9/13/2011 Chris Karlesky ’01

Scheining Lights

A Family, a College and a Legacy of Excellence


  •  (l-r) Johanna ‘11, Jan ‘78, Hallie ‘07 and Chelsea ‘11 at their home in Maryland. (l-r) Johanna ‘11, Jan ‘78, Hallie ‘07 and Chelsea ‘11 at their home in Maryland.

On a quiet summer morning in Baltimore, Jan Bernhardt Schein ’78 smiles as she spreads a series of pictures across a table. Spanning more than three decades, the images capture not only Schein’s time as a Franklin & Marshall student, but that of her three daughters, Hallie Schein ’07 and twins Chelsea Schein ’11 and Johanna Schein ’11. The pictures—taken at scores of locations across the F&M campus—are Schein family classics.

  • Jan stands at the Marshall Gate in front of Old Main. Jan stands at the Marshall Gate in front of Old Main.

One image shows Jan standing at the Marshall Gate in front of Old Main, circa 1977. Another photo was taken at the same place several years later, with Jan holding the hand of a grinning Hallie during the youngster’s first visit to campus. Hallie also appears in more recent pictures, donning a cap and gown at her sun-splashed Commencement.

And then there are the photos of the three daughters together, bundled up in winter and beaming in springtime. Perhaps their favorite was taken in the early 1990s, near the entrance to Marshall Hall, where their mother and Hallie both lived during their first years at F&M. Later pictures show the daughters with professors, deans and presidents, painting a picture of F&M history in addition to Schein family history.

In May, the College’s 224th Commencement provided the latest chapter in the Schein scrapbook. Chelsea and Johanna both graduated summa cum laude after receiving numerous honors throughout their academic careers, with Chelsea winning the Williamson Medal, the College’s most prestigious student award. Jan and her husband, Jay, watched with Hallie as the twins received their diplomas in the Alumni Sports & Fitness Center. The pictures they took are the most recent reminders of how a family’s connection to Franklin & Marshall kindled a legacy of excellence.

A Tradition Begins

The Schein tradition at Franklin & Marshall might never have begun if the College had a foreign language requirement in the mid-1970s. That, Jan says, was one reason she thought F&M looked appealing.

“I applied to F&M because it had no language requirement, no physical education requirement, and there were substantially more men than some other schools,” Jan says in her office at the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Community High School in Baltimore, where she is chief financial officer.

“Her daughter, the college counselor, loves that reasoning,” says Hallie, seated nearby, who was hired to create the college-counseling department at Cardin in 2007.

Jan’s first weeks as an F&M student in 1974 were not enjoyable ones. Like many students who go away to a competitive academic environment for the first time, she remembers feeling a bit overwhelmed. Her boyfriend and future husband, Jay, was attending the University of Pennsylvania after being placed on the waiting list at F&M a year earlier. Jan made regular weekend trips to Philadelphia throughout her first year.

But Jan remained a student at F&M and decided to major in accounting. She had classes with several influential professors, including Sandy Pinsker and Robert Russell in the Department of English. She also took a course with Professor Conrad Kasperson during his first semester in the Department of Business, becoming the first of three Schein women to have a class with Kasperson.

But the person Jan remembers the most is her academic adviser, Alan Glazer ’69, the Henry P. and Mary B. Stager Professor of Business.

Jan took several courses with Glazer, who was a newly minted professor not much older than she. When Jan needed a place to live during her senior year, Glazer and his wife, Linda, offered her a room in their house near campus. The only kicker would be that the house environment would change drastically mid-semester, when Linda was due to give birth.

“That was kind of fun,” Glazer says. “We smuggled Jan into the hospital so she could see the baby. I don’t know if we said she was my sister or my wife’s sister, but we got her in. She even helped put the crib together for our daughter.”

Jan graduated one semester early, in December 1977. She kept in touch with several friends from campus, but it was her correspondence with Glazer that helped her develop a deeper connection with the College after she left Lancaster. “In those days, you’d still write letters,” Jan says. “Alan and Linda came to my wedding, and we kept in touch well for the first few years. I’d say my connection with F&M was greater after I graduated than when I was a student.”

As the years passed, the families remained in contact. The Glazers would stop down to Baltimore for dinner, and went to the girls’ bat mitzvahs. Glazer still has not forgotten the twins’ bat mitzvah, when the rabbi could not distinguish between Chelsea and Johanna. “The girls switched nametags to play a joke, and the rabbi could not tell them apart,” Glazer says.

A New Generation of Fummers

  • (l-r) Johanna, Chelsea and Hallie stand in front of their mom’s old dorm in the early 1990s. (l-r) Johanna, Chelsea and Hallie stand in front of their mom’s old dorm in the early 1990s.

The Schein family also maintained ties to Franklin & Marshall by visiting campus several times during the 1980s and 1990s. Jan, Jay and the girls would often stop by F&M on the way to see family members in central Pennsylvania. Those trips produced many of the classic family photos in the Schein scrapbook and also introduced the girls to the fun parts of F&M and Buchanan Park.

“One of my first memories is the big, huge slide in Buchanan Park,” Chelsea says.

Hallie applied to F&M via Early Decision in 2002. She visited other colleges, but F&M quickly rose to the top of the list. “I knew I could get involved at F&M, and I liked that small-school feel,” Hallie says. “I felt very confident there. All the schools I considered were liberal arts schools. I remember looking at lists and thinking, ‘F&M’s better in this, F&M’s better in that.’”

Hallie was active in campus life, working in the Office of Admission for four years, both as a tour guide and an intern. She also served as president of Hillel; participated in Putting it Together in the Community, a four-day service program that takes place before students begin Orientation; and performed with Sweet Ophelia, an all-female a cappella group. “My best memories are working on Hillel committees and sitting around the fireplace at the Admission house,” she says.

In 2007, Hallie graduated cum laude with a major in sociology and minor in public policy. A Dana and Presidential Scholar, she earned membership in Alpha Kappa Delta National Sociology Honor Society. As Hallie prepared for life after college, Johanna and Chelsea applied Early Decision to F&M in 2006. “Every other school just didn’t seem right,” Chelsea says. Thus the third and fourth members of the family were bound for Lancaster. They attended Beginnings, a program for incoming students, three days after Hallie walked across the Commencement stage.

“It’s a sign of confidence to send your child to your alma mater,” Glazer says. “It’s just wonderful. I was surprised not that Hallie came, but that the twins did, too.”

Chelsea and Johanna quickly forged their own identities at F&M in the College House system. They lived in Ware College House from the time they entered F&M until they graduated, serving in several leadership roles. “We bought into the House system immediately,” says Johanna, who, like Chelsea, was a House adviser (HA) for three years. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else because the community aspect is so powerful. As HAs, we were able to encourage students to get involved. Even in a short time between September and May, you can see growth in students.”

Joel Eigen, Charles A. Dana Professor of Sociology and don of Ware College House, says the twins positively affected the culture of the House. “Chelsea and Johanna led by example, working to bring others into the conversation and life of the House,” Eigen says. “Honestly, when I think of the reasons why the House System was attractive to me, it was the promise of working with such talented and inspiring students.”

Living the Liberal Arts

Franklin & Marshall underwent numerous changes between Jan Schein’s first semester and the graduation of her daughters. Gone are Hartman Hall and the large water towers looming over the southern edge of campus. Many new buildings have cropped up for student housing, academics and athletics. And the student body now has a higher number of women than men, a contrast to those first years after coeducation in 1969.

  • The three sisters—(l-r) Johanna, Hallie and Chelsea—celebrate Hallie’s graduation in 2007. The three sisters—(l-r) Johanna, Hallie and Chelsea—celebrate Hallie’s graduation in 2007.

But the constant over time has been the liberal arts environment. Each of the Schein women is quick to recall her own moments of “great teaching, great learning,” the name of the College’s recent yearlong celebration of the liberal arts. “We grew up with the idea of a liberal arts education, knowing that college is not just career training,” Johanna says.

Jan recalls her introductory anthropology class with James Taggart, the Lewis Audenreid Professor of History and Archaeology. “We learned how to make family trees. Years later, I wanted to show my daughters who they were named after, and I started doing my own genealogical research,” says Jan, who earned a master’s in business from Johns Hopkins University.

The research eventually resulted in a book on Jan’s synagogue titled On Three Pillars: The History of Chizuk Amuno Congregation, 1871-1996. “So the accounting major writes a history book,” Chelsea quips. What better example of the liberal arts in action?

Hallie, who will begin a new job as director of college counseling at Delaware Valley Friends School this fall, says she realized the value of her F&M education as a graduate student at Loyola University Maryland. “I was doing statistical analysis in journals, and my professors asked, ‘Do you write?’ I said, ‘Yes, I learned at F&M.’”

Over the past four years, Chelsea and Johanna have squeezed about as much from their liberal arts education as is permitted by time. They have blazed eclectic trails of high-quality research, influential community service and leadership in student life. Both are members of Phi Beta Kappa and a host of other honor societies. Chelsea won the prestigious Edward S. Reed Prize and the Stanley Craig Memorial Award, among others. Johanna won a Rouse Scholarship, which is awarded to students who have demonstrated unusual leadership at F&M while achieving academic excellence and covers the cost of tuition, books and other expenses.

Research is in their blood. A two-time summer Hackman Scholar, Chelsea co-authored a paper on akrasia, or “weakness of will,” with 2005 Williamson Medalist Eranda Jayawickreme ’05 and Professor of Psychology Michael Penn. Johanna produced a series of research projects as an American studies major, culminating in her exhibition of Lewis Wickes Hine’s WPA photographs of Hamilton Watch workers in Great Depression Lancaster, which was held this spring at the Lancaster Public Library.

“Jo is one of the best students I’ve ever taught,” says David Schuyler, the Arthur and Katherine Shadek Professor of Humanities and American Studies. “Both Jo and Chelsea are extraordinarily smart and high-achieving students, and that comes from their parents.”

  • (l-r) Jan, Chelsea, Jay and Johanna enjoy a family moment at Commencement 2011. (l-r) Jan, Chelsea, Jay and Johanna enjoy a family moment at Commencement 2011.

Commencement 2011 was always going to be special for the Scheins, with the twins continuing the family legacy of F&M graduates. The ceremony took on a new meaning when Chelsea received a phone call from the Office of the Dean of the College in early May. Johanna accompanied her sister to visit Dean of the College Kent Trachte.

“I went into Dean Trachte’s office, and he said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve won the Williamson Medal,’” Chelsea says. “I started crying. I went out and told Jo, and we just hugged for a minute or two.”

Upon leaving Old Main, the twins went to their “home away from home,” F&M’s Klehr Center for Jewish Life. The Klehr Center is the focal point for Jewish life and programming on campus, and a place all three Schein daughters spent much of their free time as students. Still absorbing the big news, the twins sat on the floor and reached for their cell phones. Johanna called Hallie, while Chelsea called Jan.

“Mom, I think we fooled them all,” Chelsea began, as she told her mother about the award.

Four Schein women, talking to each other on the phone on such a happy occasion. What a picture that would be.

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