Samantha Hershey will become a third-generation Laurier graduate when she earns her Bachelor of Arts degree June 15.
She joins her grandfather Sidney (BA ’91), grandmother Ruth Eleanor (BA ’75), father Brian (BA ’87), aunt Beverly (BA ’74) and uncle Stephen (BA ’71).
Growing up hearing fond memories of Laurier, Samantha remembers joking with her dad about attending the university; she used to tell him, “If you keep bugging me, I won’t apply!”
With cousins and half-brothers who attended other universities, Samantha didn’t feel pressure to come to Laurier four years ago. Instead, it was a tour of Laurier’s Waterloo campus that touched her.
“We were walking through the Fred Nichols Campus Centre and I learned about the tradition of walking around the Hawk emblem and how important that was to the students,” says Samantha. “It felt like the community had spirit, values and passion, and that we had tradition and things that mattered.”
Tradition is something that underpins Samantha’s entire university experience. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in philosophy, she says there were many moments where she felt the presence of her family. “I have definitely thought a lot about my family while walking through this campus,” says Samantha.
Her grandfather spent over 30 years completing his degree at Laurier, which was then called Waterloo College. When Samantha took courses at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, she recalled that her grandfather also took classes there in the 1960s.
While volunteering with the Laurier Off-Campus University Students (LOCUS) program in MacDonald House, she thought about the significant amount of time her father spent in those hallways as a resident in the 1980s.
But one particular connection held a special meaning for Samantha.
“In my first week at Laurier I had a class with Dr. Morgenson,” says Samantha about her first-year psychology course. “I made sure to introduce myself to him and right away he made the connection that he had taught my dad and my grandfather. Dr. Morgenson made such a huge impression on my grandfather in the 1960s, so it was remarkable that I also had a chance to be taught by him.”
Despite the family history behind Samantha’s degree, she made sure to carve out her own experience. She will be the first philosophy graduate in her family and has made lasting bonds through her work with LOCUS.
“There are so many ways to get engaged in the school through extra-curricular activities and social support,” says Samantha. “LOCUS made a huge difference for me to make a connection to campus as an off-campus student. My favourite memory at Laurier is my time volunteering with LOCUS and the strong friendships I’ve made there.”
Samantha will pursue a Master of Arts in Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in the fall. She hopes to complete a PhD and eventually become a bioethicist.
“When I chose to come to Laurier, I was really happy to join in the family tradition,” says Samantha. “I know on my graduation day, I’ll be thinking about my grandparents and everyone who came before me.”
Samantha will graduate on June 15 at 2 p.m. at the Athletic Complex on Laurier’s Waterloo campus – her family will be there to cheer her on.
The Hershey family is one of many families who have attended Laurier throughout generations. Share your story with #LaurierLove.
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