A photo of Micah McCarey, director of the LGBT Center, and his husband, Christopher Lewis, director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards (ONCA). (Photo provided by Micah McCarey)

OU power couple

Published October 5, 2023

OU power couple

Q&A: Christopher Lewis and Micah McCarey discuss being an ‘OU power couple’

By Jackson McCoy | For The Post

Many Ohio University students know the names Micah McCarey and Christopher Lewis. Bobcats looking to apply to highly prestigious scholarship programs will be graced with assistance from Lewis, who is the head of OU’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards, and those looking for resources for LGBTQIA+ students will find help from McCarey, who directs the university’s LGBT Center. Additionally, McCarey is an alum and an Athens City Council member.

However, students may not know the two are married. Lewis and McCarey have been the OU power couple for over a decade, contributing to the Athens and OU spheres for years.

The Post sat down with McCarey in person and Lewis over an email to get a glimpse into their relationship, their work on campus and more.

The Post: Dr. McCarey, how did you and Dr. Lewis meet?

McCarey: We met on a website called gay.com. that is now the website for the Los Angeles LGBT Center. In 2009, it featured a chat room, LGBT resources and the ability to search dating profiles. I ended up searching for guys in the Columbus area who specifically listed Mariah Carey in their interests, along with the age and educational parameters. Chris was the only person to come up in that search and, coincidentally, he had just created his profile the day before, so if I had run the search, even though a few days earlier, I would have missed him.

TP: Dr. Lewis, how did you feel about Dr. McCarey reaching out to you first?

Lewis: Honestly, I can't remember. People didn't meet as much over the internet then as they do today. I think I listed only Mariah Carey and Toni Morrison as the interests on my profile, so I'm glad those interests spoke to him.

TP: What was your first date? Did you feel like it went well?

McCarey: Our first date was at the Union Cafe in the Short North neighborhood of Columbus. Chris was working on his PhD in English, and, at that time, I was working full time in OU’s Department of Housing and Residence Life. Immediately upon meeting, we realized that we grew up 20 minutes from each other, and we were born just 20 days apart. His best friend throughout grade school was among my best friends in college and, actually, the first person I met and made friends with when I moved into college. There are all these coincidences that made it feel like a great match.

TP: Dr. Lewis, does it feel weird to be working at OU with your husband who is an alum?

Lewis: No, it doesn't feel weird to work at OU with Micah. It's great that I get to meet new colleagues and students through him who I may not otherwise get to meet, and likewise he can meet new colleagues and students through me. We end up getting to know more people across campus and also within the Athens community that way.

TP: How has balancing working different schedules while working on the same campus been for you?

Lewis: Our schedules can be very different from one another or very much aligned depending on the day or week. It's nice that throughout the week we can usually find the time to socialize with our friends, listen to music outside on our deck, or watch our favorite shows together. Currently it's the remake of the show “Dynasty" that came out a few years ago. And classic episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager,” “Frasier” and “Will & Grace.”

McCarey: The bigger challenge was that for the first nine years of our life together, we were in a long-distance relationship, trying to figure out where we were going to make our home together. It's only been since 2018 that Chris has been in Athens permanently as our director of the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards. So, now everything feels like a cakewalk compared to visiting each other every other weekend for those first nine years.

TP: How do you feel like you're bringing change to campus and making it more accessible for LGBTQIA+ people, and really just anybody in general who might feel like they aren't always represented on this campus?

Lewis: I'd say that every generation of LGBTQ people makes way for the next, and I'm grateful that many generations of LGBTQ Bobcats before us have built community over the years. I do some of my part today as an adviser for the oSTEM student group on campus, which has been a great way to support LGBTQ STEM majors and allies.

McCarey: Well, I suppose on the surface, there's the benefit of LGBTQ visibility. It really matters in an area like Southeast Ohio where some folks wonder if there is much of a vibrant and diverse LGBTQ community there. For us to be out professionals who work with lots of university and community members gives us that opportunity to share that people can build happy, fulfilling lives.

AUTHOR: Jackson McCoy

EDITOR: Alyssa Cruz

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges