A VCU courtship on and off the court
The VCU Siegel Center erupted in a cascade of cheers when Jerry Riggins bent down on one knee in front of his girlfriend during the VCU men’s basketball matchup against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies.
Most courtships don’t follow the story arc of becoming smitten over badminton to a wedding proposal on a literal court in front of thousands of people, but the longtime VCU Massey Cancer Center administrator actualized that plotline on January 24.
“We’re both big fans of VCU basketball. I wanted to make it more memorable,” Riggins said of why he opted for the Siegel Center as the proposal location.
During a timeout at the basketball game on January 24, it was designed to look like Riggins was shooting baskets for a chance to win a jewelry store gift card. Instead, it was an elaborate setup for him to propose to his significant other, Tram Hoang, to which she reciprocated with an enormous smile and a kiss.
“I'm a believer that anything is possible, but this special moment in time was really beyond our wildest dreams. Tram and I are very happy that we were able to share our special moment with Ram Nation. Ram Nation is the best!” Riggins said following his proposal. “We would like to thank everyone who helped make it happen, and we truly appreciate the unbelievable response and well wishes from friends, family and Ram Nation.”
Riggins has been a part of the VCU Health community for nearly 25 years, where he landed a job within the Department of Anatomy at the VCU School of Medicine after graduating from VCU with an accounting degree in 1992. Two years later, he joined the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care at Massey as a fiscal technician and grants specialist. Now, he serves as the Division’s administrator as well as interim administrator for the Division of General Internal Medicine.
Originally from Vietnam, Hoang attended high school and college in Iowa and is now an inpatient pharmacist at VCU Medical Center.
Riggins first met his fiancée in 2011 during a badminton game at the Jonah L. Larrick Student Center on the MCV Campus. Always on the lookout for a new way to stay physically active, the marathon runner decided to join in on a badminton session hosted at the gym and was paired up with Hoang.
Laughing, he recalled a particular moment during this game where he tested his badminton partner’s and future fiancee’s competitive temperament when he missed a wide-open opportunity to score a point. Fortunately for Riggins, he didn’t damage his odds of taking her on a date.
But it wasn’t until 2013, where circumstances caused the two to meet again two years after their badminton partnership, that they went on their first date on Valentine’s Day and set the stage for a diamond ring offering almost three years later.
Following the proposal, Riggins said that he and Hoang are excited to take this next step in their lives and have already begun the wedding planning process.