy.’”
Initially, Keck started playing matchmaker — trying to find someone who liked a hard working, email-sending man.
Through an Auburn Answers request for
“She hit me with the read and no reply,” Chandler said.
Keck’s plans to meet Chandler were already in the works. With a casual invite to dinner, the two were on their way, but when he arrived that night he found a package of uncooked chicken and a George-Foreman.
Chandler was asked to cook the chicken. Unaware and hopeful, he began throwing everything in the pan and hoping for the best.
“We ate chicken spaghetti and went to the Camp War Eagle Pep Rally,” Keck said. “That was the beginning.”
Two years later, Chandler was the one planning for a big step in their relationship.
The proposal spot was a no-brainer, he said.
The two have had a busy few years together, as both have held leadership positions at the University and their dedication to the city and school is a part of them today.
“I think about Jacqueline and where she spent her last year and she has sacrificed a lot of it for Auburn and students,” Chandler said. “She sacrificed a lot of her time and our dating too. I knew I wanted to do it in Auburn.”
He considered many spots on campus, but with some help from friends in high places, Chandler arranged a Samford Clock Tower tour on the Friday before A-Day.
Clock Tower Tours are now reserved for extremely special occasions and special guests.
Keck said she had wanted to go up before she graduated but had no clue they would until the big day. She began trying to plan for A-Day weekend weeks before, and Chandler was consistently fighting off questions and pushing back on her plans.
With the help of a few friends, Chandler was able to keep her relatively content with the plan for a triple date. He said she was played like a fiddle, but he did what he had to do.
“I had no clue,” Keck said.
Nerves pumping through his veins, Chandler went to the door to pick up Keck before their 4:30 p.m. tour of the Clock Tower.
She opened the door and he stood, waiting.
“Tuck in your shirt,” Keck said.
Chandler fought her a bit because the untucked shirt was concealing the obvious ring box in his back pocket. She wouldn’t let it go and once she got in the car, he tucked his shirt in furiously and thought to himself, “She’s got to stay in front of me the whole time.”
They arrived only to find out one of the couples had dropped out of the date because of a “fender bender.” Conveniently leaving Keck, Chandler, Jennings Bowden and her fiancé — well-known wedding photographers and planners around Auburn.
The group climbed to the top of Samford, where Chandler proceeded to ramble about the architectural design of the building until he got his cue from Bowden that it was time.
“Wanna take some pictures,” she asked.
She positioned Keck and Chandler for a photo and the flash clicked. Chandler shifted his weight to one knee and asked the big question.
“She is the most beautiful woman in the world,” Chandler said.
The two are most attracted to each other’s love for people and sacrificial natures. Keck said he has taught her to appreciate the little things, let life live and reminds her to slow down every once in a while.
“Her character is unwavering. Jacqueline is going to be who she is today as she was yesterday,” Chandler said. “There is not a thing that is going to change. She will refine here and there, but I love how she learns.”
While they may have to schedule their dates through iCloud invite, Keck and Chandler said they wouldn’t change it for the world. Their busy schedules have taught them to value their time together.
As for time, they said they will be waiting until May 2019 to officially tie the knot. With the
“Jacqueline always says it’s okay to dream a little bit, but I always want to tell her that these aren’t dreams anymore,” Chandler said. “This is our reality.”