Freshman follows 26 family members to MC

Freshman follows 26 family members to MC

Sept. 26, 2018

Isaac Wiley with grandparentsFor nearly a century, relatives of Isaac Wiley ’22 have been attending Maryville College. This fall, the 18-year-old continues the legacy as the 27th member of his family to enroll.

Despite growing up in Ohio, Isaac has been around the College for much of his life. He has grandparents, aunts and cousins who attended the College and now live in Maryville.  He said that his familiarity with the area is what led him to consider Maryville College for his undergraduate degree.

 “I’d always been around the area for family events,” Isaac said. “I fell in love with the mountains and everything around it.”

He spent about a week in Maryville with his family before Freshman Move-In Day on Aug. 16, staying with his grandparents, Jean Currie Beard ’64 and Bob Beard ’64, who also attended Maryville College. Jean was an elementary education major; Bob studied math but transferred after two years to study physics at Auburn University.

While Jean and Bob knew of each other while at Maryville College, their relationship began later when they reconnected in graduate school at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Bob went on to work in aerospace management and spent time working for both NASA and the FAA.

After retiring, the couple relocated to Maryville from Maryland because they liked the town and wanted to be close to the College. Despite not graduating from Maryville College, Bob said he still feels a strong connection to the school, and his family thinks of him as an alumnus.

“I went to an engineering school, but I always thought it was important to have a liberal arts background,” Bob said. “In my career, the liberal arts background was extremely important. It helped me move into management and understand people a whole lot better.”

Isaac’s family has been a part of the Maryville College community since the late 1920s. In fact, some familiar Maryville College landmarks are named after his relatives. The McArther Pavilion is named after his great-granduncle, the late David McArthur ’36, and Grace Proffitt McArthur ’35, and the Proffit Dining Room is named after a distant uncle, the late David Proffitt ’16.

For some members in Isaac’s family, it was always evident that they would attend Maryville College. Isaac’s cousin and David and Grace McArthur’s daughter, Alida McArthur Graves ’69, grew up across the street from the football field. As a child, she could hear the cheers from her bedroom window and always knew she’d attend Maryville College. She’s again living in her childhood home and participates in College activities as an alumna.

Recruited to play baseball

Family connections alone do not account for Isaac deciding on Maryville College. What really tipped the scale was the baseball team and MC Baseball Coach Cody Church.

“Coach Church is a young guy who I think can definitely relate to the guys more, and the baseball field is gorgeous,” he said.

Church said he was excited to begin working with Isaac, as well, but he had no idea about the student-athlete’s family ties when he began recruiting him.

“Isaac is a very talented pitcher that we immediately knew had the talent to be a great player at the next level. Through the recruiting process, his maturity, leadership qualities and academic ability really began to shine through,” Church said. “Finding out that he knew the area and that his family was already very familiar with the type of institution Maryville College is, we knew the likelihood of enrolling him was very good. The recruitment process was smooth.”

The coach added that enrolling legacies helps explain the value of the Maryville College education and experience to other prospective students.

“When family members have such a great experience somewhere that they are willing to send their children or grandchildren there to have that same experience, I don’t think there can be a bigger endorsement,” he said.

Surrounded by support

Isaac’s mom, Linda Wiley, she said she’s thankful to be sending him to a college where he’ll have support.

“From a mom’s perspective, it’s very comforting to know there’s so much support around him and so many eyes on him,” she said.

As he begins his freshman year, Isaac said he’s looking forward to getting to know his teammates and getting involved in other campus activities. He admitted that he feels some pressure to live up to his extensive family ties to the College, but he’s thankful for built-in support.

“I feel like there’s a little bit of pressure, and that’s a little intimidating. But it’s nice knowing that there are people who know the College and can support me,” Isaac said.

This year, Isaac can be found in classrooms and the library, studying exercise science for pre-physical therapy, as well as the baseball field and batting cage.

As for local family members, they can be found this year cheering for Isaac at baseball games, singing in the reunion concert choirs and volunteering at Kin Takahashi Week.

They said they are “thrilled” to welcome another relative into the Maryville College family.

Other legacies in the Class of 2022 include:

Written by Evy Linkous ’17 for Maryville College


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2018 semester is 1,154.