From Val to Valentines: An Interview with the “Love-Burds,” Candice Burd ’89 and Mitchell Burd ’89

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Managing Features Editor Emma Burd ’26 sits down with her parents, Candice Burd ’89 and Mitchell Burd ’89 to discuss the story of how they met at Amherst and their lives together since then.

From Val to Valentines: An Interview with the “Love-Burds,” Candice Burd ’89 and Mitchell Burd ’89
Candice Burd ’89 and Mitchell Burd ’89 met on move-in day their freshman year at Amherst. Photo courtesy of Candice and Mitchell Burd ’89.

For this special Valentine’s Day edition of the Amherst Student, I knew I wanted to write something on theme. In past years, The Student has covered everything from Valentine’s Day horror stories from the newsroom to the retelling of how alumni couples (notably President Michael Elliott ’92 and his now-wife Jenn Matthews ’91) met. For this article, I decided to stay closer to home, sitting down with my parents, Candice Burd ’89 and Mitchell Burd ’89 (i.e. the “Love-burds”) to talk about how they met here at Amherst, their journey through college, and their lives together beyond.

Emma Burd: For my first question, let’s go back to the start — I would love to hear the story of how you two met at Amherst.

Candice Burd: We met at Amherst on the very first day, on move-in day. My family’s SUV pulled onto the quad and a strapping young man came bounding over [looks knowingly at Mitchell Burd] to the car and offered to help unload my stuff. And so Mitchell actually helped me unload and move into my freshman year dorm in James. Unpacked all of my stuff, carried it up all the stairs … it was a running joke for many years [about] how much stuff I had … And what I didn’t know is that he was not there in any kind of official capacity. I assumed — as did my parents — that he was part of the welcoming committee of students who had volunteered to help people unload their cars.

EB: So what made you go and help her?

Mitchell Burd: I said, “She’s a keeper.”

CB: The best part is that for all the years we’ve been married, I always thought that it was just a funny story. That he helped me and he was the very first person I met in college. But it really was funny to find out all these years later that what I thought wasn’t the case.

MB: Even funnier, I knew the truth and I didn’t know that she didn’t know for all these years.

EB: But you guys didn’t get together right away. What was the timeline of your relationship?

MB: We started dating senior year of college.

CB: Right, we were friends. We had a similar friend group freshman year. And then we just knew each other but didn’t really hang out until senior year when we became a couple. And then we dated for part of senior year, and then we broke up. We didn’t get back together until the very end of senior year. So interestingly, we actually spent much less time dating in college versus dating [in general]. We really weren’t together much [in] college.

EB: Can you tell me what you did immediately post-grad?

CB: Yes, I went into the advertising industry and worked for a large ad agency right out of school.

MB: I went to work for Citibank as an analyst.

EB: And you guys were together at that point?

CB: Yes, I moved to New York. And [Mitchell] was living at home in Boston, and we were dating and getting pretty serious. I convinced him to come to New York to visit me, and so he packed his bag to come to New York for like a five-day visit — and he never went home. So, that’s the story. He only had five days of clothes, and he ended up basically moving in and staying and just had to go home to get the rest of the stuff at some point.

MB: I had to borrow money from [my older brother] … I think I still owe him that … to make the trip.

EB: Can you tell me a little bit about yourselves now? What do you do for work? What do you do for fun? How much do you love your kids? Things like that?

They both laugh. Because I am hilarious. And the light of their lives. Duh.

CB: Okay, I am a Chief Marketing Officer. I’ve worked in the beauty industry my entire career and currently work at NEST New York, which is a fragrance lifestyle brand, well-known for home fragrances like candles and diffusers. I’ve worked there for almost five years. We live currently in New York City on the Upper East Side. We recently moved to New York City after 20 years in the suburbs. We returned to New York City after spending our kids’ childhood years in Maplewood, New Jersey, where we raised our family happily in a wonderful suburban community. And we have a home in Orient, New York, where we currently are splitting our time.

The Burds now split their time between their apartment in New York City and their house in Orient, New York. Photo courtesy of Emma Burd ’26.

MB: And I’m an Executive Recruiter, and I’m currently the Senior Talent Acquisition Partner at Russell Investments. Been there for almost five years.

CB: And how much do we love our children? Our children are the center of our universe. Obviously.

We all laugh.

EB: That was kind of a joke question, but I love to hear it anyway.

CB: They are the most precious things to us in the whole wide world. Our son is a recent graduate from Duke University and working on Wall Street in investment banking. And our daughter, our pride and joy, is a current sophomore at Amherst. We are thrilled that one of our children followed in our footsteps and is attending our beloved alma mater. And we are so proud of both of them.

Notice how they said “pride and joy” only about me? Well, I did.

EB: What did you study while you were at Amherst and why?

MB: I was a psychology major ... I really wasn’t sure what I wanted to do [at first]. I liked science in high school. I thought maybe I would continue that at Amherst. But Amherst gave me the opportunity to experience lots of different types of classes. I took an [Introduction to Psychology] class and that led to another and another, and ultimately I decided to major in [psychology], not thinking I want to be a psychiatrist or psychologist, but I liked the idea of it helping and contributing to my interest in business.

CB: I was a Spanish major, which was inspired by my love of language and travel. I studied abroad in France and in Spain during my college years and thought that I would likely have some kind of career overseas, which didn’t happen. I had a lot of fun traveling and never regretted that even though I didn’t end up using it professionally.

EB: What is a favorite memory that you have of your time in college?

MB: That’s hard because Amherst was one of the best times of my life. I mean, the lasting thing is the people I met, the friends I still have —

CB: That’s not a memory.

MB: Well, I remember TAP [The Amherst Party] at Tyler—

CB: Mitchell, one memory. I remember we had a big Halloween tradition, and my friends and I would all always dress on theme. So one year we did the Wizard of Oz, and we all dressed up as different characters … One year was Alice in Wonderland, and it was fun because we went in a big group and were the whole story.

EB: What would you do if you had one day back at Amherst? If you just magically woke up and were a college student again?

CB: Back then, there was this great brunch at Val — we didn’t call it Val, we called it Valentine — it was like this big social thing ... I’d sit on the quad, preferably on a nice, crisp fall day with pretty leaves and just hang out and see friends and soak in college life. And then get ready for a night out, because I think that was so much part of our college experience, going out and going to parties from dorm to dorm. Being a small college there is definitely the safety of you know everybody, but … you never know what the night is going to bring … It always felt like there was opportunity and fun in the air on any given night, which I feel is very specific to that time in my life. That never really got old in four years, even in a small community.

MB: You don't really fully appreciate it while you’re there. Everyone is just there to have a good time, and experience things and grow. If I were to go back, I would go back with that mindset.

Candice and Mitchell started dating their senior year of college. Photo courtesy of Candice and Mitchell Burd ‘89.

EB: Time for a fill-in-the-blank. Best party spot of the ’80s was ... ?

CB: Chi Psi. Oh, formally Chi Psi. [Now Mayo Smith.] Yeah, that’s where I lived my senior year. And the best part is it has a big ballroom where everyone would just dance the night away and it was always a good time.

MB: I went into town more than [Candice]. There were bars in town that we went to senior year. But in terms of on campus, there used to be a bonfire down on the base of Memorial Hill that was fun.

EB: Any favorite Amherst traditions that you guys remember?

MB: I remember taking the trays from Valentine when there was a lot of snow and sledding down — or is it called “traying down” — Memorial Hill.

CB: It was also a tradition that everyone from UMass [Amherst] came over, and there would be a huge snowball fight on the quad.

MB: Yeah. Mostly freshman year. Most of the time it was friendly.

EB: As an Amherst couple and with one of your children currently attending Amherst, your ties to the school still seem to be quite strong. Are you still in touch with any of your college friends today?

MB: Yes. To me, that’s one of the greatest things about Amherst, the people that I met and I’m still great friends with to this day.

CB: We actually have several friends that are also Amherst couples that we still see and socialize with, even though some of them are in different parts of the country and different parts of the world.

EB: That leads perfectly into my next question, which is do you think there’s anything special about Amherst couples in particular?

MB: Definitely. They share a special bond. Amherst is such a unique place and you develop such strong bonds because of it that last a lifetime.

Mitchell Burd '89 is still close with his college friends. Photo courtesy of Candice and Mitchell Burd ‘89.

EB: Last question! What is one piece of advice you would either give your past self or a current Amherst student?

MB: Mine would probably be to not sleep till noon.

CB: I think if I were to go back and give my younger self advice, I would do more stuff. I had an amazing time. But I don’t think I took advantage of all the wonderful things that the college or the whole community and the area had to offer. I have no regrets; I had a wonderful time, but I think my time could have been even richer and more enhanced if I had gotten more involved.

MB: I agree with that. I mean I did take advantage; I played intramural soccer and I took classes at UMass [Amherst] and spent time at Smith and Holyoke. I think there is even more to do now. If I went back, I think I would want to do even more, take more advantage of that stuff.

At that point, the “Love-burds” told me they had to go and cook dinner, so we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways.

After my conversation with my parents, I was left thinking about the unique quality of relationships — both romantic and platonic — that this school fosters.  

So whether you feel you’ve found “the one” at Amherst or you’ve made friends that will last a lifetime, my parting wisdom to you on this cheesy, cliché holiday is a cheesy, cliché piece of advice: take some extra time today to be grateful for the love and lifelong connections Amherst has the power to create.

Candice and Mitchell are pictured here with their beloved son and “pride and joy” daughter. Photo courtesy of Emma Burd ’26.