A Whitman Family Wedding

When MBA student, Kaitlynn Harvester ’16, now Kaitlynn Ihrke, met John Petosa, professor of accounting at Syracuse University‘s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, she knew that he would be one of her favorite professors. However, what Harvester didn’t know was that she had just met the man who would one day perform her wedding ceremony.

In April, Harvester and then boyfriend Nate Ihrke visited Skaneateles lake, where Ihrke asked if she would spend her future with him. To which Harvester happily replied yes. The two quickly began planning a large wedding but found they also wanted something more intimate.

“We honestly just wanted to elope, and do something with just us,” said Harvester. “We called our wedding officiant to plan the eloping ceremony, and made a plan to do it that way before the actual wedding.”

Needing a day off for the ceremony, Harvester asked Petosa to be excused from class. To her surprise, Petosa not only gave her the day off but offered his services to perform her wedding ceremony.

“Kaitlynn and I have a terrific relationship,” said Petosa. “She mentioned she was not sure the minister who would perform the ceremony with their families could do so ahead of time.”

As a town justice in Camillus, New York, Petosa is empowered to perform marriages.

“In fact, I like to joke that it is the only life sentence that I can impose as a Town Justice,” said Petosa. “I reminded her that I could help her if she needed my assistance.”  

Excited by the offer, Harvester and her fiancé invited Petosa to perform the ceremony.

“We decided we would prefer to have Petosa because he was a really great guy and we were both familiar with him as he had come to some of the MBA after hours events,” said Harvester, “On April 15, 2016 around 5 p.m. I married my best friend with the assistance of Petosa.”   

However, Harvester was not the first student to have a wedding ceremony performed by Petosa. While Petosa has yet to perform a ceremony on campus, he has been the officiant for one of his former student Josh Schultz, as well as for his colleague Alexandra Kostakis, Whitman professor of entrepreneurial practice. Petosa feels performing these weddings has given him a new direction.

“My motivation for teaching is the change to help my students not only in the classroom but in life,” said Petosa. “It was a great honor for me to help Kaitlynn and Nate begin the rest of their life together.”

Petosa wasn’t the only Whitman staff member in attendance at Harvester’s wedding.

“We had Jim Vivenzio from Whitman’s media department take our photos which came out absolutely amazing,” said Harvester. “My classmate Deedi Boland was my maid of honor and one of the witnesses at our first wedding. I was so happy to have the support of my Whitman family at both of my weddings.”

Mr. and Mrs. Ihrke on their wedding day.


Arielle Spears