In Our DNA

Legacy Families Add Their Stories

York College has always had a reputation for helping first-generation students get a degree and further their education. It is a testament to these students’ experiences that the College is starting to see a growth in the attendance of family members of alumni and in the building of families with ties to the College.

Legacy Families "We define 'legacy' in a broad sense," says Bruce Wall, Director of Alumni Relations, who describes a York College legacy student as one "who is related by blood or marriage to an alumnus or alumna.""A legacy family most often refers to more than one generation in a direct line (e.g., father–son or daughter, father and mother–child), but could also refer to aunt or uncle–child, grandparent–child, and so forth."Some alumni have built a legacy family by encouraging their spouses to attend York College. Other alumni have encouraged their sons and daughters to attend their alma mater.

Second-Generation Families

The Olsen family — Glenn Olsen '72, his wife, Sue '74, and their son, Derek '96 — is a second-generation legacy family. Glenn's brother David '75, who sadly passed away in 2006, received a B.S. in Accounting, was active in YCP sports, and played on the golf team for two years.

"I met my wife, Susan Papinchak, on campus, 43 years ago," says Glenn. "We are still going strong!"

Glenn and Sue met at York during his junior and her sophomore year. Their first date was at the York Fair in September 1970. 

"It was kind of a last-minute deal because the girl he asked to go became sick and she asked me to go," recalls Sue. "I said 'what the heck, there's nothing to lose.' And that's how it all started."

That first date became many more dates for Glenn and Sue, and the Fair became an even more memorable place for the couple a year later. "During the York Fair, we became engaged," says Sue. "One week after Glenn's graduation from YCP, we got married."         

For the Beckers, another second-generation legacy family, attending York College has become a habit. Deb Becker '75 and Larry Becker '75 started the trend when they met at the College. Their daughters, Allison '03, Marianne '04, and Johanna '07, followed in their parents’ footsteps and likewise met their husbands — Daniel Lehr '12, Kurt Moran '05, and Scott Wagner '06 — through YCP.

Deb and Larry met through a freshman orientation week tradition of choosing pebbles for upperclassmen. "My mom was looking for pebbles, and my dad had been running cross country for YCP," says Allison. "The team stopped to rest, and the one upperclassman from the team kept telling her the pebbles she had been finding weren't good enough, and finally my dad said, 'No, that one is good enough.' They then would run into each other and hang out in the commuter lounge together with friends. After some time, he decided to ask her to go out on a date."

Allison says, "My husband wasn’t attending YCP at the time (even though he completed his M.B.A. here in December 2012), but I met him through someone I was friends with in the Music Department."

The York College Resident Assistant program was responsible for bringing Kurt and Scott in contact with their wives:

"Marianne was the first person that I met as I unpacked my car and moved into Manor West," says Kurt. "I turned the key to my new home-away-from-home, and noticed that my key broke off in the lock. Marianne was the Resident Assistant who kindly opened the door to more than just my dorm room."

"I became a Resident Assistant my sophomore year and knew Johanna’s sisters from the previous year," says Scott. "They told me that they had a younger sister who was moving into the same building as me. [Johanna and I] became friends right away… and we started dating in the winter of that year."

Winning Combinations

For these families, attending York was a chance to grow and gain great experiences along the way.

The Olsens chose YCP to take hold of some good opportunities. After high school, Glenn had been drafted to play for the Cincinnati Reds, but college came first. "I was excited at the chance to be a professional baseball pitcher, but I still was not accepted to a college." After some exploring, Glenn found an opportunity at YCP through then Baseball Coach Jack Jaquet, who gave Glenn a scholarship to play baseball for the College. Glenn was able to play the sport he loved and also graduate with a degree in Management.

For Sue, YCP was a better change from another college and allowed her to study and work in a business setting. She  "learned through friends that YCP had the Administrative Assistant degree, [since discontinued]" which allowed her to go to college. Right after graduation, Sue found a "fantastic job" as secretary to the York City Fire Department Fire Chief and to the Fire Civil Service Commission.

Derek followed in his parents' footsteps and went to YCP to pursue a degree in Business Administration. He also got the opportunity to play sports through the College golf team, helping York to many victories. Taking advantage of his opportunities at YCP, Derek now works as an Account Representative and still pursues his love of golf.

For the Becker sisters, YCP was their choice because of the positive experiences of their family members there, the proximity of the College to their family, and the friendliness of the faculty.

"After all of these years, [my mother] still sees faculty members such as Dr. Cheesebrough at places like the Colonial Coffee Shop," says Allison. "He still remembers their names and makes it a point to talk to her and my father and ask about them and their family."

From these positive experiences at York College, the Olsens and the Beckers anticipate that their "legacy families" will continue to grow.

Glenn hopes his grandchildren will explore YCP for themselves when it comes time to attend college.

"I believe my grandchildren will have an interest in YCP," he says. "For the value, the quality, the proximity to where we live … I’m sure YCP will be at the top of their interviewing 'short list'."     

For the Becker family, their children may be fated to attend York College.

"I am not sure at this point if other family members will choose to follow in my family’s footsteps, but apparently it is in our DNA!" jokes Johanna.

Marianne says that, family ties aside, York College "speaks for itself," and that she is confident her daughter will find a great opportunity at YCP. "I am sure that she will fall in love with it the same way all of us did. It is a great school, and I loved my experiences there."

The College offers around 20 annual Alumni Scholarships with "legacy status" as a primary criteria to help encourage legacy families to attend, but its main source of promotion oftentimes comes from the families themselves.

"There are so many pluses to going to YCP," says Glenn Olsen. And for anyone looking at colleges, he adds, "I will be happy to suggest my alma mater."


Information about applying for an Alumni Association Scholarship can be found at

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