The seventeenth member of her family to attend UMHB, senior international business major Bethany Greeson has connections to the university going back to the 1920s.
The first family member to attend was Flossie Stack Hudson in 1923 when UMHB was an all-girls school, and the family has followed in her footsteps. In the subsequent years, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and in-laws have attended the university.
Originally, Bethany was unsure about continuing the tradition, but after coming to visit her older brother, alumnus Dennis Greeson, she changed her mind.
“At first I did not want to continue the tradition, but after I visited the campus and spent the night with my now sister-in-law in Burt and got to be a part of Play Day the next day, I fell in love with the campus,” Bethany said.
Her parents, Kevin and Holley, are both graduates of UMHB as well. Kevin was an English and history education major while Holley majored in business administration.
“I loved the small classes and the personal attention that I got in the business school,” Holley said. “I loved campus life and all the different activities and the opportunity to be involved in different ministries.”
Like her mom, Bethany also likes the size of the campus, as well as many other aspects of the school.
“I grew up going to small private international schools, and so I really like having a smaller campus and classes. I love that UMHB has held to their values very tightly and that the professors actually care about you,” she said.
Bethany went to Grace International School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, during high school.
“There are so many different cultures, and I mostly attended Christian international schools, and the teachers didn’t get paid. They were volunteers who taught in the states. They really poured into your life and cared about you, your education and your walk with God,” Bethany said.
Her brother and sister-in-law, alumni Dennis and Audrey Chumchal Greeson, both attended UMHB and graduated in 2010, Dennis with a degree in outdoor recreational leadership and Audrey in biblical studies.
Throughout the years, the Greesons have all been involved on campus.
An event that the Greesons have in common is Easter Pageant. Kevin directed it in 1984. Dennis played Jesus his senior year, and Bethany has been a cast member.
Bethany is in the Miss UMHB pageant this year, an event that her mom co-directed in 1983. Her sister-in-law, Audrey, was Miss UMHB in 2007 and directed it her senior year.
As teenagers, Kevin and Holley were in the same youth group back in their hometown of Portland, Texas. Kevin was two years ahead of Holley and had heard about UMHB from their pastor.
“I came and we started dating again after my first semester and got engaged after my freshman year,” Holley said.
Soon siblings, in-laws, and children followed in their footsteps.
“My oldest brother Rick and his wife Terri and their three kids and two of the spouses came — my younger brother Rusty and his wife Laurie and her two sisters and their husbands. My son and his wife Audrey, also Audrey’s sister, and my daughter Bethany and hopefully my youngest son TJ. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about it,” Holley said.
Dr. Steve Theodore, vice president for administration and chief operating officer was the roommate of Bethany’s uncle, Rusty Atkinson.
“It is encouraging to see families such as the Greesons send so many of their family members to UMHB throughout the years. It is an affirmation of what we’ve been doing since 1845,” Theodore said.
Holley said UMHB has changed since she attended, but some things remain the same.
She said, “Of course, the UMHB of today is bigger and yet still has the same small university feel to it.”