Family tree has deep roots at alma mater
ALUMNI | When Ken Boyle, EG78, discovered an old photograph of his grandmother, Marguerite West McCabe, taken around 1922 on the UD campus, an idea sparked in his mind: to gather Marguerite's descendants—all of them Blue Hens—and pay homage to her by snapping another photo in the same location.
And what better time to do it than during Alumni Weekend?
Of the 20 living members of the McCabe clan who are UD alumni or current students, a dozen gathered during the weekend festivities on June 2, in the same spot next to Harter Hall where their matriarch had posed nearly a century ago.
Marguerite attended teaching classes at the University one summer in the 1920s. Now her daughter, Pauline (Polly) McCabe Higgins, EH48, is the oldest living UD alumna of the McCabe family.
"I feel so proud to be the oldest graduate," she says. "We had such a good time [at Alumni Weekend]. I was so glad I was able to be there for the photo."
Boyle says that even though Main Street has changed significantly over the years, trading horse-drawn buggies for modern cars, there still remains a nostalgic feeling for him and his family.
"I had the idea of getting the family together at the exact same spot on Main Street," says Boyle, who joined the UD Alumni Association Board of Directors in July. "My mother enjoyed her time on Main Street in the '40s, and my grandmother attended UD in the '20s to get her teaching certification. It is a lot of fun to have this common thread in our family."
Lauren Simione, BE95, assistant director of alumni relations, says there is a strong tradition of children of alumni attending the University. "Each year, more than 1,000 admitted students in the incoming freshman class are legacy students," she says.
A notable branch of the McCabe family tree is that of the late Delaware Sen. Thurman Adams Jr., AG50, who married Marguerite's daughter, the late Hilda McCabe Adams, EH53, after the two met as UD students. Their daughter, Lynn Adams Kokjohn, BE78, says their alma mater remained a big part of her parents' lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren.
"UD was an obvious place for me to go to college, and it was a natural selection for two of my sons, Kyle and Brad," says Kokjohn, whose father's name now adorns the University's Thurman G. Adams Agriculture Research Farm in Georgetown, Del.
Melissa Boyle, EH07, Ken and Lynn's niece, says she was honored to be a part of her family's reunion photo.
"I feel so lucky to stand in the same spot that my great-grandmother did almost a century ago," she says. "I know she would be so proud to know that so many of us have graduated from the University of Delaware."
Article by Melissa G. Cox, AS05