By Rebecca Murray and Madeline Warburton
Sibling Duo Conquers Campus
By Rebecca Murray
Grove City College, an institution commonly known for its core values of faithfulness, excellence, community, stewardship, and independence has been around since 1876. Amid the country roads of Mercer County this Christian liberal arts college has become a safe haven for many. For Todd and Elizabeth McCaslin, both who graduated in 1990 Grove City College has become a second home for their family. It has been evident that many times when Grovers are posed with various questions pertaining to the school and as to why it is such a wonderful place they emphasize the community and Christian values which the school possesses.
While these are two key components that do indeed make the school unique, one may wonder why so many people choose to come here? Why do those with a connection to the school continue to send their children here?, and most importantly how does one find their experience at Grove City to become individualized in a way that is uniquely their own? The McCaslin family witnessed two children graduate, one in 2021 as well as 2022, and currently two children attend school at Grove City College, Matthew ’24 and Elizabeth ’26 are committed students who shared their amazing experiences at Grove thus far.
Matthew McCaslin is a senior molecular biology major here at Grove City College and shares his experience of committing to Grove City by saying, “Some part of me always knew I was going to come to college at Grove City, my parents went here, and I have two older siblings who both had good experiences it almost felt like I was supposed to come here. While there was some pressure about choosing to attend school here I am happy with the decision.”
Matthew felt at ease in his college career selection, however his younger sister Elizabeth did not feel such simplicity. She is a sophomore biology major who comments, “I wanted to do the opposite of my family and did not want to follow in their footsteps. I was teased at home for going to Grove City, so it was not a simple decision. However now that I have been at school here I am very happy with my decision”. Both siblings agreed that their parents encouraged them to attend school here and highlighted the positive aspects of the school while also allowing their children to make their own judgments. They experienced biases from their older siblings, but ultimately as Elizabeth stated, “It is the same college, however we each are given different experiences. The school changes over time, and no one person is going to get the same exact experience as another person at this school, even if you are siblings”.
When asked about activities and campus involvement compared with their parents as well as their siblings Matthew states, “I love being able to share experiences with my siblings, and it helps that we are so close. However, not everything I have become involved in is the same as my family. For instance, my brother and I both chose to join Greek life and pledge to a fraternity, but this was not something that our dad did. Grove City is not just my parent’s college, but my college.”
Having family ties seems to provide a level of familiarity and comfort to one’s college experience, while also allowing room for personal growth. Elizabeth notes, “I followed a similar path to my family because I joined the same sorority my mom was in, and I participate in the school’s worship team which my sister was involved in. I also spend my time doing prelaw club as well as crown and scepter which are two organizations that my family had no connection with.” Going to college with your siblings, and or having the experience of attending the same college as one or more parents provides a level of connection.
College years are a period of life which is so developmental and formative to who someone becomes. When thinking in relation to Grove City, this connection as a legacy is even deeper because everything is foundationally rooted in Christ. When someone is able to get everything they need ultimately from God, the relationships which you are able to build and the commonalities of support that you can find are enhanced so much. Having the ability to connect with your parents about college life is so special, and it is something that many people find at Grove City College, Matthew puts it simply saying, “This is a very rare thing got other families to experience, but once you do it’s just the best.”
Many families even find the unique quirks that only exist within this small bubble to be of such great importance, such as ‘no walking on the sidewalks’, The ‘Gee’, Willy the Wolverine, ‘Siberia’, President McNulty, and so much more! Elizabeth laughs when asked how to describe these bonding quirks, she was at a loss for words only saying, “That is so a Grove City thing!”
When asked about their personal growth and development thus far at school Matthew and Elizabeth both talked highly of their own faith journey. Matthew spoke about making his faith his own stating, “Nobody is making me go to church each week, I am now making the choice to do so. I have best friends, and at this school I have had the opportunity to talk deeply with them”. Grove City is only an hour away from home for the McCaslin family, but both children still have been able to feel a sense of independence. Elizabeth comments similarly to her brother saying, “Following the Lord has now become my choice as an individual, with the support of my family, but no direct ties”.
Whether someone is an alumnus, current student, prospective student, parent, or just an onlooker of Grove City College it is clear that foundational development and memories are made at this school. The connections and bonds continue after attending school here because they are so deep, and after having such a magnificent experience parents cannot help but hope that their children want to attend their alma mater as well.
Grove Sweet Home
By Madeline Warburton
What is it about Grove City College (GCC) that attracts generation after generation of families to attend? We wanted to get to the heart of this, so we turned it over to students who have parents and/or siblings that have attended GCC.
Maura Donatelli is a senior computer science major. Her parents graduated in the ‘80s from GCC and her brother and sister-in-law recently came here.
“I have been coming here since I was seven months old. My parents took me every year to homecoming. I grew up here.” She grew up hearing the stories of her parents’ college experiences. Maura heard how they met and got engaged; their Greek life experience, and how great the professors were. Even though she heard the highlights of GCC, she never felt pressured to attend.
Her older brother consistently encouraged Maura to come since he had such a great experience. She knew the merits of the college, but still applied to other schools. The deciding factor was a variety of things.
“At the end of the day, it was how close it was to home and how comfortable I was with the college. I grew up coming here, it’s all I’ve known.”
The sense of home and familiarity were deciding factors for Maura to come to GCC.
“I regretted my choice at first. Academics got really hard. But as I started to make closer friendships and have more experiences and get more comfortable and better at what I was doing, that helped me a lot. I’m glad I decided not to go anywhere else. I could not see myself anywhere else except here.”
Even though Maura is studying computer science like her mom and is a sweetheart of the Sigma Alpha Sigma Fraternity, she has made her own memories with being a part of Theta Alpha Pi sorority and being the homecoming float chair this year.
“It always comes back to homecoming. I have a nostalgic feeling every time homecoming hits because that is when I always came.”
It does not matter whether one’s siblings or parents come to Grove City College, it makes an impact on their family members and welcomes them warmly into the GCC community.
Caleb Heiser is a senior finance and supply chain management double major with a minor in Biblical and religious studies. His older brother Karl came to GCC and Caleb would spend weekends with him on campus and get to see what GCC life is like.
“I was used to a smaller school and campus. Coming in as a freshman, it was nice to have my brother here even though I did not need the help, it was nice to have the support if I needed it.”
Caleb grew up in a Christian household and his family first heard about Grove City College through church connections. Karl was intrigued by the school and decided to come here. GCC was already on Caleb’s radar when he was looking at schools. He looked at another school, but only applied to GCC, knowing this was the place for him. He appreciated that Grove City College is a small, Christian college.
Caleb’s experiences overlapped a bit with his brother by joining the baseball team and the Okie fraternity, but that did not faze him since there were so many other clubs to join. He was able to curate his own college experiences and have his own social group.
“Grove City lends itself in so many ways for you to grow. Socially, there are so many people to connect with, but also the spiritual outlets have provided me with so much. The freshman Bible studies and plugging into a church were the first things I did when I got here.”
He is also a tour guide and student ambassador and part of Crimson and White society. His younger brother, Owen, now comes to Grove City College and Caleb aspires to extend the same support Karl gave to him.
GCC is not just a college, but a family that has fostered tight knit relationships amongst family members and inspired them to keep coming back, sibling after sibling, generation after generation.