Devoted Family Produces Parade of Bearcats

A UC story spanning three generations

October 1, 2015

The area in front of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity house on Clifton Avenue holds special meaning for Dave Lance, Bus ’56, and his family — and for good reason:

  • It’s where Dave met his future wife, Judy, in 1954 when he was a UC junior and SAE brother and she was living a few doors down while working at Christ Hospital.
  • Their meeting led to five children, three of whom became UC graduates.
  • Their daughter, Laurie Lehn, DAAP ’80, M.Ed. ’93, was following family tradition by watching the 1998 UC Homecoming parade in front of the SAE house with her 1½-year-old daughter, Rachel, when a UC photographer snapped their picture. A year later, it was the cover photo for the UC Alumni Association’s September 1999 Horizons newsletter. (See right)
  • And this fall, Rachel is a freshman pre-pharmacy major at UC, proudly following in her family’s footsteps.

Rachel’s college search may have had a preordained outcome. While she had largely grown up on the UC campus, her academics at Kings High School in Kings Mills, Ohio, opened many possibilities. Warmer weather was enticing, so she visited quite a few colleges in the mid-south.

“Whenever I toured other schools, I compared every aspect to UC,” Rachel says. “I remembered cheering for the Bearcats when I was younger, and when I tried to picture myself cheering for anybody else or walking around a different campus, it just didn’t feel right.”

Mom understood. “I was praying that Rachel would find the place where she would be happy and safe and able to begin her future,” Laurie recalls. And seeing the big picture throughout the process, Laurie had a feeling her alma mater might become Rachel’s, too. 

“That alumni newsletter mentioned the 1999 Homecoming theme, which was ‘Decades of Dreams,’” she says. “Seventeen years later, that little girl has begun to follow her dreams on the same campus where her mother did 40 years ago and her grandfather did 60 years ago.”

Dave has been an extremely loyal and involved alumnus for a long time, so he knows how far UC has come as a world-class university and how his family has benefited. He’s particularly gratified that his biological and university families are merged, with Rachel becoming his second Bearcat grandchild.

“What an amazing time for our family — to witness the spectacular transformation of our campus, to experience our love for and involvement with UC, and to have participated so fully over the years,” Dave says. “UC has been a high family priority and afforded us countless fond memories since I first became a Bearcat in 1951.”

As for Rachel, the toddler-at-Homecoming photo made an appearance at her high school graduation party this summer, which sparked plenty of memories of happy times on campus as she grew up. And it has crossed her mind that history may repeat itself — that one day she will likely bring her own child to the parade route in front of the SAE house.

“It’s very easy to imagine the same thing will happen to me,” Rachel says. “My mom has pointed out the spot where we sat in that picture. I love how UC is part of my family history and I’ll definitely share it with my own children when the time comes.”


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