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A special story by a #RedbirdFamily. Celebrate own legacy at exclusive brunch

daughter and mother in Homecoming shirts

Katharine '17 (left) and Susan Woollen, M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ’15, (right) are one of many Redbird legacy families that share a connection to Illinois State.

Redbird legacies are current Illinois State students who are sons, daughters, siblings, or grandchildren of Illinois State alumni. Benefits of being a Redbird legacy family include scholarship opportunities for current students and a special brunch during Family Weekend to honor the family’s generational support. Most importantly, Redbird legacy families share a special bond with each other and the University because of the memories made on this campus. In fact, Illinois State’s Homecoming celebration has strengthened the bond between a mother and daughter and helped create a Redbird legacy.

Katharine Woollen ’17 attended Homecomings in the past with her mother Susan Woollen, M.S. ’06, Ph.D. ’15, director of undergraduate studies and enrollment management in the Department of Criminal Justice Sciences. Together they have joined the University in celebrating Homecoming by decorating parade floats together.

After visiting the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and meeting with former department Chair Fred Smith during her junior year of high school, Katharine was so sure she wanted to attend Illinois State that she did not apply to any other universities.

One reason for her decision was the positive impact Illinois State has had on her mother’s life. “Since my mother attended Illinois State, I knew that the university offered quality programs and had excellent faculty,” Katharine said. “I took those into consideration, and my decision to attend ISU was based on the quality of the anthropology program and the attention that faculty gave to students.”

Upon admittance, she pursued her bachelor’s degree in anthropology. During her undergraduate career, Katharine was a part of the Honors Program and studied abroad in Canterbury, England. She conducted research on remains from Schroeder Mounds that will result in a publication and graduated with honors this past May.

Susan, an educational administration and foundations graduate, was excited and relieved to hear her daughter was accepted to Illinois State. “I was very proud of Katharine because I knew that ISU would be a good fit for her,” she said.

Susan was also hopeful that her daughter’s educational experience at Illinois State would be as profound as her own. She credits her professors’ teaching of engaging with the world for becoming a more thoughtful and critical student and citizen. “Katharine shares what she learns in the classroom with me, and I’ve learned so much from her. She is a more concerned and informed citizen and a promising young scholar as a result of her ISU education,” Susan said.

Katharine is now a graduate student at Illinois State pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology.

Redbird families have been celebrating the legacy of Illinois State University for over a century by building memories and sharing connections that will last a lifetime. As the University continues to grow in the future, the legacy will live on in future Redbirds. Homecoming 2017 will celebrate legacies like Susan and Katharine this year. Illinois State will also honor these Redbird legacies at Family Weekend 2017 with a special brunch.

Redbird Legacy Brunch

Illinois State wants to recognize all legacy families for their continued generational support with a special brunch over Family Weekend 2017. The brunch will spotlight Redbird families and help legacies stay connected to the University. The event will include brunch, a program featuring Vice President Levester “LJ” Johnson, and a legacy pinning ceremony exclusive for current families.

When: 9–11 a.m. Sunday, November 5
Where: Brown Ballroom, Bone Student Center

Cost is $10 per person. Register by October 30 online or by calling Alumni Relations at (309) 438-2586.

Current students will have the opportunity to purchase a specially designed legacy stole during the event to wear during commencement. Those that cannot attend may purchase the stole anytime during the year through Alumni Relations.

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