A love story at the U

Spencer Cohen, B.S.C. ’14, and Megan Gray Cohen, B.S.H.S. ’14, D.P.T. ’17, met their first semester at the U and have been madly in love ever since.
A love story at the U

In the fall of 2011, just three weeks into her college experience, Megan Gray would meet her future husband Spencer Cohen on the foam-covered dance floor of a Miami nightclub.

“It was a very funny place for us to meet,” Spencer said. “Neither of us was very big in the going-out scene of Miami, so for us to meet at a nightclub was pretty uncharacteristic.”

Megan added: “We were both lost and confused little new ducks in Miami with no idea where to go, so we got kind of looped into a group of friends going to a foam party.”

Once they started talking, they never wanted the conversation to stop.

Spencer and Megan are still all about the U.

“Over the next couple of weeks, we started spending lots of time together in between classes and over lunch,” Megan said. “We also learned that we both lived in Walsh Tower, with Spencer on the 12th floor and I on the seventh, so the proximity helped.”

They started dating almost immediately. They shared a love of sports, bonding over tailgates and milkshakes while rooting on the school team.

“We were the only ones in our group of friends to paint our faces for the games,” Spencer said. “At first, it was a stripe of orange and green under each eye but by the end of the season we were wholly face painted.”

Growing up, Megan was a lifelong athlete. She tore her ACL playing basketball during her junior and senior years in high school, resulting in two years of physical therapy. That experience opened her eyes to her dream profession.  

 “Through that process, I was able to watch physical therapists go about their day caring for patients, talking to them, helping them to feel better, and getting them back to what they loved doing,” she said. “It seemed like a really rewarding career that fit my personality and desire to help people.”

The University of Miami checked all the boxes for her: a distinguished physical therapy program, a competitive sports program, happy students, and beautiful places to rest, read, and study.

Megan left her home in New Jersey for Miami.

Spencer hailed from Boston. One particularly cold winter day, he and a friend were trudging through the ice and snow when the friend took a hard fall. The friend was fine, but it was enough to convince Spencer to escape the cold for a few years and head to the University of Miami.

“It was the best decision I ever made,” he said.

Once enrolled, he decided to follow a passion for film.

“The University of Miami allowed me to learn the entire process of filmmaking, from writing to directing to production to post-production, all of which has been so invaluable to me,” he said. “It prepared me really well and helped me to discover directing as my passion.”

Over the next few years, Spencer and Megan would become each other’s biggest cheerleaders in life and work.

In 2014, when Megan graduated from the School of Nursing and Health Studies with a major in physical therapy and a minor in business administration, Spencer was the first to congratulate her. That same year, Spencer earned his degree from the School of Communication, majoring in motion pictures and economics. Megan applauded as he received his diploma.

When Megan earned her doctorate in physical therapy three years later, Spencer was cheering from the stands.

In February 2020, Spencer brought Megan back to campus. When he stepped out of the cab, he was overcome with emotion reflecting on their journey together. He led her past the dorm where they first lived, the pool where he would visit her while she worked as a swim instructor, and the fountain they both jumped in after graduation. He then took her on a familiar drive to the beaches of Key Biscayne, where they spent most weekends.

As the sun set over the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Beach Lighthouse, Spencer dropped to one knee and asked Megan to marry him.

She said yes and their families came out of hiding to swarm them with congratulations. They celebrated afterward at the Rusty Pelican.

In August of 2021, as they prepared to wed, a small hurricane threatened their plans to marry along New Jersey’s coastline. Ironically, after several years of living in Miami, they had left southern Florida largely untouched by hurricanes. Yet on their wedding day in the northeast, their plans were uprooted by a storm.

They shifted the ceremony the day before their wedding, calling all 170 guests and redirecting them to a nearby, indoor venue.

Megan said the experience was a testament to the strength and balance they bring to one another’s lives, calling Spencer her grounding force.

As they embarked on their careers, they continued to support and encourage one another.

Megan specialized in aquatic physical therapy. Now, she helps run a private practice where clients seek her out by name.

She recently spoke on the benefits of aquatic physical therapy at an American Physical Therapy Association conference. Physical therapists from all over the country, experts in the field, and even former professors from the University came to hear her speak.

Spencer was in the crowd that day, proudly filming the lecture.   

 “Seeing her in front of all her peers talking about her specialty, I saw how brilliant she is,” Spencer said. “I also got to see how she treats her patients with love and care, and how she encourages other physicians to treat their patients with that same love and care.”

Spencer recently completed his first feature film, “The Compatriots,” which he wrote, directed, and edited. The story follows best friends Hunter and Javi, as they fight to keep the undocumented Javi in the United States.  

The story was inspired by Spencer's childhood best friend, who does not hold legal status in the country where he was raised.

“My friend has been here since he was a little kid, yet he has no permanent rights in this country and could be deported to a country he’s never really known,” Spencer explained. “This issue affects millions of people, including teachers, nurses, doctors, and many others who contribute to our society and who would be devastating to lose. I want audiences to walk away with an understanding of how these people feel, and I hope this film leads to some sort of change around this issue.”

In August 2024, the film will be making its world premiere in competition at the Woods Hole Film Festival, an eight-day showcase of independent films and the oldest independent film festival on Cape Cod.

As Spencer wrote, produced, and edited the film, Megan was there at every step of the process, reading every draft, watching every cut, and offering him the support he needed to make the project a success.

“Megan is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Spencer said. “I’m so grateful every day that I met her at that foam party in Miami.”

The couple is expecting their first child later this summer.

“Maybe our baby boy will be a ’Cane in 18 and a half years,” Megan laughed.