Freshman year move-in day is the first time many students enter the residence halls, but for some of their parents it’s a walk down memory lane. The Tiger legacy dates back decades in some families, while for others the legacy is just beginning. The Towerlight introduces a selection of these legacies.
Like father like daughter
Michael Valle, a 1986 alumnus, was a commuter student for his entire college career, but he still remembers the Glen Towers, which at the time had just been constructed.
This fall, he had to move his daughter Laura Valle into those Towers. It was the first time he had been back to Towson since he graduated.
“When he came here, the Towers were brand new and all of his friends lived in the Towers, so when he moved me in there he saw that it wasn’t as new as they used to be,” Laura Valle said. “When he saw Newell and Richmond under construction he brought up how they used to be the best dorms on campus and they weren’t even in use anymore.”
Michael Valle, who was a biology major, now works for Procter & Gamble. Laura Valle said her dad used his knowledge of the biology department to help her acclimate to Towson.
“The fact that my dad went here played a little bit of a role in me coming here,” Laura Valle said. “The school gave me financial help since one of my parents went here. My dad introduced me to people in the bio department so I really got to know it before I even started going here, and that was more than I had done at any other school.”
Laura Valle said that when her dad was attending Towson, West Village had not even been considered by administrators, and there was nothing but woods next to Sheppard Pratt, meaning that the University Village hadn’t been constructed. The Glen complex was surrounded by nothing but trees.
The only thing that Laura Valle said her father still talks about when it comes to Towson is a professor in the department of biology, Don Forester.
“My dad always says how he had such a big influence on his life, and he wants me to get to know him,” Laura Valle said.
Each time that her dad comes back to Towson, Laura Valle said her dad always points out the same things that have changed.
“He always says that there are more trees now,” she said. “And Tigers.”
Across the generations
Mike and Diane Bensley met in one fateful “Introduction to Music” class when they were students at Towson. Mike asked Diane on a date to an ensemble that they had to go to as a requirement for the class.
A few weeks after that ensemble, they began dating. A few years after that, they were married.
Mike and Diane’s daughter, Rachael, now attends Towson as a speech pathology major.
“My mom was also taking chemistry at the time they started dating and my dad was a chemistry major, so he used to help her with her homework,” Rachael Bensley said.
Although Bensley said she enjoys saying that both her parents went to Towson, it did not play a role in her college decision. Rachael Bensley, who lives in Scarborough Hall, said her parents have noticed major changes since they first attended Towson.
“They always say how many more parking garages there are, and Smith Hall is a lot bigger than it used to be,” she said.
When her parents went to the University, Rachael Bensley said Linthicum housed all of the Liberal Arts classes, and Stephens Hall used to only have math classes in it. But because the Glen Towers had just been built, they were the “place to be.”
“They used to go to Paws all the time because it used to be a bowling alley,” Rachael Bensley said.
Rachael Bensley said her parents enjoy seeing how far West Village has expanded campus. When she first came to take a tour of Towson’s campus when she was still in high school, it was the first time her parents had been back.
“We came down York Road and they talked about all of the businesses that used to be open and where they used to go, but most of the places are gone now,” Rachael Bensley said.
While many of the social hot spots have changed, Rachael Bensley said her parents’ stories keep the memories alive.
“Every time they move me in, they tell the same stories,” she said. “I think they miss it.”
Start of something new
Stephanie Herdoiza, a sophomore music education major, said that she has a connection with her sister that siblings don’t always get the chance to share.
Both she and her sister attend Towson.
“We can bond or complain about things that you would only understand if you went here,” Stephanie Herdoiza said.
Her sister, Maria Herdoiza, a senior dance major, is commuting to Towson this year to complete her senior capstone.
Maria Herdoiza travels to Towson from her home in Silver Spring twice a week, but she and her sister still make an effort to see each other when they’re both on campus.
“She comes and she visits me in the dance department when I have my rehearsals,” Maria Herdoiza said.
The two sisters are not the first in their family to attend Towson. Both of their uncles and their older brother went to Towson.
What most draws Maria Herdoiza and Stephanie Herdoiza together is their mutual appreciation for art.
“I think both of us came to appreciate a lot more of the other one’s craft,” Maria Herdoiza said. “Like she is learning a lot about music and therefore she appreciates a lot about the dedication and the artistry in class, so we have a lot to talk about.”
Maria Herdoiza said that she believes her involvement with the art department at Towson helped to influence her sister’s decision to come here.
“I told her that I loved it and I was learning a lot and that it was really difficult, but if you worked hard, you would really, really improve.”
Stephanie Herdoiza said that her sister’s advice turned out to be true, and since coming to Towson, she has had a similar experience in the art department.
“There are so many talented people [here]. I’m so appreciative and thankful to have this opportunity,” Stephanie Herdoiza said. “It’s tough. They’re working me hard but I know that I’m improving and I’m just so thankful and happy to be here.”
But the sisters say that their interactions regarding Towson aren’t all about schoolwork.
Maria Herdoiza also shared some general advice from her time at Towson with her younger sister.
“It was kind of nice, in a way, knowing the basics about Towson so I wasn’t as in the dark as a freshman coming here,” Stephanie Herdoiza said.
And Maria Herdoiza said that the bond that the two possess with each other is one that they feel comfortable expressing on Towson’s campus.
“We’re really goofy, we’re just ourselves, and we probably embarrass ourselves in public but we don’t really care because that’s the way we are,” Maria Herodiza said. “It’s a little sad that I don’t get to see her more, but we usually try to hang out when we’re on campus.”
Maria Herdoiza said that she is proud to be part of a Towson legacy.
“We’re really grateful because [Towson] made it possible for all of us to go to college and I think it was really great that they kind of reached out and took care of us in a sense because, you know, we’re a large family and we’re a Hispanic family so it’s really nice that a university that’s always trying to become more diverse really recognized our good grades and our hard work in high school and made it possible for us to do what we want to do,” she said.