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Katherine Williams arrived this fall as a freshman elementary education major already feeling at home. With generations of Redbirds on both sides of her family, she easily transitioned to campus.

Katherine became familiar with ISU as a child. Her grandfather, David Williams, is emeritus professor of music and arts technology. A former vice president for information technology, he established the arts technology program. He and his wife, Kay, reside in Bloomington.

They had two sons, Owen and Brian. Owen ’99 completed an English degree and works at ISU as a campus network engineer. His brother, Brian ’91, is Katherine’s father.

Brian studied computer graphics and photography. Now a graphic artist for the Quad-City Times, he resides in Moline with his wife and Katherine’s mother, Lisa (Powell) Williams. The Redbird legacy goes back four generations on Lisa’s side of the family, beginning with her parents.

Katherine’s grandparents both attended ISU. Linda (Pease) Powell ’63 majored in elementary and special education. She met her husband, Lanny ’64, M.S. ’66, at Walker Hall in 1961. He also studied education and chose geography for his graduate degree. Both taught and are now retired, residing in East Moline.

A great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother to Katherine were also graduates. Linda’s mother, Henrietta (Rapp) Pease completed a teaching certificate in 1938 and returned to finish a bachelor’s and master’s in 1960 and 1964 respectively. All her studies were in education. Henrietta’s mother, Clara Pearl (Ayers) Rapp, was a student of teacher education as well, attending in the early 1900s. She and Henrietta are deceased.

“ISU has constantly been a part of my life,” Katherine said. “It means quite a bit to be carrying on this family legacy at ISU, especially within the field of elementary education. I hope I can become as much of a caring, loving, devoted and phenomenal teacher as my grandmother has been.”