Each year Wesleyan welcomes a number of legacy students as part of its student body. Senior Lauren Bolen is more than a typical legacy student. In fact, she represents one of Wesleyan’s oldest, largest, and most famous multi-generational families.
Bolen’s great great aunt was Agnes Howard, which also bears the name of the oldest operating residence hall in the eastern United States. Agnes died while attending Wesleyan and her father, C.D. Howard, donated a substantial amount of money to help renovate the building and add an additional section.
Bolen’s grandparents Jim Gamble ’62 and the late Jane Howard Gamble ’63 met at Wesleyan. Jane’s sisters, Priscilla Howard Hill ’57 and Sally Howard ‘66 also continued the Wesleyan tradition as did Jim and Jane’s children: Howard Gamble ’92, Kent Gamble ’96, and Amy Gamble Bolen ’91.
Lauren, Amy’s daughter and the first Gamble grandchild, entered WVWC in the fall of 2017, has lived in Agnes Howard Hall for the past two years – even staying in the very room her mother did when she was a student at Wesleyan. She is looking forward to returning to Wesleyan and Agnes Howard in a few short weeks. “It really is an honor to come home every evening after classes and practice and see my great great aunt’s picture hanging on the wall smiling and cheering me on,” she remarked.
Bolen, from Saint Johns, FL, is an education major and member of the women’s lacrosse team. She chose Wesleyan for many reasons including the College’s size, academic programs, lacrosse team, and the Learning Center, combined with the long family ties. She has enjoyed her experience immensely.
“I cannot begin to describe how grateful I am to Wesleyan and its community,” Bolen said. “I have been given amazing opportunities and have been able to accomplish many dreams. I have developed wonderful friendships through the Women’s Lacrosse Team and the legacy sisterhood of Alpha Delta Pi. The third legacy of this sorority, I have gained over 100 sisters who I know I can always count on. I have also loved the staff in the Learning Center who have constantly encouraged and believed in me, and pushed me beyond my potential, while the Education Department has challenged and supported me in the pursuit of my goals.”
Bolen plans to secure a position as a special education teacher, after graduating from Wesleyan and pursue a master’s degree in special education. She also wants to coach lacrosse at the high school level.
Attending Wesleyan has provided Lauren an additional wonderful benefit – the opportunity to see her Granddad Jim Gamble at least once a month. “He drives from Cowen to take me out to dinner at least once a month and he attends all of the home lacrosse matches,” she noted. “He has even traveled to Wheeling and Charleston to watch me play. His presence is most reassuring and I can always count on him to be ringing the cowbell during our match. My great Aunt Sally, Uncle Howard and Uncle Kent also stop by Wesleyan from time to time. They bring baked goods, help celebrate my birthday, and cheer for me in the stands.”
Bolen is more than anxious about returning to Wesleyan after the College moved to online classes last March. “The abrupt end of last spring’s semester was very disappointing for many students,” continued Bolen. “I think it is fair to say students are nervous about the changes we will be encountering when we return. That being said, I know I will be welcomed back with socially distanced arms and hidden smiles behind the masks. I am confident the Wesleyan community will continue to support us through these unchartered waters. I really hope to have the opportunity to walk across the stage in front of family, friends, and Wesleyan faculty and staff to receive my diploma and to show my appreciation for the opportunity of being a West Virginia Wesleyan College Bobcat.”