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CCU Atheneum: Reggie Anderson '18 surprised Kaila Smart '17 during CCU's August commencement with a proposal.
Reggie Anderson '18 surprised Kaila Smart '17 during CCU's August commencement with a proposal.

From graduate to betrothed: CCU alumni get engaged at commencement

by Nicole Pippo
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Love was in the air at Coastal Carolina University’s summer commencement on Aug. 3, when CCU 2018 graduate Reggie Anderson proposed to his girlfriend, Kaila Smart, outside of the HTC Center.

“I really had no idea that the engagement was happening, and it was totally unexpected,” said Smart, who graduated from CCU in May 2017. “My family knew, his family knew, his friends knew, and I was pretty clueless.”

Both Anderson and Smart earned bachelor’s degrees in exercise and sport science. They met in 2013 when they had a Spanish class together at CCU. Smart said that at first she saw him as a friend, but they eventually started dating in 2015.

In March of this year, Anderson asked Smart’s father for his blessing to marry her and made sure that both of their families would be there for the proposal. 

Anderson said he knew he was going to propose while they were all taking pictures outside of the HTC Center, but he just had to wait for the right time. 

When CCU photographer Judy Johns came over to take photos after the commencement ceremony, he knew the timing was right. So, Anderson posed for a photo while he was down on one knee, and when Smart turned around, she was met with Anderson still on one knee and ready to pop the question. 

Anderson was deployed with the U.S. Army National Guard and could not attend Smart’s graduation in 2017, so he wanted his graduation to be about both of them. “He chose to propose then because it was such a pivotal moment that I was able to be there for his special day,” said Smart.

The couple is enjoying being engaged and they expect to have a wedding within the next year or two. Smart is from Dayton, Ohio, and Anderson is from Rock Hill, S.C., and works for the military in Columbia. 

Anderson and Smart don’t plan to move in together until they are married, but they hope to settle down in the Columbia area while Smart attends the University of South Carolina to earn a doctorate in physical therapy.


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