Many students who attend USD have some sort of family tie to the school, but for the Lavin family, their history goes back to the early 1900s. The Lavin family has been attending USD for five generations starting in 1903 and continue their legacy with sisters Lauren and Emma Lavin.
Lauren, a junior psychology major, also holds multiple leadership positions in her sorority, Kappa Alpha Theta, and other campus organizations. Her great-great-grandmother, Fern Davis, was a founding member of Kappa Alpha Theta in 1912.
“It’s pretty cool that she was not only probably one of the few women on campus, but she was also a founding member of a sorority on campus,” Lauren said.
Joining a sorority was a natural option for Lauren since she had family ties, she said.
“It’s a really good way to get involved on campus philanthropy wise and to meet a lot of great women and I am really grateful for that,” Lauren said.
Emma is a first-year business student, currently taking online courses as she pursues her passion of horseback riding. Emma lives in Denver, Colorado to continue her house riding career and said she wanted to continue her business degree.
“I decided to go to USD because it has very good business school and a lot of my family has gone to USD as well, so it was a natural fit,” Emma said.
Though the Lavin family has continued their family tradition at USD, the paths taken by each member of the family are different. Lauren’s first major was in international studies, but she said it took a while to find the right fit. Now as a psychology major, Lauren is a supplemental instructor for Psychology 101.
“My passions have changed over time and my parents have been extremely supportive of that,” Lauren said.
In Denver, Emma trains and competes in dressage horseback riding. Dressage is a competitive sport and takes years of training and precision, Emma said.
“I want to make an Olympic Team for Dressage and I will continue to pursue my riding goals as well as getting a degree,” Emma said.
Both of these young women said they attribute their success to their parents’ support.
“They are very open to the paths I have chosen to take and they support my decision and supporting me with moving to Denver and still continuing classes at USD,” Emma said.
On top of all her commitments at USD, Lauren also runs a bakery out of her home in Sioux Falls called Bakologie.
“Another big passion in my life is baking and when I came to USD, I was worried that it would conflict with my baking,” Lauren said. “But it was one of the reasons I chose USD so that I was close to home.”
Moving to USD has not hampered any of Lauren’s aspirations with her bakery, she said, as she already has 12 weddings booked for this summer.
“My parents have always been the ‘follow your dreams’ type people and they have pushed me to chase my dreams in the classroom and in my bakery,” Lauren said.
Their immediate family as well as their extended family were pleased the sisters continued the family tradition but encouraged them to make sure USD was the best place for them.
“No one pushed us into going to USD, but it is so deeply embedded in our family that we wanted to come to USD,” Lauren said.
Looking to the future, both Lauren and Emma hope to see the tradition continued by their own children.
“When I have kids, I would love to send them to USD,” Lauren said. “I think a lot of times state universities are overlooked, but I don’t think you could get a better education than here at USD.”