William Pereira quietly sat beside Aisha Aguilera in history class during freshmen year at Sam Houston State University.
They eventually began dating and would meet up under the clock tower between classes for lunch during their four years at SHSU.
After graduating in 2011, the couple returned to the clock tower Saturday afternoon when Pereira embraced Aguilera’s hand and proposed beneath the tolling bells.
“This was my dream,” Aguilera said. “When I pictured he would propose to me I pictured it coming back to the place where we first met.”
The couple drove down from Dallas the previous day after friends invited them to visit for the weekend. According to Pereira, the trip didn’t hinder his plans for Saturday.
“She had mentioned [wanting to come down] after I had thought about it and I didn’t want to lead her into thinking anything,” Pereira said.
According to Aguilera, the morning of the proposal Pereira was quiet but she remained unsuspicious.
“He was so quiet and was awake really early and was wanting to get up and go,” Aguilera said. “I could tell he was eager about something.”
As the couple neared the clock tower, Pereira said he told Aguilera he had alternative motives for coming to Huntsville.
“I pretty much knew as soon as he said that what was happening,” Aguilera said.
Pereira and Aguilera live together in Dallas, but after graduation, moving back home strained their relationship with 246 miles between Cypress and Garland.
“Even when we were dating throughout our college experience when we had a summer break that was hard for us,” Aguilera, a Garland native, said. “Graduating was hard. The only thing we were really certain of is that we knew wherever we were going to be we wanted to be there together.”
Pereira and Aguilera were apart for six months before buying an apartment together in December.
“It was kind of hard because I didn’t have a job right out of college,” Pereira said. “I eventually got a job where I could move wherever I want.”
Aguilera remains a student studying for her Master’s degree in cognition and neuroscience at the University of Texas in Dallas while Pereira works for Transocean Oil offshore.
For the future Aguilera is unsure of her future plans+, but foresees a possibility of returning to SHSU.
“One of the things that has been brought up as a possibility is that one of the professors that I had here asked if I thought about coming back to [SHSU] and teaching here,” Aguilera said. “Everybody asks you what you want to do now but I’m unsure about what I want to do. I want to keep my mind open.”
Pereira will remain employed for Transocean’s offshore drilling but once married for a few years he wants to move onshore.
A wedding date hasn’t been set, but Pereira said they want the ceremony planned to avoid the Texas heat.