When psychology major Caitlin McGuire walked across the stage in front of Old Morrison on Saturday, she was the ninth member of her family to graduate from Transylvania University. Five consecutive generations of her family, touching three different centuries, have included a Transy graduate.
Caitlin’s great great grandfather William Smallwood Gamboe began the tradition when he graduated in 1896 from Kentucky University, the name Transylvania used from 1865-1908 before reclaiming its historic name.
William and his wife Tacie Pharis Gamboe had a son, Homer Pharis Gamboe, who was born while the family was living in a boarding house on Upper Street across from the Transy campus. This structure is now the Row House, restored in 1996 as part of the John R. Hall Athletic Field.
Homer also attended Transy and after graduating in 1918, he went on, like his father, to graduate from the College of the Bible, then located on Transy’s campus. Homer and his wife had two daughters, Alice who graduated from Transylvania in 1946, and Rachael Gamboe McGuire.
Rachael and her sister grew up in India, where their father was a missionary. After attending Woodstock, an American boarding school in the Himalayas, they came back to the United States to attend college.
For Rachael, attending Transylvania was a dream come true, as she had heard tales of it her whole life. While there, she met Franklin McGuire. The two became sweethearts and were married in 1947.
In 1967, Rachael and Franklin’s son Kevin McGuire considered his options and chose to become the fourth generation of his family to attend Transy.
Kevin graduated in 1971 with a degree in psychology. He married Karen Kelly McGuire, a 1973 graduate of Transylvania, and they had two children, Patrick and Caitlin McGuire.
In 2002, Patrick graduated from Transy with a degree in drama and is now co-editor with Filter magazine in Los Angeles. For his younger sister Caitlin, attending Transylvania was a natural choice. Transy is truly is a home for the Gamboe/McGuire family.
“It’s nice to know that so many people for my family have been though this same place and we are following in their footsteps,” Caitlin said in 2004, when she was a sophomore. Now, as a 2007 graduate, she reflects upon that last four years.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Transy. I am more than certain that I made the right choice in coming here,” she said.
On Saturday, Caitlin’s parents sat proudly in the audience, remembering their own days at Transy while applauding the success of the newest member of the family to hold a Transylvania diploma.