Night and day, this family thrives on the Muhlenberg experience By Kimberly Scheese '02 Numerous students have followed in their parents' footsteps by graduating from Muhlenberg College. In the case of the Kreider family, however, it was father Richard who followed the academic lead of his sons Steven '03 and Jonathan '04.
After selling the family business a few years ago, Richard says he "had a driving passion to get a bachelor's degree with his extra time." He began this quest at Delaware Valley College, but was attracted to what he calls the "more prestigious" reputation of Muhlenberg. After looking at the college with Steve, Richard became more interested in the programs of study and requirements for admission.
While Muhlenberg's Allentown campus was appealing to Richard, he was hesitant to infringe on his son's college experience. Therefore he looked into Muhlenberg's Evening College in nearby Easton, Pa. With two years of undergraduate work already completed, Richard learned that he could enroll in the 22-month evening program.
This way, he says, he could let his son "concentrate in Allentown without worrying about Dad being there all the time."
Steve, a business and political science double major, expresses an appreciation for this distance, but also maintains that he is very proud of his father for going after his dream. While they are not enrolled in the same programs, Steve still gets to see his father on a fairly regular basis. Richard tries to attend as many of Steve's football games as possible, and the family sometimes gets together for dinners.
When younger brother Jon began looking at colleges, Muhlenberg was an option, but not on the top of his list. He had initially wanted to attend college independently, but he says that Muhlenberg "had so many diverse opportunities to satisfy his theatre and academic interests," that the school was extremely appealing.
In addition to a history and political science double major, Jon is involved in the theatre department, having performed in last year's opera as well as Candlelight Carols services in the Egner Memorial Chapel. These events also provided an opportunity for Richard to see his two sons outside of their family's home in Doylestown, Pa.
While Richard has kept a healthy distance from Jon and Steve, the Kreider sons do not seem to mind attending Muhlenberg together. Steve mentions that while they occasionally get together for a meal or to say hello, they pretty much stick to their own circle of friends.
This does not stop them from being involved in the College Republicans organization together. As political science majors, both sons have an interest in politics and do not mind participating in a mutual on-campus activity. In addition, Jon and Steve have both taken courses with common professors in the business department, but have never done so at the same time.
Even though Richard enrolled in the Evening College program after Steve had completed his freshman year, he will still become the first of the Kreiders to graduate from Muhlenberg. Due to the condensed time frame of the evening program, Richard will complete his requirements in time to graduate in May 2002. Once Richard has his bachelorŐs degree, he intends to seek employment in what he describes as "a market where such a degree comes in very handy."
He also plans to continue his education at the graduate level, and aspires to teach at the college level some day. As for now, he hopes to re-enter the work force to apply the skills he has acquired at Muhlenberg. He firmly believes that he is "learning cutting edge stuff that a bachelor's degree program 20 years ago could not have provided me with."
The Evening College program has provided Richard and his colleagues with the opportunity to learn at a different level than the traditional day-school environment. Since most evening college students are also working, the courses are geared toward group presentation and independent reading.
This varies from the style of daytime classes where tests and papers are prevalent, but is just as intense an education. Richard says that adults have different time constraints to negotiate than your average college student, so presentations and group assignments are a more appropriate fit.
Much like their father, Jon and Steve also intend to further their education after Muhlenberg. Jon plans to go to law school with a concentration in medical malpractice, while Steve would like to do management consulting. As for their undergraduate experiences however, all three Kreiders are extremely happy. And, no matter what path this unique trio should happen to select down the road, one thing is for sure; they will always have the fond memories of the place where it all began.