The Goodwin family ties are made stronger by the fact 17 relatives share an Illinois State experience.

Recreation management graduate Dan Goodwin ’07 is part of the second generation to attend the University. Now a graduate student in Kinesiology and Recreation, Dan is continuing an ISU tradition that started with his late father, Tom Goodwin ’75.

Tom met his wife, Anne (Kitchen) ’77, working at a Burger King on Main Street. They had their first official date at a John Denver concert in Horton Field House in the 1970s. They continued to see each other, taking in Redbird basketball games at Horton. As their love blossomed, neither one could have predicted the Illinois State legacy their family would create.

Tom’s brothers followed in his footsteps. Jim Goodwin ’82 and Mark Goodwin ’84 both met their wives at Illinois State as well. Jim and Lauri (Meents) ’82 reside in Woodridge, while Mark and Jana (Mayberry) ’84 are now in Danville.

Anne’s siblings, Art and Kathy Kitchen, also attended, as did the children of Anne and Tom. Beyond Dan, two other sons enrolled. Matt Goodwin ’01, M.S. ’03, is now living in New Hampshire. Bryan Goodwin ’04, M.S. ’07, is living in Plainfield with his wife, Melissa (Wons) ’05. They also met at ISU. Melissa’s younger brother is now enrolled. John Wons is completing a degree in journalism. Patrick Goodwin, the son of Mark and Jana, is also a current student.

“When you grow up and hear so much about Illinois State, you know it’s where you want to go,” said Dan, who has yet another cousin graduate. Darren McEvilly finished a marketing degree in 2007 and now resides in Channahon. Dan’s mother has remarried and her current husband, Cliff Kinate, is a 1966 alum. They reside in Danville.

“My family and friends always encouraged us to go to Illinois State. We found out for ourselves how great it was,” Dan said, noting that the Illinois State bond made it easy for every new family member to adjust to campus.

“If I had a question about a class, where to live, or even a student organization, the answer was there,” Dan said. “This made the transition very easy. I knew what to expect here.”

The helping hand was appreciated regardless of the major a given family member chose. The most common degrees earned by the extended family include accounting, political science, communication, and recreation administration.

The family’s unique and rich ISU heritage is made even more special by the fact many have strong ties to Campus Recreation. Bryan, Matt, and Melissa all worked there, as do Dan and Patrick currently.

By sharing an alma mater, family members find they often compare memories of the campus and community. Both have changed markedly during the span of years the Goodwins have attended. “As a growing community, it was something that gave a good vibe. It was something to embrace and feel a part of,” Dan said. “We had different experiences, but we went to the same University.”

One vivid memory for all is the time spent hanging out in Bone Student Center, as well as the library. “My family is very educationally driven. We’re hard workers. We all have a special place in our heart for Milner Library.”

Dan believes the significant connection to Illinois State has allowed his family to grow closer. “We always support Illinois State. It’s been such a great place for all of us. We all turned out well because of the education and opportunities we’ve been given at Illinois State,” he said. “We liked it so much that we continued our education here. That’s a testament to the school.”

Dan is hopeful that even more family members will attend the University in the future.

“I hope to be able to share Illinois State with my kids, nieces, and nephews as well. It would be nice to build that family tree even more,” Dan said. “The foundation started here. Illinois State is very unique to us. It connects us all together.”