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All in the Family: Legacy Students reflect on family influence

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Courtesy Sarah Beaudry | The Daily Wildcat Freshman students Kaitlyn Susa (left), Jaden Callahan (center) and Riley Bowers (right) are all recipients of UA's Legacy scholarship.

For many legacy students, attending the University of Arizona felt inevitable.

“I’ve been going to football games and coming here since I was eight years old, so I just knew that this was where I was supposed to be,” said freshman pre-business student Riley Bowers.

For some, like Bowers, this early exposure meant they knew where they were going to go to college very early on. 

“My mother and my grandmother were very much, ‘You choose where you want to go, we’ll support you no matter what you do,’ but I’ve just always wanted to go here," said sociology freshman Lydia Zadareky.

Zadareky's mother and grandmother went to the UA, making her a third generation legacy student. She noted that the decision to come to UA was not forced on her, but one that she reached on her own, and she finds great significance in being a third-generation Wildcat. 

 “It means being a part of something that’s bigger than me and it connects me with my grandmother and my mother... it's a cool connection and now I get to go to the place that I’ve heard so many stories about,” she said.

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Director of Alumni and Student Engagement Marc Acuña sees numerous benefits in being a legacy student. Acuña connects and engages the alumni community in an effort to encourage them to stay in contact with the community and be involved with the university.  

“Growing up as a student, seeing your parents [and family] with that love of the red and blue, and the university itself, it’s an experience you're not going to get anywhere else,” Acuña noted.

Family tradition is not the only thing motivating legacy students to attend the UA. The university has a Legacy Scholar Program that accepted students can apply to. 

The scholarship offers 10 renewable merit-based $1000 scholarships, according to the Alumni Association’s website. Zadareky and Bowers were both recipients of the scholarship.  

Acuña’s experience with legacies supports Zadareky’s and Bower’s respective experiences. “I think that you just grow up being a Wildcat. I think that’s what you're supposed to do,” he said.


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