Chelsea Bussell walks the stage with diamond and diploma in hand
By Ashley Ryan, College of Human Sciences Marketing and Communications
Nutritional Sciences alumna is proposed to moments before Fall 2016 Commencement
Chelsea Bussell never imagined on the morning of December 17, 2016, she would walk into her graduation ceremony engaged to the love of her life. Chelsea majored in Nutritional Sciences with an emphasis in Health and Wellness and a minor in Kinesiology.
During preparation held just moments before the commencement ceremony, staff members shrewdly requested Chelsea to come to the stage to check something on her identification card.
"As I was walking up, I was met on the stage by my boyfriend. I was wondering why on earth he was here!"
Rodney surprised Chelsea as he got down on one knee in front of all of the soon-to-be Texas Tech University graduates and asked Chelsea if she would begin a new chapter of life with him.
"I'm not sure 'yes' ever came out of my mouth, but I nodded several times. I was speechless. He made sure my parents and his sister were there to witness his proposal and to take photos. Having family there made everything even more special."
Chelsea says they have known each other since they were 13 years old. A mutual friend introduced them at a birthday party in Artesia, New Mexico, where their friendship began. Chelsea and Rodney were friends who attended rival schools and saw each other periodically during sporting events. Eventually, Rodney built up the courage to ask Chelsea to attend his junior year prom.
The summer after Chelsea's freshman year at Texas Tech Chelsea says she began to see Rodney as more than a friend.
"He asked me to go night fishing. I took a chance and decided to drive the 30 minutes to his hometown. I didn't know my view of this guy who had been just a friend for so long and who had wanted to date me for even longer would completely change. I was hooked from that night."
Rodney attended the New Mexico Military Institute on a full-ride football scholarship in the fall of 2014 before he moved back to his hometown of Carlsbad, New Mexico, when his father passed away. Rodney has worked full time at Carter's Air Conditioning company since then.
Following her recent graduation, Chelsea moved back to Carlsbad with her fiancé to begin her job search. Chelsea says she hopes to work for the State of New Mexico as a nutritionist for WIC in the near future.
After two and a half years of dating, the happily engaged couple is embarking on the joyous adventure of wedding planning with the date set for October 7, 2017, in Ruidoso, New Mexico.
Congratulations, Chelsea and Rodney!