By Laura Meyers, ’15
The Power of a Bonnie can be seen in all of our students. It has also been a proud tradition in many families for generations. The Kibbe family of Harrison Valley, Pa., is a perfect example of a family who has learned the value of a Bonaventure education and has emulated The Power of a Bonnie.
Kathryn (Hamilton) Kibbe, Class of ’79, was a German and French double major who earned her teaching certification and went on to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Georgia after her time at Bona’s. She and her husband, Len, have four children, all of whom currently attend St. Bonaventure.
Steven Kibbe, a senior political science major, is the eldest of the four Bonnies. Steven attended the University for two years prior to the arrival of Amelia, who is currently a sophomore journalism and mass communication (J/MC) major. Ethan and Ellen, the youngest of the Kibbe family, are twins in their freshman year at Bonaventure. Ethan is a J/MC major, while Ellen is an English major.
Kathryn was excited when her children made the decision to follow in her footsteps.
“I am very happy they chose Bona’s because I loved my time there and wanted the same experience for them,” said Kathryn.
KATHRYN ALSO shared how her love for the school was passed on to her husband, Len, who did not attend St. Bonaventure.
“I admit that I look at Bona’s with brown and white glasses, but after visiting several other universities with each of the kids, Len came to share, or even exceed, my enthusiasm for Bonaventure,” said Kathryn.
The Kibbe siblings are aware of the huge role that their parents played when it came time for selecting a college to attend.
“My parents were truly instrumental in all of us going here,” said Steven. “My mother is an alum and a huge Bona fan, and my dad has grown to be a huge fan as well because the community on campus is amazing.”
Despite Kathryn and Len’s clear passion for the school, they both made sure to leave the decision up to each individual student when it came time to choose a college. Amelia stated that Bona’s wasn’t even her top choice at first and the rest of the siblings were also tentative until they visited the campus.
“Each started out thinking they wanted to be somewhere big,” said Kathryn. “But once they got here they realized they would spend most of their time on campus — and there are many things to do on campus.”
Ethan agreed that despite any influences from their parents, none of the siblings felt forced into attending St. Bonaventure.
“I made the decision to become a Bonnie by myself,” stated Ethan. “I'd be lying if I said that my parents didn't want me to come here, but I was free to choose. In the end, Bona’s was just the best option for me as an athlete and as a journalism major.”
Kathryn also noted how important involvement is for her children. Among other activities, Steven is on the Division I cross country team, while Ethan is involved with The Buzz, the student-run campus radio station. Amelia writes and edits for the student-run newspaper, The Bona Venture, and Ellen is pursuing a minor in secondary education in addition to her major. They all participate in campus ministry, as well.
“They were each able to get involved in things they like and have a natural role right away,” noted Kathryn. “There are so many opportunities at Bona’s for each one to pursue his or her interests and participate from day one of freshman year.”
Though it may be hard to imagine attending a college with all three of your siblings, the Kibbe family cherishes the time they get to spend together. For Steven, especially, it has been great being able to share this experience with his brother and sisters.
“It is truly an honor and a blessing for me to go here with all of my siblings,” said Steven. “We have always been very close and to have the opportunity to spend more time together is great.”
AMELIA ALSO appreciates having her family at the same school as her. She learned a lot from her older brother about being a role model and was able to take on that role herself.
“Last year my brother helped me out a lot,” said Amelia. “I like to think I took over doing that for the twins.”
This support is not overlooked, either. Just as Amelia appreciated her older brother’s help, the twins are thankful to have both Amelia and Steven at Bonaventure and are grateful for the extra time they have together.
“It's great to know you always have someone looking out for you,” said Ellen. “I think it’s pretty special to be able to attend St. Bonaventure with my siblings.”
Furthermore, the Kibbes understand the value of the education they are receiving at St. Bonaventure. Amelia feels that the school, with its many on-campus opportunities, has fully prepared her for life after college.
“I'M IMPRESSED WITH the programs here. I learned a lot from The Bona Venture and by the time I’m a senior, I’ll already have four years of real-world experience,” said Amelia. Her involvement with the newspaper even helped her land an internship with the Wellsville Daily Reporter this past summer.
Kathryn acknowledges the financial planning and difficulty involved with sending four kids to college at once. However, she also recognizes how the University has helped her family along the way.
“The Admissions and First-Year Program staff, the registrar, the faculty and the Financial Aid staff have all been extremely kind and helpful,” said Kathryn thankfully. “There is no getting around the fact that four in college at once is not cheap. We were very pleased with the financial aid package we were offered, and especially for the time and consideration. In addition to generous scholarships and grants, the kids are able to have work-study jobs on campus. We are very grateful to the University for the help along the way. It’s been a partnership.”
But what the family has learned during their time here extends far beyond the academic and financial realms. The feeling of love, support and comfort that the Kibbes feel within their family is echoed in the Bonaventure community. They see The Power of a Bonnie in their daily lives at the University.
“You learn about helping others here and it has become almost automatic to help out,” said Amelia. “St. Bonaventure University is about graduating good people, not just good students.”
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