Legacy Families Create New Bonds Through the GW Experience

legacy familyTwenty-five years ago, Amy Castro, CCAS BA ’88, moved onto GW’s campus for her freshman year, and she never imagined she’d find herself back in Foggy Bottom as both an alumna and a GW parent. Recently, her daughter, Kelsey Castro, CCAS ’15, moved into Madison Hall for her freshman year of college.

Watching her daughter embark on her on GW journey, the elder Ms. Castro says she feels only excitement and pride. “I’m not sad—I have such good memories of GW and being in DC… all I feel is excited for the tremendous opportunities available to her.”

Kelsey Castro is one of more than 100 Legacy students starting their GW career this fall. Legacy students are those with parents, grandparents and/or siblings that attended or currently attend the university.  For many, it’s about common interests; GW’s location and the opportunities the university affords as part of a global society. Attending GW as a family can not only enhance an already existing bond, but also provide a unique set of shared experiences and an irreplaceable connection.

It was the opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom that drew both mother and daughter to GW, 25 years apart. When Amy Castro was looking at colleges, GW was the last university she visited, but she knew instantly that there was no other environment for her. Years later, as her daughter’s college criteria emerged, she says, “it could have been my checklist from 25 years before.”

As a parent, Ms. Castro is excited about the cultural opportunities available to her daughter; she acknowledges Kelsey will have even more advantages today than she did as a GW student. “That pride [in GW] resurfaces when you spend time on campus, remembering what you loved about the place.”  The two are excited to build their GW experiences into not only a shared history, but a shared future: “Maybe this isn’t the continuation but the beginning of becoming a true legacy family.”

Jason Lifton, CCAS BA ’11, whose father Steven Lifton, GWSB BBA ’84, also attended GW, echoes these sentiments. A recent alumnus, Mr. Jason Lifton now works at the university while pursuing his MBA. Although drawn to GW for its location and educational opportunities, he came to realize that the unique GW connection he and his father share is something both cherish well beyond graduation day.

Delphine Keathley is thrilled to nurture a similar connection between her children, GW students Russell, CCAS ’13, and Audrey Keathley, CCAS ’15. GW’s Family Tuition Grant, which provides tuition for the younger siblings of families with more than one child at the university, is one of many reasons that families are drawn to GW.  It’s also an opportunity for siblings to grow together.

Russell recently helped his sister move in to her Mount Vernon campus dorm, choose courses, buy books and obtain her GWorld card.  According to Ms. Keathley, the two text regularly and have plans to introduce Audrey to DC by biking around the city together. For the Keathleys, the opportunity to attend GW as family is “something to look forward to with grandchildren in the future.”

Ms. Castro also takes a long-term view in her role as a GW alumna, parent and volunteer. For several years, she has participated in local college fairs, recruiting for GW. She’s excited to see how her daughter’s current insight will impact her conversations with prospective students.

“Now,” she says, “it won’t be ‘this is what it was like for me 25 years ago’ – I’ll be able to tell them what it’s really like, today – and what I imagine for the future.”

— Melissa Nyman, CCAS BA ’04

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