Five Generations of Grads

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Fall 2015

By Meleah Maynard

When she graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Anna Christine Roesler (B.A. ’15) became the 25th member of her family to earn a degree from the University of Minnesota. To mark the occasion, she added her name to a poster her grandmother, Dorothy (Dottie) Phelps Anderson (A.A. ’49), made that lists the names and majors of all 25 who have attended the U for five generations.

Five generationsDottie Phelps Anderson, Betsy Anderson Roesler, and Anna Christine Roesler point to their names on the poster Dottie made listing all 25 members of the family to graduate from the U.

Dorothy’s grandmother, Dorothy (Dolly) Slade Kurtzman (’19), was the first family member to attend the University when, in 1910, she moved from Rochester to the Twin Cities with her 6-year-old daughter. As a newly single mother, she knew she needed to find a good job to provide for the two of them.

She set her sights on becoming a nurse, earning her degree in 1919. Kurtzman taught the school’s first public health course and directed the public health program from 1919 to 1921. Next she served as assistant superintendent of nurses before assuming the role of superintendent (now known as dean) of nurses from 1924 to 1934.

Her daughter, Dorothy Kurtzman Phelps (B.S. ’25), carried on the family tradition of attending the U, earning a degree in art education. She was a member of the Delta Gamma sorority, which her daughter, Dorothy Phelps Anderson, also joined. Her husband, Rev. Roger R. Anderson (B.S. ’49), a member of Alpha Delta Phi, graduated with a degree in philosophy and history. After earning a divinity degree from Yale, he became the founding pastor of Christ Presbyterian Church in Edina, Minnesota. Together, they raised 10 children, including Anna’s mom, Elizabeth (Betsy) Anderson Roesler (B.S. ’81).

“My parents never said we had to go to the U, but college was definitely the next step after high school and there was no question about that,” recalls Roesler, who served as president of the Alpha Phi sorority and lettered in gymnastics. In all, six of the siblings attended the University, but the whole family enjoys going to Gopher football games together, watching Homecoming parades, and attending concerts at Northrop.

In 1989, Betsy married Bruce Roesler (M.H.A. ’85). In June, she accompanied Anna to Raleigh, North Carolina, to help her move into an apartment and begin a new job in public relations. “It was so exciting to see her walk across that stage at Mariucci,” Roesler says. “Seeing the poster really made clear how significant the U has been to our family and how it all goes back to 1919.”


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