Mentioning More Big Penn Families
- by Matthew Brodsky
We expected someone to respond to our call to action, and readers didn’t disappoint. Last month, we presented the Cohen family, whose rare accomplishment is to have three children as undergrads at Penn simultaneously. We wondered whether they were the “biggest Penn family on campus,” and it turns out that historically a number of other families give them a run for their money, according to the reader comments we received on that first blog.
Katie B. posted to our blog:
“My dad is class of ’56. My two sisters were on campus at the same time for a couple years (one grad, one undergrad), and then my first three years (class of ’90) were my sister’s last three years of her Ph.D. program.”
It turns out that Katie B.—aka, Katie Berryhill, C’90—has a family legacy that begins at her father, Arthur Blum, C’56, who came to Penn from New York’s Stuyvesant High School.
“My sisters and I all ended up at Penn for some part of our college experience. My oldest sister earned her Ph.D. in philosophy (and met her husband in the same program) [Sherry Ruth Blum, GR’91, and Donald E. Becker, GR’89],” Berryhill told us when we got in touch with her for further details.
Alicia M. commented on our biggest Penn family blog:
“My husband and I met as students at Penn … I followed my brother who graduated a few years before I arrived on campus. But my husband shared the campus with his sister while we were all there. My son is now a sophomore, and both cousin and sister are applying soon! The Kelley-McConnell connection goes on and on!”
Alicia McConnell, C’87, traces her connection back to eighth grade when she visited her brother and “fell in love with Penn,” she later explained.
“Back then, I said to my parents, ‘If this is what college is like I want to go here,’ and I worked my tush off in high school for that singular goal,” she told me.
Her husband, Kevin McConnell, C’88, W’88, had a singular pursuit of Penn too. He only applied there, and “showed up with a guitar and suitcase” when he matriculated. His sister followed him there to Wharton the same year Kevin decided to do the dual degree.
“So I guess you can say the younger sisters were drawn to the school in part by the “older brother,” Alicia McConnell said.
The McConnells tried not to influence their son either way. But Aidan came to campus of his own accord during a summer school program for high school students.
“He came back from that experience feeling like it was ‘home,’” his mother recalled. He currently is a sophomore in the College but is taking biology and accounting. “He’s all over campus, and he’s loving it!”
Our last comments come from “Golub Family”:
“My twin and I are both seniors in the College, and our younger sister is currently a freshman. We are the Golub family, and we want an article too!”
Indeed, Phillip (who wrote the comment) and twin sister Alexandra are enjoying their last year as undergrads, hopefully watching out for young freshman Jill—all following in the footsteps of their mother, Cindy Rabin Golub, W’76.
While giving a shoutout to his family, Phillip also directed me to look up the Spelmans—triplets and College seniors Andrew, David and Will.
“It just so happens that their father [Edmund Spelman III, C’79, GED’79] was also one of three siblings to go here simultaneously back in the day [Lee Spelman Doty, W’76, and Lisa Molisani, C’77, being the other two],” Phillip wrote. The Spelman legacy is all the more impressive considering that Doty is Penn Alumni President.
Now … can any Penn family top the Spelmans, Golubs, McConnells and the Blum/Berryhills? Four family members on campus at one time would surely take it.