There was never a doubt in the Caffey brothers’ minds. After high school, they would go to college.
Their parents Tom and Vernetta Caffey said, “Education is the perfect vehicle for achieving goals.”
Rodney ’92, the oldest of the brothers and first to enroll at Illinois State, chose the University because of its academic offerings and proximity to the family’s home in Alton. “Illinois State was a great learning ground for me academically and professionally,” said Rodney, who studied public relations before completing a law degree.
He is the founder and managing partner at the Caffey Law Firm in Godfrey and serves as Alton’s city attorney. His wife, Desira (Thomas) Caffey ’94, and stepdaughter, Jasmine Thomas-Davis ’16, are both alums.
Brandon ’96, ’00, M.S. ’02, Ed.D. ’19, completed undergraduate degrees in sociology and history teacher education. His graduate work was in educational administration and foundations in the College of Education, which he credits with providing a framework to be a “culturally responsive educator.” He is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Urbana School District 116. His wife, Shomari (Wilson) Caffey ’99, is also an alum.
Greg ’99, the youngest, earned a degree in finance with a concentration in financial services. He is the director of planning and development for the city of Alton.
“I’ve never been challenged like I was at Illinois State, and I’m thankful for the education that I received there,” Greg said. His daughter, Jada Caffey ’17, also followed in the family’s footsteps at Illinois State.
The brothers are investing in another generation of Redbirds by establishing The Caffey Family Memorial Scholarship in honor of their parents—both former educators—for Redbirds pursuing the field of education.
“I believe that our parents made a great financial investment in us by sending all three of us to Illinois State. Considering what they did for us, we want that to continue to help other students,” Rodney stated about the scholarship. Brandon added, “It was something that we wanted to do to make sure that our family always has a legacy on the campus of Illinois State.”