The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

August 24, 2013

Youth gets surprise at Indiana State

Grandma once lived in dorm room

WILLIAMSPORT, Ind. — When Peggy Kenworthy left her home in State Line City to enroll at Indiana State University in 1963, she moved into a still shiny one-year-old, women-only residence hall that her older sister had helped christen the year before.

When her grandson Lane Swanson of Williamsport enrolled for the fall semester this year, he found himself assigned to a sparkling co-ed residence hall fresh from a $10 million renovation.

As it turned out, grandmother and grandson were assigned not only to the same building, but to the same room, 50 years apart.

At first, Swanson, a May graduate of Seeger Junior-Senior High School, didn’t realize the significance of being assigned to Erickson Hall, Room 305.

“I just thought it was really cool that I got what amounts to a brand new dorm,” he said.

Swanson’s mom, Franki, said, “When we saw the room assignment, I told my mom and she (Kenworthy) looked at me and said, ‘That was my room.’”

“What a wonderful coincidence,” Kenworthy said of her grandson’s random room assignment.

“I met Lane’s mother during June orientation for new students and by chance, she mentioned the assignment of her son to Room 305, Erickson Hall — where his grandmother had also stayed 50 years earlier,” said John Beacon, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and communications.

“The odds of this happening were so great that I told the story repeatedly to groups of parents over the remaining orientation sessions. Without exception, people who heard the story were simply amazed that this could happen.”

Though it is still the same building, the Erickson Hall of 2013 is much different from the Erickson Hall Kenworthy called home during her freshman year at what was then Indiana State Teachers College.

“It was still pretty new, bright and spiffy,” she said, “but the rules were a little different. There were no boys allowed and the girls had to be in the dorm by 10 o’clock on weekdays and midnight on Friday and Saturdays.”

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