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Around the Columns

True sons and daughters

Alex Rorie

Alex Rorie, a freshman majoring in business, is a sixth-generation Mizzou student. His family is part of the True Sons and Daughters program. Rorie’s grandparents, Elizabeth Goodson Roth, Arts ’65, and Harrison Timothy Roth, BS Ag ’65, MS ’66, became engaged in Memorial Union near where this photo was taken. Photo by Rachel Coward

Back in 1876, when Ella Dimmit graduated from MU, there’s no way she could have known that she would have a great, great, great grandson who would be walking the same hallowed halls in 2012. Alex Rorie represents the sixth successive generation of his family to attend MU. His lineage has become the face of the Mizzou Alumni Association’s new True Sons and Daughters program. The initiative, launched in 2011, recognizes families with multiple generations of Mizzou alumni, says Stephanie Heffernan, who coordinates the program.

There’s much more to Rorie’s Mizzou ancestry. According to the family lore, Dimmit, BS 1876, met Louis Hoffman, BS 1876, at Mizzou and later married. Their daughter Luella, BA ’1904, married physician William Goodson, BA 1903, MA ’05, MD ’06, whose track letter sweater and lifetime pass to MU athletic events are still in the family. Their son William, BA ’30, a Harvard-trained physician, sired yet another William, BA ’67, and also a daughter named Elizabeth Goodson Roth, Arts ’65, who is the keeper of the family’s Mizzou legacy. For instance, in her Kansas City, Mo., home, she hangs the University of Missouri diplomas of Dimmitt and Hoffman. 

While a student at MU, Elizabeth became engaged to Harrison Timothy Roth, BS Ag ’65, MS ’66, who majored in dairy science and worked at Buck’s Ice Cream Place. Elizabeth and Tim were engaged on campus. Their three children include Harrison Timothy Roth Jr., BS Ag ’91; and Karen Ridder, BA ’96, BJ ’96. The third child, Christine, married Alex’s father, Brian, BS Acc ’84, which brings the story back to the Mizzou freshman majoring in business.

Alex has absorbed the family themes of academics and romance. “Mizzou is just a presence in my family,” he says. Alex likes to tell the story of his great, great, great grandparents, who were engaged at Hinkson Creek. “I always wondered which part,” he says. “My girlfriend and I hang out at the creek near Rock Quarry Road and skip rocks.”

Alex’s father, Brian, is no less a Mizzou devotee, but he arrived at the feeling in a different way. He was a first-generation college student who attended MU on a Curators’ Scholarship. “It was so easy to come here, but I had no emotional attachment,” says the Kansas City, Kan., resident. “Back then, I saw it as a path to a career. When I got married, we always came back to campus for a football game or two. But during the past few years, with kids coming to college age, I started thinking of Mizzou as more than just the school I wanted to root for on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I’ve had a great time reconnecting with campus.”

Heffernan invites other legacy families to reconnect as well. The first Legacy Brunch for incoming legacy students and parents, held on Family Weekend Sept. 18, 2011, had 225 attendees. “The event included a ceremony in which parents and children exchanged Legacy lapel pins. It was a special moment,” she says. “There were tears.” 

(The 2012 Legacy Brunch takes place Sept. 16 in the Reynolds Alumni Center.)

When parents and their children share an alma mater, it creates a special relationship, says Ashley Moore, assistant director of alumni relations. In fall 2011, the association started formally recognizing this bond by giving 50 Legacy scholarships of $1,000. In fall 2012, there will be 65 recipients. To be eligible, students must be accepted to MU; score 26 or higher on the ACT, or be in the top 20 percent of their high school class; and write an essay. Recipients are chosen based  on the above criteria as well as on their activities.