WSU engineering alums create perfect blueprint for love

Dan and Netta Haller started as classmates; now married for nearly 30 years



Dan and Netta Haller are pictured here on their wedding day on August 3, 1993. The couple was married at Netta’s family cabin on Bumping Lake.

HANNAH BOUCHER , Evergreen reporter

A lot of WSU students make friends during their freshmen orientation. Some are lucky enough to find their lifelong partners as well. This was exactly the case for Dan and Netta Haller when they first arrived at WSU back in 1990. 

Dan first met Netta while attending a dance at the Compton Union Building. There, she introduced him to her neighbor, and the two hit it off. Dan began dating Netta’s neighbor; however, the relationship did not last very long. 

The stars soon aligned though, as it turned out Dan and Netta were both civil engineering majors and shared most of the same classes. 

“I was positively head over heels for her,” Dan said. “One time, this Billy Joel song came on, “Just the Way you Are,” and I just picked up the phone and dialed her. I didn’t say anything; I just played music into the phone.”

Dan and Netta pose with their family (from left: Amelia, Bailey, Netta, Delilah, Dan] at Bumping Lake this summer on one of their visits to the cabin.

Dan said he made a game of dialing Netta and playing songs for her about once a week. The catch — Netta had no idea it was him. Dan said he went to great lengths to keep his identity a mystery. 

Netta said they were off and on again for their freshmen year, as she was not quite ready for a serious relationship. She said her priorities were more along the lines of establishing herself in her new life.

Dan said he made a mix-tape for Netta at the end of their freshman year with all the songs he played for her over the phone.

During the summer of 1991, the pair did not see each other and only occasionally sent letters. But Dan said they picked right back up where they left off when they returned to WSU for their sophomore year. 

That fall, Netta ended up enrolling in Dan’s physics lab a few weeks after classes had started. As luck would have it, Dan’s previous lab partner transferred out of the class, opening the spot up for Netta. 

After dating for a few years, Dan proposed to Netta during their junior year.

“Once I knew that Netta was the one, I didn’t want to waste any more time,” Dan said. “I wanted to start our life together. Getting married in college didn’t seem like a rush at all to me.” 

On Aug. 7, 1993, the couple married at a family cabin in Bumping Lake, the same place where Netta’s parents were married 23 years before them. Dan and Netta now own a cabin up in that area, and they spend their summers there. 

In the earlier years of their marriage, the couple would visit the campus to talk to engineering students or take their kids to football games. Netta said the visits became less and less frequent as their schedules got busier and their children got older.

For the first time in almost 15 years, the couple returned to Pullman this past August. They had a new Coug in tow and they came to help her move into her dorm. 

Dan and Netta’s daughter, Amelia Haller, began her freshman year at WSU this fall.

“It looks quite a bit different than it used to,” Netta said. “There’s been a lot of changes from when we went there. But it felt pretty comfortable, like being at WSU again.”