While Holly Pyper, '16, says she never felt pressure from her Albion College alumni parents to attend their alma mater, the exposure to all things Albion sure helped when it came time to make a decision.
Holly remembers visiting Albion as young as eight years old, together with her dad, Jay, '79, and mom, Lee, '81, during Homecoming and reunions.
"It's so funny to see campus now versus when I was 12," Holly says. "Back then, it all seemed so overwhelming. I didn't realize it, but eventually Albion started to feel like home."
Pressure from her grandfather, a University of Michigan alumnus, and her Michigan-bound high school friends, was there, however.
"Up north at my grandparents' house, it was a big battle in the family," Holly says. "But my parents said, 'You go where you fit best.'"
Finding Albion On Her Own
"It's no secret I always hoped that she would attend Albion," mother Lee Pyper, '81, says, "and enjoy it as much as I did!"
When it came to looking at colleges, Holly wanted a good business program and the opportunity to study Spanish. She looked at large and small schools.
But when she toured Albion, "it all just clicked," she says.
History Repeats Itself
Lee Pyper's experience was similar to her daughters. Her mother Helen Adler, '41, didn't pressure her either. It was the simple exposure to Albion stories that helped Lee make a decision.
"I knew I wanted a small school, and the stories my mom told of her college days always sounded so nice to me," she says. "I applied only to Albion, sight unseen, and the first time I saw the campus was when my parents dropped me off on day one of freshman year. I immediately felt at home."
Her best memories? All "the simple things": BACs (Big Albion Cookies), music in the Keller with friends, Little John's, Sunday pizza dinners from Cascarelli's, the Quad, Friday night movies at Norris, Alpha Chi Omega activities, "and of course meeting my husband," Lee says.
"Now we re-live our college experiences through Holly," Lee says.
Lee says that by the time Holly was a junior in high school, she was pretty sure that Albion was the place for her. Other schools didn't get what Holly calls the "preferred treatment."
"It was nice to have my parents' support for whatever it was I ended up doing," Holly says.
Albion's Legacy Story Continues
Now, as a tour guide, she talks to alumni who are bringing their children to campus for visits.
"They're still passionate about Albion, and happy to be back on campus," Holly says. "And they're thrilled to have their children considering Albion. It was neat to see it from an outside perspective."
And just like Holly, those students' immersion in Albion stories could bring them here, too.
"I was meant to be a Brit," Holly says.
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Legacy Stories: The Kline Family
Karen Kline, ’83, never had a doubt that she would attend Albion College.
Kline’s father, Patrick Pugh '56, returned to campus to help direct the marching band in the mid-1970s. Karen would come to campus to watch football games and watch her father direct the British Eighth. But even before that, she remembers Albion-related family conversations with her grandfather, Otto Baur, ’26.
"Attending Albion was never a question," Karen says. "I didn't apply anywhere else. I felt at home on campus."
Now her son, Daniel Kline, ’15, attends Albion and marches with the British Eighth – just as she did. And her oldest son, Jeff Kline, ’10, was involved in the music program as well.
Together, the Pugh-Kline family makes up four generations of proud, dedicated Britons. Giving back to Albion is what this family does.
Kevin Meets Karen
The Kline-Pugh legacy story mostly goes through Karen’s side of the family, but all members of the family have given back to their alma mater.
Kevin Kline, ’81, was a first-generation Briton. He remembers hearing about Albion College through his Methodist church in Saginaw.
"I didn't apply anywhere else," he says.
He met his future wife, Karen, at a Union Board movie showing. After that initial introduction, Kevin and Karen kept running into each other on campus. They started dating a few weeks after that.
"One memorable date was an evening walk through the Whitehouse Nature Center," Karen says. "We were engaged just before my junior year and married six weeks after my graduation."
Fourth Generation of Britons
When the Klines had children, Albion continued to be a part of their life. Of the Kline family children, two out of three – Jeff and Dan -- ended up at Albion College.
"When the boys were growing up, sharing memories and stories of Albion was pretty common with five graduates in the family," Karen says. "Neither of the boys applied anywhere else. They only considered Albion."
But Dan says there was no pressure – just gentle encouragement.
"While my parents always recommended Albion, they encouraged me to look elsewhere and go where I want," Dan says. "But Albion was always on my radar."
Dan was drawn in by the campus tour and quality academic departments. Now he’s a member of the British Eighth, just like his grandparents and parents.
"I will not forget the first time my mom watched her grandson march across the football field as part of the British Eighth," Karen says, "the same band her husband and daughter marched in. She teared up with joy and pride."
The Legacy Continues
The Pugh-Kline family sees the Albion connection as a deeply-rooted family tradition going back four generations.
"Now that the boys are Britons, we share old memories and are making some very wonderful new ones," Karen says. "And the boys have relished being a four-generation family. It is a special thing to claim."
"It is a pleasure, and truly fun, to be able to give back to Albion," she says.
Legacy Stories: The Miele Family
When making her college decision, Colleen Miele, '89, was concerned about getting lost in the crowd. That's why she chose Albion College to start her healthcare education.
"It turned out to be a great decision," she says. Albion's pre-med program helped prepare her for medical school, and her close relationships with professors made for lasting memories.
When her children were old enough to look at colleges, Colleen encouraged her daughter and son to explore all their college options. But in the end, it was Colleen's passion for smaller colleges and her connection to Albion that helped to sway both of her children.
"Many of my close friends today were Albion students, so Michelle and Joey heard about Albion for years," Colleen says.
The first one to attend was Michelle, '14. She had vague recollections of Albion conversations as a kid.
"I remember mom talking about her memories here, but at the time I had no idea what Albion was, so they didn't really mean anything to me," Michelle says. "I really like hearing her stories now because I also have a connection with the school."
What sealed the deal for Michelle was a personal tour of the Science Complex by Dave Seely, professor of physics.
"I figured that if a professor was going to take the time to show a student who hadn't even decided to come here yet, the professors must really care about their students," Michelle says.
Michelle went to a small high school, with teachers who cared about her education, and she chose Albion because she felt a similar spirit.
Albion's Comfortable Campus
Colleen talked with both of her children about attending Albion. Like most legacy parents, she left the final decision up to them. What was the right fit? Where would they be comfortable?
"I did try and have them look at other options because I wanted it to be their decision," she says.
After looking at a bigger school, Joey Miele, '17, made his decision, in part, by visiting his sister at college.
"I stayed with my sister during her first year and had visited numerous other times," Joey says, "so I was familiar with Albion's campus."
For Joey, it was Albion's comfortable campus size and healthcare program that were the deciding factors.
A Stronger Relationship
Initially, Michelle was nervous about her brother attending Albion. She wanted him to make his own friends and develop his own experience. But now, the two have grown closer.
"Michelle is only a walk down the street, so if I ever need something or someone, she is always just a quick walk away," Joey says. "We are also able to hang out more and do more than if I were to attend a different school."
"I'm really happy that Joey chose Albion," Michelle says. "I like getting to see him often and hang out with him again."
And having both children attend Albion has made Colleen a proud parent.
"I now have a new and different prospective of Albion College as a parent," she says. "Having been a student at Albion, it helped put my mind at ease knowing that they will have many opportunities both academically and socially."
An Albion College education. It's hands-on. It's the liberal arts. It's career readiness. It's providing you the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need to succeed in college, in your career, and in your life.