Jay Pou looks very different than he did a decade ago, working at the University of South Carolina’s Thomas Cooper Library. Like any former coworker worth their salt, his wife Katherine Magner jumps at the chance to share an old pic of Pou with fashionably long hair and baggy clothes: “Do you want to see a picture of Jay in undergrad?”
Working in the library’s circulation department, Pou and Magner both took advantage of the one class per semester USC offers to full-time faculty and staff.
“After I was in an academic library, that was it, that was what I was going to do,” says Magner. When she graduated with her Master of Library and Information Science degree, Magner moved, first to Ohio, then Texas. They kept in touch over GChat while Pou put his master of education to work as an advisor and U101 instructor at USC.
Although Pou has nothing but good things to say about the iSchool, he represents the J-school, where he majored in journalism and obtained his bachelor of arts. “My name is Jay, so I guess I have to,” he says.
Pou is effusive when he talks about the “new” J-school building. Magner insists Davis College, home of the School of Information Science, is much cooler.
When Magner moved back to Columbia to work at the South Carolina State Library, getting to hang out with Pou was a bonus. “To be clear, I did not come back for him,” she insists. Both swear they were just friends at the time. Neither can identify a first date, but agree their 10-day trip to Europe is a solid contender.
Although their days at Thomas Cooper are behind them, nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Pou insisted he needed to stop by the library to pick up a book after hitting Soda City, the Columbia Museum of Art and Drake’s Duck-In.
“I had been saying, like, ‘Oh, let’s have a Columbia day,’” Magner says. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. “And then he just proposed, right in front of the library. So that was a really good Columbia day.”
As members of the Columbia chapter of the USC Alumni Association, the couple demonstrate pride in not only USC but Columbia. Magner even bought Pou a hat emblazoned with the city flag.
“We live in Columbia on purpose,” Pou says.
Editors note: Since this article was written, Magner has also joined the university as librarian at the University of South Carolina School of Law Library. Pou is an exploratory advisor at the University Advising Center.