Couple works together for past 28 years

Jeff Hodges, assistant athletics director for sports communication, and Karen Hodges, associate director for creative services, have been married since June 2, 1984. “He was a junior transfer from Calhoun, and I was a second-semester freshman (when we met at UNA),” Karen Hodges said.

by Life Editor Monday Sanderson

Every day students can see couples walking around campus hand in hand, but not many notice the couples that work at the school.

Whether they work in the same department, like the Rieffs, or on opposite sides of the campus, like the Garfrericks, these couples are here and lead normal lives while working at the same university.

Jeff Hodges, assistant athletics director for sports communication, and Karen Hodges, associate director for creative services, are one such couple.

Karen Hodges said the couple both went to school at UNA.

“He was a junior transfer from Calhoun, and I was a second-semester freshman (when we met),” she said.

Jeff Hodges said the couple met on a snow day in January 1982.

“I and a bunch of guys from the dorm wanted to go out on the football field,” he said. “There were some girls leaving, and they were playing with a football. I had went up to Karen and asked her if I could borrow it. I of course had to return it to her later, and we ended up dating after that.”

Karen Hodges said they married June 2, 1984, in her junior year.

“When Jeff first began working here, he got called into the president’s office to discuss his dating college girls,” she said. “Jeff had told the president, ‘We started dating when we were students,’ and it was excused.”

Jeff Hodges said they have worked together since 1988, and it has been an enjoyable experience.

“A lot of people are like, ‘Oh, I would go crazy if I worked with my spouse,’ but with my job, I work a lot of nights and weekends, and I travel,” he said. “So, being able to see her every day is great. We always eat lunch together, either on campus or at home, since we live a block from campus.”

Karen Hodges said they have been eating lunches together ever since their offices were next to each other.

“When he moved over to the athletics annex from Keller, I went through withdrawals,” she said. “It was an adjustment not to see him during the day.

“When I moved to Rogers Hall, it was kind of sad, too. We spent 20 years together in the same building and the same floor, so we very rarely miss (lunch together).”

Their daughter, and UNA sophomore, Melanie Hodges said she became familiar with UNA because of this.

“Having parents here made it my home,” she said. “Once I began going to school here, it became one even more so.”

Karen Hodges said the couple enjoys watching sports together.

“We both enjoy watching college football,” Jeff Hodges said. “Her family is all Auburn fans and graduates, and my family is all Alabama fans and graduates, but we’re big UNA fans. We’re purple and gold through and through.”

Melanie Hodges said her parents do not require anything extravagant.

Karen Hodges said they overall have simple lives.

“While we have very complex children, we are not that complex,” she said.

Jeff Hodges said their children have all studied at UNA.

“Our son is a UNA graduate, and both of our daughters are current UNA students,” he said. “The school has been great for all three of our children and provides them great opportunities for what they want to do. It couldn’t have worked out any better for us.”

Editor’s Note: Melanie Hodges is the 2016-17 Chief Photographer for The Flor-Ala.