The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Hawks soar across generations


Legacy student makes St. Joe’s home

My grandfather was the first person I told after I made my decision to attend Saint Joseph’s University on Admitted Students Day.

We had barely made it through Manayunk before I was dialing his number, excited to tell him the good news. I was going to St. Joe’s and I was going to be a Hawk, just like him and my aunt and uncle.

St. Joe’s is a very important school to my family. My grandfather, Joseph Werner, Ph.D., graduated in 1961, my aunt Liz Dineen in 1988 and my uncle Mike Dineen in 1988. Both graduations were held in what was formerly known as the Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse, now the very same Michael J. Hagan Arena where I have track practice every day and where I’ve been watching basketball games since before I can remember.

Despite all of this, however, I was hesitant to attend St. Joe’s. I was scared that the school wouldn’t be mine, that I was just going to “Pop-Pop’s School,” or that my aunt and uncle would just compare my St. Joe’s experience with theirs.

Luckily, that hasn’t been the case at all. In fact, my family’s history as Hawks has become one of my favorite parts about my college experience. In the months, weeks and days leading up to move-in, I always had something to talk to each family member about, because even if they didn’t attend the school, they each have some familiarity with the campus.

At family gatherings, everyone would ask me about my school. I would tell them about things that I was looking forward to doing, and they’d tell me about their favorite parts about St. Joe’s.

I look up to my grandfather a lot. He’s been a very influential role model for me, and an important one too, because I plan to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor. I was very little when I decided that I wanted to be a pediatrician, and I attribute that to watching my grandfather and his “magic” doctor’s bag cure us of all our ailments.

He’s told me that the professors here were the best he ever had, and not only did he learn biology, chemistry and anatomy from them, but they helped him to grow as both a student and as a person.

My family has passed the St. Joe’s baton on to me, and I’m so excited to run my leg of the relay. My grandfather gives St. Joe’s so much credit for his success. It’s always been very important to me that I do my best to make my family proud. I’m excited for the next four years because this is the time where I advance into adulthood. At St. Joe’s, I feel that I am in an environment where I can grow alongside my peers, but also alongside my family, because the school has such a presence in our lives, and it always will.

Some of my earliest memories are of going to St. Joe’s basketball games. My whole family would pack up the car, and meet my grandparents either at Hagan Arena, or at The Palestra to watch St. Joe’s take on another Philly Big 5 team. With my dad, a University of Pennsylvania alumnus, and my mom a graduate of Temple University, my grandfather always made an effort to get tickets for those Big 5 basketball games.

For the St. Joe’s versus Penn match, my grandparents sat on the St. Joe’s side, while the rest of my family sat on the Penn side. My dad would root for his school, while my brother, sister and I would cheer for both teams, even though St. Joe’s always had more spirit.

St. Joe’s spirit is the reason that I’m here. I observed this spirit as a little kid, and I still see it today. The students here love their school, and after they graduate, they become alumni who love their school just as much. Their children grow up wearing St. Joe’s gear, and they take their grandchildren to basketball games, where those kids will try their hardest to learn every single cheer, because who wouldn’t want to be a part of a team with more spirit than any other school out there?

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