It's become something of a Wyckoff family tradition to attend college at the UI.
And on Dads' Weekend 2005, then-freshman and now-U.S. News and World Report Assistant Editor Whitney Wyckoff got to see where it all started.
“I had only been on campus for a few weeks when my grandfather and father came down," she says. "My grandfather had been thrilled to return to a place that he loved so much. As a young man, he’d come to the University of Illinois on the GI Bill, after marching through occupied France in World War II and receiving four Bronze Stars. In 1949, when he earned his bachelor’s in mechanical engineering, he became the first person in the family to graduate from college.
“During Dads’ Weekend, my grandfather marveled at how much the school had changed through the decades, but I think he had also been surprised at what had stayed the same: Between the weekend’s events, we found the Urbana house that my grandfather had rented with classmates. He recognized it immediately, and we got out of the car so my father could take our picture outside.
“My grandfather died several years later, in 2014, but it made him proud to know he could pass his love for the U of I down. In fact, he started a tradition in our family. My mom (journalism-1976), my brother (mechanical engineering-2013) and I (journalism-2009) all attended the University of Illinois behind him.
“In many ways, that tradition started in that house, with him furiously studying his mechanical engineering texts so that he — as my grandfather once told me — could graduate as quickly as possible and start his life.”