Alums set to get married on campus Homecoming weekend

Mackenzie Mathews

WKU’s 2013 Homecoming is going to mean much more than just a football game to alumni Kyle Norris and Azlisya Ismail. The couple is set to get married at the Augenstein Alumni Center on Sunday.

The date had been set since the initial engagement, it being the day Norris was diagnosed with leukemia in 2000. Now, that date will forever be associated with the happiest occasion of their lives. The day falling on Homecoming weekend was a coincidence that makes the event all the more special for the soon-to-be newlyweds.

The groom, Norris, is a 2009 graduate from Glasgow. He received his bachelor of science in elementary education. The bride, Ismail, is from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She graduated in 2011 with her bachelor of science in international business. They have taken up residence in Burlington.

Returning to their alma mater for the wedding had not come up until Norris’s mother, Lida Jo Norris, offered the possibility.

“We never gave it a second thought after we heard it…It meant a lot to us since our friends are from WKU, and we met because of them,” Ismail said.

For Ismail, having the wedding on campus means going back to her home away from home. She said she had formed a family in Bowling Green, ever since 2009, when she came to WKU. She and Norris met here, because of her friends, whom she had met on campus as well.

So it only made sense to bring it all back where they began. Norris explained that the campus signifies that important aspect of their relationship.

The two became a couple in June 2011, after two years of having mutual friends, but never actually meeting one another.

“Whenever I hung out with them, Kyle was never there. And whenever Kyle hung out with them, I was never there. At one time, he helped our friends set up for a Halloween party, and he left right before I arrived,” Ismail said.

They finally met at a friend’s birthday party.

“He talked to those he had never met before and made us feel welcome…He was a gentleman,” Ismail said.

The proposal followed that August. Ismail had to return to Malaysia after her late father was diagnosed with cancer. A day before her departure, Norris took her to Covington Park and proposed, but without the ring. Asking for her hand in marriage did not feel right without her father’s permission.

The formal proposal was put off until after Norris went to Malaysia and received the father of the bride’s blessing in April of 2012. Over a year later, July 3, 2013, Norris made dinner and formally proposed, this time, with a ring.

“I was very nervous. It’s a life changing moment, and all I wanted to hear was ‘yes’,” Norris said.

Norris and Ismail have been traveling between Burlington and Bowling Green, in order to make the arrangements.

Several members of Norris’s family are WKU alumni, as well. His grandfather, Eldon Smith, mother, Lida Norris and brother, Franklin Norris, all call WKU their alma mater. Ismail’s bridesmaids, Sarah Van Alebleek, Neetu Khapung and Jasmine Bowie, are alumni, as well.

Ismail said it only makes sense for such a wedding to take place on campus, to connect the beginning of a relationship to their marriage.

“We wouldn’t have been together if it weren’t for WKU,” she said.