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Five siblings equals five alums!

Katie Hite '09
Katie Hite at home in the biology department.
“One for the thumb” is what Ronald and Margaret (Guertin) Hite, ’64, will be able to celebrate on May 16 when their youngest child, Kathleen (Katie), is awarded her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and becomes the Hite’s fifth child to earn Fredonia alumni status.

Raising five Fredonia alumni wasn’t part of a grand strategy, but the Lakewood, N.Y., couple is certainly delighted it’s turning out that way.

“I’m very happy because they all had good experiences at Fredonia and they’ve all gotten good jobs, earned higher education degrees, and have done very well,” Mrs. Hite said.

“Very, very proud” is how Mr. Hite describes his sentiment toward his children — Thomas, Laura, Elizabeth and Kristopher, as well as Kathleen — and their accomplishments.

“They’ve done extremely well, all of them. I’m very happy for them and I’m sure that their lives are going to be a lot richer and fuller because of their experience there,” he said.

Mrs. Hite earned her degree in Elementary Education and went on to teach in the Syracuse area before returning to Lakewood’s Southwestern School District. Now retired, she does substitute teaching within Panama Central School District.

An attorney, Mr. Hite operated his own practice in Jamestown before retiring.

Education was always a high priority among his forebears. “They always believed that education was the secret to success in life, and so it was just about a given that they were going (to college), assuming that they had the capacity to do it,” he said of his children.

Though perhaps tempted, Mrs. Hite never swayed her children in Fredonia’s direction. “I tried to keep my mouth shut,” she joked, “but they saw each other doing well and having good experiences (at Fredonia), and so they kept up the tradition.”

The campus’ appeal to the Hite youngsters was enhanced by their introductions to college life at the university’s popular Little Siblings Weekends.

Several of his children glanced at other schools, Mr. Hite recalled, but they all elected to follow their mother’s lead. “She graduated from Fredonia, and they were influenced a lot by her, and by the experiences they had as young kids every spring over Little Sibs Weekend. That had a big impact on them.”

So did Mrs. Hite’s longstanding ties with former classmates. Nearly every summer, she and 23 friends who spent a semester studying and living together in Belgium in 1963 gather for a reunion.

All five will also be forever linked by majors in the natural sciences and countless Dean’s List appointments. “I don’t know how that all came about,” Mr. Hite said of his kids’ love of science. “They were all exceptional students in science and math, and it seemed natural for them.”

Growing up surrounded by woods, farmland and meandering creeks undoubtedly contributed to their fascination with nature. Ronald fondly remembers going on morning walks in the woods with Betsy. “I remember her saying, ‘Dad, hug a tree.’ So I would have to stand out in the woods and hug a tree.”


Katie Hite: Biology senior

Katie confirmed, “My family was the reason I chose Fredonia. The Little Siblings Weekends got me accustomed to life at Fredonia and I knew that was where I wanted to spend my college years.”  She fell in love with the campus and appreciated having professors who actually knew her by name and arranged time in busy schedules to assist students.  She also went to Costa Rica in 2007 through a Tropical Biology class and spent a semester in Scotland her junior year. Becoming Biology Club president was a logical goal, but she also served as a resident assistant, sang in University Chorus and played intramural sports. She plans to earn a master’s degree in Biology and then go into conservation work.

 Kris Hite: a doctoral student at Colorado State

Kristopher, the next youngest, earned his degree in Biochemistry in 2005. He studied at the University of Otago in New Zealand during his junior year and, as a senior, researched high pressure liquid chromatography testing of Concord grapes with Dr. Philip Kumler. Kristopher also enjoyed playing intramural sports and attending theatrical productions. He was also a resident assistant and active in Campus Greens. Following graduation, he earned his master’s degree in Molecular Biology from Colorado State University. He’s now working on his doctorate at Colorado State, which he hopes to receive in 2009 — a year ahead of schedule.

 Betsy Hite: Watershed Steward

Middle child Elizabeth (Betsy) earned her degree in Earth Science education with a concentration in Biology in 1998. Fredonia allowed her to travel extensively throughout the U.S. and Costa Rica, including five consecutive summers hiking through New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. After graduation, she moved to New Mexico to work at the Rio Grande Zoo as the outreach director and environmental educator of a 35-foot-long mobile educational program. She returned to Western New York in 2000 and taught biology and coached at Panama Central. She began a new position last September as the “Watershed Steward” of the Chautauqua Lake Management Plan and is working on a master’s degree in Science Education at Fredonia.

 Laura Hite: Senior Geologist

Laura (Hite) Scheid earned her Fredonia degree in Geology in 1995 and a master’s in Environmental Geology and Geophysics in 1997 from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. She remembers the geology department at Fredonia as a family. Two of her most cherished memories include Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus Richard Gilman and his wife, Carmen, playing dulcimers around the campfire during field trips and the annual geology department spaghetti dinners prepared in labs on Bunsen burners. After graduate school, Laura moved to Reston, Va., to work at the U.S. Geological Survey. She then moved to Minneapolis, Minn., to work with WSP Environment & Energy as a senior geologist. She and her husband, Timothy, are the parents of Caroline, 21/2, and are expecting their second child in February.

 Thomas Hite: Senior Geologist

Thomas, the oldest, received his Fredonia degree in Geology in 1993 and his master’s, also in Geology, from the University of Akron in 2006. He went on Fredonia’s first trip to western national parks and later coordinated the same trip and was able to take along sisters Laura and Betsy. He also participated in the Juneau Ice Field Research Program in the summer of 1992 and was awarded Fredonia’s Roy Angus MacDiarmid Outstanding Senior in Geology award, an honor Laura would later receive as well. Thomas is now a senior geologist with Arcadis, a leading engineering and environmental consulting firm in Akron, and says that all the professors in the Fredonia’s geology department were a great inspiration at Fredonia. He also met his future wife, fellow Geology major Brenda (Lloyd), ’95, who also went on to earn a master’s in Geology at the University of Akron. They have a 3-year-old son, Charles.

Incidentally, Kathleen won’t be the last in the Hite pipeline to go to Fredonia. Alisha Hite, a granddaughter of Ronald from a prior marriage, has already received her acceptance letter and will enroll in September as a foreign language major.

She’s following in the footsteps of her mother, Ivana — the high school principal at Westfield Academy and Central School — who earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees, in addition to school administration certification, all from Fredonia.


posted @ Thursday, January 22, 2009 3:32 PM by Christine Davis Mantai

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