A photo of a man standing behind a woman who is sitting on a brick balcony
Bobby and Ruby Dizon met as undergraduates in the early 1990s when they became involved in starting a student organization. (Tom Kojcsich, VCU Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

Ram romances: It was a meeting with a mission for Bobby and Ruby Dizon

He helped establish a Filipino affinity group at VCU, and his broader motivations were met when she walked in the door.

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Bobby and Ruby Dizon met in 1991 at an interest meeting to start a new Filipino student organization at VCU. Bobby admitted one of the reasons he decided to help his roommate, Fermin Trompeta, found it was because he thought it might be a good way to “meet girls.” Nearly 30 years of marriage later, Bobby didn’t know how right he would be.

“I walked in the door and there was this cute guy there sitting on the couch with his sister, and we met and just became friends very quickly,” Ruby said, looking at Bobby affectionately.

As the two spent time together putting up interest fliers for this new student organization, planning meetings at their friend’s apartment and going to parties, Bobby and Ruby found they had a lot in common.

“Lots of downtime, just sitting and getting to know each other. I remember just speaking with her at this one party for hours,” Bobby said.

At one point he asked Ruby where she saw herself in the future. She said she wanted to be married, to work as a nurse and to have six kids. “Good luck finding that sucker,” Bobby jokingly recalled of his reaction, long before the couple ended up with four children.

“We had such different upbringings, life goals and ambitions,” Bobby said. “But it was neat to hear each other and be able to connect.”

A group photo of six people standing on a beach.
Bobby and Ruby Dizon (center) with their four children (left to right) Jakob, Alyssa, Ethan and Ben. (Contributed)

After the two started dating, Ruby worked at the Tobacco Company restaurant in Shockoe Slip, and Bobby worked across the street at the Berkeley Hotel.

“I would wave going into my shift, and he was a bellman and would wave at me, too,” Ruby said.

While they could never afford those places while in college, Bobby and Ruby returned to Richmond in 2015 for their 20th anniversary and finally ate at the Tobacco Company and stayed at the Berkeley Hotel.

Bobby graduated from VCU in 1995 with his bachelor’s in urban studies and planning. Ruby ended up transferring to Marymount University for an associate degree in nursing. She returned to VCU after several years of working and having three children, and she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2003.

The couple live in Northern Virginia, with Ruby working as an operating room RN and Bobby working in information technology. Their children are grown, and the two love coming back to Richmond and seeing how the campus has grown, too, with Bobby getting regular updates on VCU expansions.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “I mean, we had a lot of fun and pride back then, but I can’t imagine the students now and what they have.”

The streets of Richmond remain full of memories for them. When their daughter’s friend got married, the reception was right across the street from where Ruby and Bobby first met.

“It was literally 25 years and a day [from] when we had met,” Ruby said. “It was really kind of crazy.”  

Decades later, the couple says VCU continues to be a very special place for them and will remain so for many years to come.

A photo of a woman wearing a wedding dress arm in arm with a man wearing a suit.
Bobby and Ruby Dizon at their wedding in July 1995. (Contributed)