When a family has three children in college at once, getting everyone together can be an absolute headache—unless you are a legacy family like the McAvoys. For Ted ’64 and Marilyn, visiting Michelle ’87, Scott ’89, and Jeffrey ’90 just took one short trip from their hometown of Geneseo to campus.
“When we would go there, we just had fun,” Ted said.
The youngest McAvoy, Jon ’95, said going to football games was the highlight of his trips to Illinois State. In grade school he was shocked by how big the players were. He grew up to become one of those giants when he came to the University to play offensive guard.
The McAvoy Redbird tree continued to grow through marriage. Michelle married fellow Redbird Kyle Ganson ’89, with Jeffrey finding Holly (Shoecraft) ’90. Jon’s wife, Carlyn (Fisk), also attended Illinois State for her teacher certification in 1997.
“The honor of being a legacy family is very important to me. Because of our experiences, our ties to the University continue,” Ted said. His student memories include seeing President Robert Bone and his wife, Karyn, holding hands and walking the Quad. As a small-town native, he liked the sense of community he found at a university where he felt everyone knew each other’s name.
“If there were 6,000 people on campus, I probably knew half of them,” Ted said.
He graduated with a degree in industrial technology. He taught machine shop, welding, drafting, electricity and mechanics before becoming principal at his alma mater, Geneseo High School. He and his family run a farm, which was settled by ancestors in 1861.
Michelle and Jeffrey are both teachers in Geneseo. Scott works for a mortgage business, where he rehabilitates property. Jon is a management engineer at John Deere. For Ted, seeing the impact the University has had on his family is something special.
“Parents like to think they did a few things right. Coming out of Illinois State and them wanting to go back to Illinois State was a good fuzzy for me,” Ted said.