Coming Home Again


My parents went to a college that was a lot like Transylvania. A small, private, liberal arts college affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination.

Only my parents’ alma mater — Phillips University in Enid, Oklahoma — no longer exists as a university. After facing financial struggles, Phillips closed, but chose to form a unique scholarship and leadership program with its remaining assets.

My brother and I, along with two other Transylvania students, received scholarships from that Phillips University Legacy Foundation, and got to attend a leadership conference held by the organization in November. It was really fun, we learned a lot, and if you’re a DOC student who ends up attending Transy or any other DOC-affiliated school, you should apply here!

Transylvania's PULF Scholars: Elijah, me, Hannah, and my brother Daniel (from L to R)

Transylvania’s PULF Scholars: Elijah, me, Hannah, and my brother Daniel (from L to R)

Since Daniel and I learned about their school while on scholarship at our own college home, my parents thought it would be fun to visit the old Phillips campus over our Christmas break, while we were in Oklahoma visiting my grandma. And it was pretty cool to see the buildings that were still used by the regional college that exists there now, the houses my dad lived in while he attended seminary, and hearing more stories about my parents’ college years.

That visit got me thinking about what stories I’ll tell my kids about my time at Transylvania and living in Lexington — which buildings I’ll want to show them, which professors I’ll describe, and which friends will star in those stories.

Of course, by the time that visit happens, so much about Transylvania and Lexington will have changed. We’ll have several new residence halls on campus, and even downtown will look different. Current construction projects will be long completed, and new ones will have started.

The campus that I know and love now will not look the same. And that’s great! I can’t wait to come back and see all of the new buildings, programs, and traditions that future Pioneers will have. The fact that things will be different in the future isn’t a bad thing. It proves that our university is only getting better — and that makes me more appreciative of my experience, and it also makes my degree more valuable.

Because what won’t have changed are the kinds of experiences students have on this campus. People will still be forming lifelong friendships, learning from world-class professors, and gaining invaluable work experiences.

When I’m all grown up and return to 300 North Broadway, I’m sure it won’t look the same, but I know it will feel the same. Because no matter what form it takes, Transylvania will always be home.