|Soon-to-be Wittenberg graduates (from left) Jon Kirkwood, Jon Stewart and Allison Myser on the Kissing Bridge overlooking Commencement Hollow.|
Growing up in Vincennes, Ind., Stewart considered Wittenberg a second home long before he was ever a college student. He recalls childhood memories of playing in Myers Hollow and running around Weaver Chapel during his many visits to the campus.
“I can remember trying to climb up into the steeple with my little sister, Rebekah, and getting scared as it got darker and darker,” he said. “We could never seem to remember to bring a flashlight.”
Stewart will become the sixth person in his family to graduate from the nationally ranked liberal arts institution, after his parents, his sisters, Elisabeth Stewart Robertson, class of 1996, and Melissa, class of 2002, and his brother, Christopher, class of 1999. Stewart’s younger sister, Rebekah, is also a student at Wittenberg and will graduate with the class of 2008.
“When I’m told stories of family experiences from Wittenberg, it’s like a friend is telling me something that happened to him yesterday,” Stewart said. “This place is still the same place as it was when my sister graduated 10 years ago as it was when my parents graduated 37 years ago.”
In a couple of months, Stewart, an economics and mathematics double major, will move to the east coast to work as a research associate for the New York Federal Reserve in New York City.
“The connections that I’ve made with my peers and my professors at Wittenberg are friendships that I know will last a lifetime,” Stewart said.
Growing up around the Wittenberg community was not only memorable for Stewart but also for Allison Myser, class of 2006 of Columbus, Ohio. Since the age of four, Myser remembers attending homecoming football games with her parents, Doug and Beth Sauer Myser, both class of 1977. Her family’s history of Wittenberg graduates dates back to her great-grandmother, Dorothy Wallick, class of 1926. Since then, nearly a dozen of Myser’s family members have attended Wittenberg. When it came time to choosing a college, she found that Wittenberg was a perfect fit.
“I wanted to have a fun and challenging college experience. Wittenberg certainly provided me with exactly that,” said Myser, a mathematics major with a minor in education. “I’ve learned to be confident in my skills and proud of my accomplishments.”
|The Stewart family of Vincennes, Ind.: (back, from left) Alan '69, Zachary, Christopher '99, Jon '06 and Pamela '69; (front, from left) Rebekah '08, Melissa '02 and Elisabeth '96.|
Along with being a member of the rugby team, a popular Wittenberg club sport, Myser also shares a special connection with her grandmother, mother and aunt, all of whom were members of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Following in her family’s footsteps, Myser’s younger sister, Amy, is also a member of the same sorority and a varsity softball player who will graduate with the class of 2008.
Post-graduation, Myser intends to teach high school pre-calculus and algebra. While she is undecided on where she will teach, she has applied for positions in Baltimore, Md., Charlotte, N.C. and the Florida Keys. When Myser leaves Wittenberg, she will make her own mark just as each member of her family has.
“Each member of my family has taken a very different path after leaving Wittenberg, but all are extremely proud of their experience here,” she said. “I hope that someday I will be as excited to tell my children about my experiences here at Wittenberg as my family has been to share their experiences with me.”
Sharing a family member’s experience is also meaningful for Jon Kirkwood, class of 2006 of Groveport, Ohio. Kirkwood’s grandmother, Emilie Moore, was a graduate of the 1945 class. Attending the same university has been especially important to him because it has created a special bond with his grandmother, who serves as one of his role models.
“It really makes me feel proud that I know I have accomplished this special task and can share that with my grandma,” Kirkwood said. “ Wittenberg will always be held near and dear to both our hearts forever.”
Kirkwood was also inspired to attend Wittenberg because he wanted to be challenged academically as well as athletically. A four-year tight end for the Wittenberg football team, he said his college experience also taught him valuable skills he will use when he graduates and enters the management and development program at Stanley Steemer International in Dublin, Ohio.
“I feel I’ve found my place here,” said Kirkwood, a political science major with a minor in management. “ Wittenberg has molded me into a respectful, grateful and compassionate person.”
- Sarah Gearhart '06
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