Bonded in love
by Nathaniel Miller
Marina Salgado (B.A. ’17) and her husband, Mario Salgado (B.A. ’17), didn’t expect to find chemistry in a Biology class.
It was Fall 2013 when the couple, in the first semester of their first year of college, met in Biology 1301 at St. Mary’s University. Both had aspirations of attending medical school.
A native San Antonian, Marina Salgado (then Flores) gravitated toward people in class she knew from high school and described herself as outgoing. Mario Salgado, more on the quiet side, had two older brothers also attending St. Mary’s, all of whom were from Las Cruces, New Mexico.
It wasn’t until the lab portion of the course that the two finally crossed paths. Marina Salgado said that, at the time, she couldn’t “help but notice how handsome” her classmate was and complimented the eyes of this new person in her orbit.
Mario Salgado, though, left the group to focus less on getting to know his groupmates and more on classwork.
“He ended up moving lab groups because we weren’t getting any work done,” Marina Salgado said. “I thought, ‘Dang, he must have really not liked our group.’”
He didn’t stay away though. Calling Marina Salgado a “wonderful writer,” he would return to her, exchanging class notes and strengthening their budding friendship.
The two would run into each other again in Spring 2014, laughing when they learned they had the same laptop (his was blue and hers was pink).
A snack break finally helped them make that special connection.
While purchasing a snack at the University’s bookstore, Mario Salgado felt a tap on his shoulder and turned around to find Marina Salgado. Both commuters to campus, she asked him to walk to the parking lot with her.
“Running into him outside gave us a bunch of time to talk. We, surprisingly, had a lot in common,” she said.
After graduation, they attended separate graduate schools, still in San Antonio, both graduating around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the anniversary of their first official date in February 2022, Mario Salgado took Marina to J. Alexander’s for dinner — their special occasion spot.
Temperatures dipped below freezing, and Marina Salgado was looking forward to a warm night staying in. His persistence got the better of her.
She sensed the meal was going a bit differently than usual: Mario Salgado had her sit on his left when she usually sits to his right. He hardly touched his food and fidgeted throughout dinner.
When he returned from a trip to the bathroom, things finally made sense.
“I stood next to her and asked, ‘Can you stand up?’ and that’s when she started freaking out,” Mario Salgado said.
He proposed on the spot, gaining applause and well-wishes from other diners. After taking in the moment, Marina said she couldn’t wait to tell her family.
Unbeknownst to her, Mario had planned the event — including hiring a photographer — in advance. Their family members had been in the back of the bar area the whole evening waiting for the moment.
“They were all waiting for me to give them the signal,” he said. “It was so funny.”
They married on May 6, 2023 and have enjoyed more than 10 years as a couple.
Marina Salgado now works as the communications manager for The Gonzaba Foundation and Mario Salgado is a counselor at the Children’s Bereavement of South Texas.
The smaller class sizes and personal connections with professors at St. Mary’s allowed them to build a connection and, eventually, realize there were ways to be of service to others in different careers.
“St. Mary’s helped put us on the right track. We were given the opportunity to see what our skills were and, over time, learn where we could offer the best to our communities based on our different capabilities.”
“St. Mary’s helped put us on the right track,” Marina Salgado said. “We were given the opportunity to see what our skills were and, over time, learn where we could offer the best to our communities based on our different capabilities.”
They may not have gone into the medical field, but the couple said St. Mary’s gave them not only a life together, but the tools to go out and make a difference in their community.
“If I told myself 10 years ago I wasn’t going to become a doctor, I wouldn’t have believed you,” Mario Salgado said. “But I’m sitting here now, and this is where God decided to put me.”