News - A Five-Generation GU Family

A Five-Generation GU Family

by Rachel Heston-Davis A Five-Generation GU Family

Like many students, business management major Chris Myers ’23 goes to class, tackles homework, makes friends, and enjoys activities across campus.

But unlike most students, Chris walks in a GU tradition 93 years in the making.

For five generations, since 1926, members of Chris’ family have attended Greenville University. When he says, “I came to GU [based on] family recommendations and word-of-mouth,” he’s not kidding!

His grandmother Jackie Myers, who attended GU in midlife from 1989-91, realized the length of her family’s GU timeline when a dinner conversation sparked her curiosity. Chris informed a family friend he planned to enroll at GU, drawing the amazed response, “How many generations is that now?” 

Jackie started digging.

Grandpas and Grandmas and Aunts, Oh My!

It began with Chris’s great-great grandfather Ross Hendon, who took classes at GU (then GC) in 1926, likely to improve his management skills on the family farm. Around the same time, probably with some overlap, his daughters Martha and Willabelle attended also.

Willabelle completed her education at Missouri Baptist School of Nursing, but when it came time for her son Ross Myers to attend college, he chose his mother’s first college home. He graduated from GU in 1960 and enjoyed a long career in the healthcare industry and teaching high school STEM classes.

He also married Jackie.

She attended GU just as her own children began enrolling. Daughters Theresa and Elizabeth attended circa 1998 to 2004, and her son Christopher—father of current student Chris Myers ‘23—studied at GU in 1996 before entering a career in management.

That’s one great-great-grandfather, one great-grandmother, one great-great aunt, two grandparents, two aunts, a father, and now Chris, walking GU’s campus between 1926 and 2019. By the time Chris graduates, his family’s engagement with the University will span nearly a century.

Changing Times, Steadfast Mission

Chris grew up with stories about GU floating into family conversations, but grandmother Jackie—sandwiched between generations— has a longer view of the family history. She heard stories of campus culture in her mother-in-law’s day; women couldn’t wear slacks, jewelry, or makeup, and strict rules prevailed.

By the time Jackie entered the classroom, dress codes and other regulations had loosened, and campus culture continued to evolve. Now, she hears about student life from her grandson.

“Chris feels the college is more laid back and more open to discuss issues that are relevant to the young adults today,” she says, adding that the central and most important elements haven’t changed.

“The thing I valued most is the professors that care, reach out to you, offer help, mentor, and genuinely, authentically care about students,” she says. “Chris is currently experiencing that himself.”

“I like the fact that with fewer students in each class, we get one-on-one time [with professors] more than most other schools I have seen,” Chris agrees.

GU’s mission likewise remains steadfast: a Christ-centered Wesleyan education emphasizing character development and service.

“Education for character will be our motto,” said GU’s first president Wilson T. Hogue in 1892. “The Bible will have a place in all our courses of study.”

Generations of Chris’s family discovered the benefits of this mission, and now, Chris’s own journey is just beginning.

 

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Three New Awards to Honor Criminal Justice and Social Work Majors

Portrait of Persistence: Determined Alumna Graduates at Age 88

You help students of all backgrounds, whether fifth-generation college students or first, discover the transforming power of a Christ-centered education. Thank you for supporting scholarships.

This story was published on December 05, 2019




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