Student accepts wedding proposal in Queens College clock tower

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Ever since she stepped foot on the Queens College campus, Rachel Stern wanted to climb up into the school’s iconic clock tower.

Stern got that chance June 30 as part of an elaborate marriage proposal from her now fiancé, Yitzchak Lockerman, that took a team of Queens College administrators to pull off.

“I always wanted to go into the clock tower,” Stern said in a phone interview Monday. “I never expected to get engaged in there.”

To lure Stern into the clock tower, the college told her they wanted her to be in a photo shoot.

“They told me to wear my Sunday best,” she said.

As she was posing, Lockerman went down some of the clock tower’s stairs and greeted Stern in the middle of the tower with a single rose.

Stern said Lockerman hinted that he would be proposing to her but that it would be a surprise.

“I did not think he’d be able to surprise me, but he did. I’ve seen some pretty cool proposals before, but I did not see this coming,” she said. “It was a very beautiful moment.”

Lockerman said Queens College administrators helped him pull off the proposal.

“There’s a lot of effort that went into that. I’m very happy. What they did was amazing. It basically took an army of people to get this to work out,” he said. Rachel “knew I was going to propose, but she didn’t know when and where.”

The couple met at Queens College Hillel, a Jewish organization, in October 2008 during one of the Hillel’s Friday dinners.

Stern was a political science and psychology major at the school while Lockerman studied computer science.

The relationship developed at the school’s chabad and they started dating in May 2010.

“He would always walk me home,” Stern said. “Pretty much the entire campus tried to set us up ... because we’re very compatible.”

Stern, a 20-year-old Hillcrest resident, is entering her senior year at the college while Lockerman, 23, of Jamaica Estates, is attending Yale University for his doctorate.

The couple set their wedding date for sometime next year.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 11:30 am, October 12, 2011
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