Numerous legacy families watched their next generation graduate from Whitman College last Sunday at Commencement. The newly minted alumni followed a long line of kinship tradition. Whether sending generations or siblings to Whitman, legacy families value the college’s ability to impart critical thinking and leadership skills through a balanced liberal arts and sciences education.
"We're proud that our alums encourage their relatives to come to this distinguished place of learning,” President Kathleen Murray said at the school's 131st rite of passage. "At Whitman, we often talk about the connections between the past and present of the college—often in terms of intergenerational connections."
John Bogley '85, vice president for development and alumni relations—and father of Kathryn Bogley '15 and James Bogley '20—put it this way in an email: "Each year, Whitman welcomes new students who come from families who have had one or more people enroll here in the past. These students forge their own way through the academic rigors and experiences of a Whitman education, but do so with knowledge of what a Whitman education meant to their family."
Legacy graduates and their relatives expressed similar opinions during Commencement week. Edited excerpts follow.
"I think we both benefitted from getting to know one another's communities. We've always been close, but it was rewarding to get to know each other 'as adults' away from home. I studied abroad his first semester, so he had the chance to settle in, and it was a joy to have him around when I returned to campus."
—Sabra Jaffe '15, older sister of Asher Jaffe '17
"Having her around was so helpful in case I needed to talk about family issues or anything like that. We are good friends but not the same people, so she was involved in different clubs and activities at Whitman. This way, we weren't spending too much time together and we could still see what each other had been working on."
—Asher Jaffe '17, economics major from Canyon, California
"One might say I started the Smith family connection to Whitman. It is 60 years since I met most of my college friends, and I still see them frequently and travel with them internationally. I'm sure that Mitchell will enjoy a similar cadre of Whitman friends throughout his life. Just last year, after completing a semester abroad in Copenhagen, Mitch traveled throughout Europe with buddies from Whitman. I hope and expect that Nathan will also enjoy similar experiences as he goes through Whitman and life."
—Patrick Smith '61, grandfather of Mitchell Smith '17, politics major from Seattle, and Nathan Smith '20
"I feel lucky to have had someone's advice every step of the way and to have a piece of home here with me for two years."
—Keelan Booth '17, art and film and media studies double major from Portland, Oregon, and younger sister of Aislyn Booth '15
"Last time my dad and grandpa visited, they made a trek out to the cemetery to find the few Goses he knew to be buried out there and even cleaned up their headstones a bit. For the past several summers, my grandpa and I have been populating ancestry.com with a Gose family history. This has taught me a lot about our family’s history in the Walla Walla area."
—Maggie Gose '17, a biology major from Bellevue, Washington. She and her twin sister, Chloe Gose '17, a sociology major, are the great great-granddaughters of Christopher Columbus Gose, a member of Whitman’s first-ever graduating class in 1886. Their grandfather, Jerry Gose '50, attended their Commencement.
"It has been so fun having my younger sister, Jaclyn, here at Whitman, too. In my earlier years at Whitman, she would visit and stay with me in Anderson and Prentiss. I didn't think she was serious about coming to Whitman until she applied early decision. I was so happy when she called me with the good news that she’d been accepted. For Christmas that year, I shopped around Walla Walla and the bookstore to give her a care package of things I thought she'd need the next year at Whitman. This year, we've shared the memories of being members of Alpha Phi, cooking dinner together and walking around town on weekend afternoons. I'm sad to leave Whitman, but I’m glad Jaclyn has three more years and I have another excuse to visit."
—Lindsay Hodgson '17, sociology major from Seattle and older sister to Jaclyn Hodgson '20