The Humphreys Hail Purdue
Tom, Scott, Bo, Stacy and John – five siblings, five Boilermakers, five Purdue residence hall counselors. The Humphrey family supplied University Residences with student employees for the good part of a decade.
This fall, the five Humphrey siblings came back to campus together for the first time since the youngest of them graduated in 1988, as Purdue hosted both the Cincinnati Bearcats and a Humphrey family reunion in one September weekend at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Hubert and Sue Anne Humphrey don’t have any direct ties to Purdue University, other than the five kids they sent to West Lafayette. The Humphreys, who celebrated 60 years of marriage in October, currently reside in Leitchfield, Kentucky, but have moved around the country including several stops across the Midwest.
Proximity to Purdue played a part in the older siblings becoming Boilermakers, but by the time Hubert and Sue Anne’s youngest son John went to college, they were living in Arkansas, and John chose to follow in the footsteps of his four older siblings anyway.
“Mom and Dad raised us to study hard and do our very best,” said Tom, 58, who lives south of Lafayette and works as a quality manager at Donaldson Company. “We joke with each other an awful lot about who takes credit for what, but I was the oldest and was the first one to go to Purdue.”
While neither Hubert nor Sue Anne went to Purdue, the parents of five and grandparents of 14 aren’t entirely without recognition, as their children honored them at John’s graduation, the last time the family was together on campus.
“We were able to have a toast to my parents for all five of us having our degrees, and we gave them honorary Purdue degrees in ‘parentology,’” said Scott, 57, who lives outside of Columbus, Ohio, working as chairman of the board of a bread manufacturer.
Boilermaker Brothers and Sisters
There were a few years in the 1980s when there were three Humphrey siblings on campus at once, with the older four siblings about five years apart in age. Still, the rigors and size of Purdue didn’t exactly allow for frequent family get-togethers on campus.
“It was unusual seeing each other on campus. It’s a big campus, but it was fun knowing that there was family there,” said Bo, 55, who lives in Danville, Indiana, and oversees manufacturing for Goodwill Industries.
“Purdue is such a big place, but the neat part was still being able to drop in on one of my brothers, and getting to share a vehicle since we didn’t all have one,” said Stacy Poynter, 54, the lone sister among brothers who works in student support services for a suburban Nashville high school. “They still had party lines then for the phones, so we would get together to call home.”
Campus sports provided the Humphreys with some family time, as Tom said he and Bo spent “more time than they should have” at the CoRec playing basketball, and Bo, a self-admitted “CoRec addict,” also played on an intramural softball champion team with brother Scott.
The oldest brother Tom (and several of Tom’s siblings wanted it pointed out that he’s the oldest) also played host to more than one gathering. Tom lived in married student housing after graduation while his wife finished her degree, and Scott and Bo “would occasionally get to mooch and go over there for a home-cooked meal,” Scott said.
John, 51, a Sarasota, Florida, resident and chief financial officer for Roper Technologies, also took advantage of having an older sibling on campus, with different results. “I had a key to Stacy’s car, so a couple of the guys took me to the hospital and I left the paperwork in the car when I took it back to her,” he said. “She only learned about it from seeing the paperwork that I’d gone to the hospital.”
Five kids, five counselors
Five Humphreys going through Purdue meant five tuition payments, so each sibling worked in college, including at least one year as a counselor in a residence hall.
“There I was the oldest of five kids, knowing we were all going to go to school,” Tom said. “Mom and dad helped as much as they could, but we all worked our way through college and that was an opportunity to help cut some of the costs.”
Scott enjoyed the job enough to become a staff resident as well, and Bo became interested in it after seeing how much his older two brothers enjoyed it. John said it was an opportunity to help others like him.
“You get to help others make the same difficult transition that all of us had to make, leaving hometowns and going off to the big university. Helping with that was a huge plus,” John said.
Like most everyone who has ever worked with college students, the Humphreys have stories to tell from their years on the job.
Tom is thankful years later for a resident who started on the defensive line of Purdue’s football team, because all the football players on the floor went to bed when he did so he that everyone could get enough sleep. Scott had a resident who spent enough time at the Pac-Man arcade game in Cary Quad to memorize the patterns of the game’s characters. Bo remembers 90 percent of his residents piling around a racquetball court to support a floor mate who made it to the campus-wide racquetball finals, and John recalls five of his residents chipping in to buy a $200 car together, after which they “proceeded to treat it like a $200 car.”
Back in black and gold
Some of the Humphrey siblings had been back to campus since the ‘80s – Tom lives minutes away, and two of Bo’s sons went to Purdue – but they hadn’t all been back together in nearly three decades. They took in everything familiar about a football Saturday in West Lafayette.
“One of my favorite memories was football Saturdays with the band marching in, so I’m glad we got to experience that again,” Stacy said.
Of course, Purdue football isn’t the only thing that brought them back.
“The shared experience of all of us going to Purdue is something that keeps us together. We send messages back and forth…particularly around basketball season,” John said.
The Humphreys also had breakfast at Purdue Memorial Union before touring campus, including a walk through Cary Quad, and several of them stayed in the Union Club Hotel.
“There were some things that hadn’t changed, but there were a whole lot more that had. It brought back a whole lot of memories, that’s for sure,” John said. “It was a nice time to be able to reminisce together.”
Writer: Matt Watson
Pharmacy student earns post-grad job, ‘mom’ nickname
Megan Worobey’s love for pharmacy began with her first chemistry class. Once that newfound love began, she knew she wanted to do something special with it everywhere she went. Now the fifth-year student in the College of Pharmacy and McCutcheon Hall resident assistant will get to do just that, having accepted a post-graduation job with AbbVie Inc.
Worobey was raised in one of Chicago’s suburbs, Downers Grove, Ill., before finding her way to Purdue’s campus. Before deciding on pharmacy, Worobey found herself also considering biochemistry and pre-med at other universities, but Purdue’s pharmacy school won her over.
“Being from Chicago, I knew I wanted to go Big Ten. I loved the sports, the atmosphere, and Purdue was just the right fit. I just couldn’t pass up being in the Big Ten, and at one of the best pharmacy schools in the country,” Worobey said.
She was given her first taste of making a difference when she traveled to Costa Rica on a medical mission to help the less fortunate after her freshman year at Purdue.
“I was working with a pharmacist, 20 doctors, a couple of adult leaders, and then college students. Most days I got to work with the pharmacist in a make-shift pharmacy and had to substitute when we didn’t have enough of something. I’m a Spanish minor so my favorite thing was taking the medicine to the patients and being able to talk to them about how they take it,” Worobey said.
Over the course of her five years at Purdue, Worobey has continued to live in the residence halls. Her first two years were spent in Earhart, third year in Windsor, and the past two years in McCutcheon as an RA. While living in Earhart, Worobey found herself as the Service Committee chair and then the president of Itasca Club, which is named after the last ship to be in contact with Amelia Earhart during her trip around the world. Worobey’s presidency not only taught her the importance of delegation, but also gave her the opportunity to learn about organizing educational events for students in her hall.
Worobey thinks of being an RA as an opportunity to gain a great deal of knowledge and make an impact on people. At the end of last school year, she had multiple students thank her for the support and helping hand she offered throughout the year. Certain residents even found themselves calling her ‘mom.’ Worobey’s time as an RA has also proved to be preparation for the real world.
“I think [being an RA] is about being a good teammate and being someone that people want to work with. I think sometimes people forget about that. Everyone thinks it’s about being the smartest and working hard, which are obviously important, but at the end of the day you need people to want to work with you. I think being able to work with people well and not being overwhelmed in situations is important,” Worobey said.
Worobey arrived at Purdue as a shy freshman with a desire to be a strong leader, and Purdue gave her the opportunity to do so. She took leadership in Itasca along with being an RA for two years each, and also became involved in Pharmacy Club. Worobey considers all of these leadership opportunities not only impactful for her five years on campus, but knows that it fostered her growth for the world after graduation. Worobey had a few words of advice for those still trying to find their place at Purdue.“I would say get involved and put yourself out there. If I hadn’t just gone for it and explored what’s out there, I probably wouldn’t be an RA or had all of these experiences. So, just try something different and get involved,” Worobey said.
Writer: Sheila Swibes