There’s no surprise that love can be formed when you’re least expecting it. In the spring of 2015, Jeff Knack and Cassandra Morthera both arrived at a biology lab section at the University of Minnesota Crookston, sat across each other and the rest was history. Jeff, a Minnesota resident and Cassandra, an international student from Mexico City, never would have imagined that our small town of Crookston would have brought such a big love. 

Jeff and Cassandra

During their time at UMC, Jeff, a criminal justice major and Cassandra, a communication major loved to be involved and socialize. They both pursued their academic careers rigorously, supporting each other and inspiring each other to do better every day. Jeff served as a community advisor (CA) and Cassandra was a part of the multicultural international club (MIC). Soon after first meeting each other, Jeff joined the MIC club and Cassandra also obtained a position as a CA. Knack stated, “We tried to be around each other all the time without being obvious.” After being friends for a while, they made their relationship official on January 17, 2016.

Fast forward three years and the two are still madly in love. The University of Minnesota Crookston has been a key part of their relationship. Cassandra stated, “What are the odds that someone from Mexico and from Minneapolis happen to meet in northwest Minnesota. We met here, both graduated fome here, and now we work here. We were both looking for a place where we mattered and UMN Crookston was it.” Jeff is now serving as an Area Coordinator in the UMN Crookston Residential Life Department and Cassandra is serving as a Communications Associate in the University & Alumni Relations Office.

The couple spends their time finding new places to explore, such as Mexico and Boston, all while trying new and fun cuisines and venues. During the interview, the couple both agreed that the gifts that they give each other is their time. They strive to unplug from phones and technology and just be present together. Cassandra’s kind-heartedness and adventurous spirit pairs perfectly with Jeff’s diligence and caring personality. On March 18, 2019 the couple went out to eat at their favorite restaurant, Blue Moose & Grill. They enjoyed dinner and at the same exact location where Jeff asked Cassandra to be his girlfriend three years back, he got down on his knee and asked her to be his wife. Of course, she said YES! When asked about their future plans, they stated that “We don’t know, but we have the comfort that whatever happens, we can face it together.” Looking towards the future, the couple looks forward to having a small wedding ceremony in Minnesota and a wedding reception in Mexico City.

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs and 24 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.