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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Saturday, June 22, 2024
The Echo

Taylor legacy spotlight: Sisson family

Mother and son reflect on journey to TU

Some students may be the first of their family to come to Taylor, while others may have had many come before them. However, Taylor has witnessed multiple generations of the Sisson family.

Carol Sisson is the newest associate professor in the History, Global Studies, and Political Science Department, the new head of the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Department as well as the Education Department. She teaches Intro to Orphans and Vulnerable Children and is one of four instructors for Foundations of Christian Thought.

Carol graduated from Taylor in 1988 with a degree in psychology. She then went on to receive a master of arts degree and Education Specialist degree both in school psychology from Ball State University and an EdD in educational psychology/special education from Regent University. 

Taylor’s impact carried throughout her academic and professional experience.

“It was wonderful,” Carol said. “I would say it was transformative. I think it’s where I really made my faith my own.” 

Carol was a teaching assistant for several classes, which would spark her interest in teaching. Her connections with faculty members encouraged her toward graduate school.

Carol’s family has experienced a long history at Taylor — from her father and his siblings to her aunts and uncles, as well as her cousins and even her husband, Rob, all having attended Taylor. And the legacy has continued with their children. In fact, one of Rob and Carol’s sons, Jared Sisson, is currently attending Taylor as a senior finance major. 

Jared was five years old when he and his family moved to Hartford City, and in 2007, Carol taught her first class as a part-time professor for a few years. She has been a full-time professor at Taylor for about 15 years. All of her children have been students at the university.

“I loved the purposeful development of students, academically and spiritually,” Carol said. “Residence life and leadership opportunities, ministry opportunities of students — so the whole person education.” 

After graduating from Taylor, Carol stayed to work in student development for a few years before she and her family moved to North Carolina.

Carol saw that her faith was well-aligned with Taylor’s mission, and she feels honored to be a part of that mission.

Jared is said to be the 26th member of Carol’s family to go to Taylor. Having grown up in a nearby town, he has experienced the Taylor community through his family for most of his life.

“I was on campus a lot growing up with siblings and doing different events like Silent Night or Airband before I knew people,” Jared said.

Jared also had the opportunity to go on a couple of J-term trips with students, including his siblings. To them, he was usually known as one of their fellow students’ younger siblings or Carol’s son.

Jared describes his transition to Taylor as a student to have felt different, especially now that he is a part of the campus’s events rather than simply attending them. Even after they have graduated, his siblings have continued to visit Taylor from time to time.

“They come back to the house,” Jared said. “They usually like to see what’s going on with Taylor, but a lot of their friends are gone by now. So they like to come for Homecoming or just times that they can come home and then do more looking around, maybe meeting some professors that they were here that had an impact on them or go to Airband, or anything like that.”

Some of the Taylor families that Carol and Jared wish to acknowledge for having an impact on their time at Taylor include the Trudeaus, the Meadors, the Seemans, the Collins and the Bruners.

Throughout the history of the Sissons, they have seen how much Taylor has changed — and stayed the same.

Jared says that his relatives occasionally visit Taylor, and although they mourn for what the campus has lost, the community has never lost its values, and is continuously upholding these values for the better.

“That’s a big conversation point,” Carol said. “It’s fun to walk into certain buildings and see that they’re very much the same. So, when you walk into the chapel, it feels very similar. When you walk out of the chapel, it’s very different. So, yeah, they (my family) enjoyed the change. They always lament when things are gone, even if they’re not the best things. But there’s excitement at the campus, and I think they notice how beautiful and special the campus is once they’ve stepped away for a while.”