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Two Sides to the Story

Deciding on a college is a fulfilling next step for many high schoolers, but for twins, the process can be-come a family affair full of conversations about whether they should attend the same school. For Ian Rathburn ’22 and his twin brother, Drew, their strong family connection to St. Norbert College also became part of that experience.

The Rathburn family tree has a lot of green-and-gold branches: The twins’ father, Kerry Rathburn ’87, and his twin brother, Kevin Rathburn ’87, as well as Drew’s and Ian’s grandfather Richard Bracker ’59 each graduated from St. Norbert College.

Ian and Drew didn’t rule out going to the same college, but the choice to separate came fairly naturally. They were drawn to similar options, but Ian followed Kerry’s footsteps and decided on the accounting program at St. Norbert while Drew chose to attend the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

“The fact that my dad and uncle graduated [from] SNC got me to look at St. Norbert,” says Ian.

Twins Kevin and Kerry had a similar experience 30 years earlier. Their parents asked them to think about college separately, so the twins kept a confidential top-five list and didn’t discuss specifics until they were ready.

“Ironically, the one school that was the same for both of us out of the five was SNC,” says Kerry.

Kerry majored in accounting while Kevin double-majored in political science and economics. After college, Kerry took over the family business and is now president of Star Electric Service in Green Bay. Kevin is a municipal judge for the Village of Suamico (Wis.), teaches criminal justice at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and develops training programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Kerry and Kevin enjoyed being at St. Norbert together, explaining that they interacted with so many new people because of each other.

“I think people knew us as different people who happened to share a birthday,” Kevin says.

All in the family
St. Norbert’s office of alumni and parent relations takes great pride in honoring legacy families – those with multiple generations of SNC graduates. Included in alumni events throughout the year, legacy families are also recognized at the Legacy Family Brunch during Family Weekend in September and at a reception in Michels Commons during Commencement weekend in May.

Todd Danen ’77, director of Alumni & Parent Relations, says visiting with these families can be a spiritual, emotional and rewarding experience.

“Legacy families create traditions, passing down memories of their college experiences,” he says. “They serve as invested ambassadors for St. Norbert College, promoting their alma mater through individual and collective stories.”

Danen says there are dozens of recorded three-generation SNC families – grandparents, parents and children. He’s yet to discover a four-generation family but is confident the college will see one in the next several years.

March 17, 2019