All educators know that the first year of teaching is the most difficult. But for two recent hires at Cedarville University, that freshman struggle also came with a life-changing edge.
Mackenzie Davies, civil engineering instructor, and Caleb Booth, assistant studio art professor, are engaged on June 28, 2021. The two met during the orientation of the new faculty in August 2020, and the rest is up to the story.
Before they even met, Davies and Booth had to go through their own intricate journeys to get to Cedarville.
“I didn’t think I would teach at a university,” Davies said. “When I finished my graduate studies at Purdue, I chose an engineering position in Florida, then Dr. Ayers [Stephen Ayers, professor of civil engineering at Cedarville] called me and convinced me to apply to Cedarville.
“It took me the whole interview process to be really sure, but God kept opening doors and softening my heart to this position. I saw that was where he was. wanted me. “
“I was more settled in New York and had been there for six years, but God closed so many doors in my senior year in the city,” said Booth. “A gallery I worked in closed, my church closed for good, and then the pandemic hit, so I lost my part-time job. When I sent my application to Cedarville, that was the only place I even received a response.
Davies was offered a job at the university in early March 2020 and she moved to Cedarville just three days after accepting. Booth’s hiring took place within 10 days of faculty orientation.
“When I showed up for orientation, everyone knew I was new and still didn’t have a place to live,” said Booth. “Mackenzie followed up with me about a landlord I had spoken to, and we found out that we would have the same landlord in the same building. She drove me to the complex after work to show me around and introduce myself.
“I was just trying to be hospitable at the time,” Davies said. “Her things hadn’t arrived from New York yet – and not for three weeks – so I tried to help her. I let him use my air mattress and offered to cook him a meal.
As the two adjusted to teaching, they bonded during their freshman struggles and began to befriend each other.
“We started hanging out after work,” Booth explained. “Since we were in the same apartment complex, we were texting each other, ‘I’m just noting if you want to go upstairs.’ We also made dinners together.
The two officially started dating on October 11, 2020, and they got engaged a few months later on December 29.
As for adding a relationship to an already hectic year, the two say having each other has helped alleviate everyday stressors.
“Our relationship has made freshman education easier because we each have a boyfriend,” Davies said. “We have great colleagues, but they have a lot more experience than us. Having Caleb by my side gave me a partner to fight new things with.
Davies and Booth both remember the important role their faith played in their relationship, especially through the winding paths that led them to Cedarville and each other.
“God was in control, and none of us would be in Cedarville without his hand at work,” Davies explained. “There is so much that happened that Caleb and I would have the chance to meet and commune. I believe we reap some truly wonderful benefits from obeying even when it is almost impossible to figure out the way to go. We have been truly blessed.
And so, after a year of transition and change, the couple are thrilled to be getting married.
“It will be a sweet moment of culmination, of bringing our lives together,” Booth said.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered Baptist institution with an enrollment of 4,550 undergraduate, graduate and online students in more than 150 fields of study. ‘studies. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of Ohio’s largest private universities, nationally recognized for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, including the Bachelor of Arts in Art Studio and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited health science and professional offerings, and a high ranking of student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.