By Kamryn Koble | Echo
Taylor University is a melting pot of students from all over the globe, but some grew up next door to campus.
Being a faculty or staff member's child can provide security, familiarity and a different perspective on the culture that makes up Upland and Taylor University.
Freshman Grace Dayton is the daughter of Chair of the English Department Nancy Dayton and Institutional Research Analyst Stephen Dayton. Growing up, she knew that Taylor was a practical choice for her future.
She fondly remembers seeing students engage in the activities like Silent Night and Airband, and she even participating in trick-or-treating throughout the dorms.
"Seeing some of my mother's students surrounding the fireplace and eating cheesecake at our house left me wanting the same myself," Grace Dayton said. "The passion my mother and other professors have excited me to attend Taylor and experience community while learning about subjects I was interested in."
She appreciates the hard work that her mother, father and grandfather poured into Taylor. Their passion for the university was instrumental in providing her with an opportunity to succeed.
"Taylor is my school, and I'm happy to share a college experience with my family close by," Dayton said.
Sophomore Rachel Knight is the daughter of T.R. Knight, the director of academic technology and the associate CIO. She grew up a mile away from campus in Upland.
She remembers coming to faculty and staff events, swimming in Taylor Lake, and even being studied by students in child psychology courses. But despite living so close, she did not truly understand campus life until she became a student, and hadn't attended Air Band or Silent Night until she was accepted.
"I knew the Taylor campus well, but I didn't know the Taylor culture," Rachel Knight said. "I came into buildings I knew, classrooms I knew, I knew where things were but I didn't know how people used those things, or how students interacted with staff versus community."
Knight's parents didn't pressure her and attending Taylor was her choice. She decided to attend after taking CRAM in the summer and experiencing a glimpse of student life. She also affirms that all faculty and staff children still must apply and aren't guaranteed admittance.
Knight appreciates her choice to live in the dorm rather than commute, as she values the full college experience it offers. Additionally, even though her father works on campus, she is able to maintain independence.
"People think because we grew up around here that we all had the same experience, but we don't," Knight said. "Sometimes you don't think about how different families are going to be impacted differently. My sister would have a very different response even."
Sophomore Bailey Spiegel is another student who has grown up engulfed in Taylor culture. His father, Jim Spiegel, works at Taylor as a professor of philosophy and religion.
He was born in Upland, moved to Fairmount, and then returned. He recalls having classes over to his home and playing Mafia with them. He also went to Air Band and Nostalgia Night every year.
Spiegel applied to other colleges at first, especially to schools that were within his father's concortion exchange, but he is glad he ended up here.
Spiegel applied to other colleges at first, especially to schools in consortium that would allow him to attend another university with a discount or without tuition fees.
"I wanted to move pretty far away and try something else, I like trying new things," Bailey Spiegel said. "Even though I am close to home, it's more separate than I thought."
Spiegel did have his father in class, and said that he often called him out or used examples of his childhood. He knew his way around campus better and knew some of the professors before he was a student.
Having staff and faculty's children on campus only enriches the culture of Taylor. Their circumstances are unique from those who came from far away to attend, but each experience and journey to the university tells of a different story.