On National Siblings Day, 5 sisters and 2 brothers reflect on their individual Miami experiences

BY DONNA BOEN ’83, MTSC ’96, MIAMIAN EDITOR

On National Siblings Day, we celebrate the more than 13,300 Miamians who have at least one brother or sister who also attended Miami University. You are Miami family in the truest sense.

Near the top of our “most Miami siblings list” is the Walter clan of Cincinnati. Bob started the trip north to Oxford when he earned a swimming scholarship. Sister Mamie decided to join him, both graduating in 1982.

Four sisters and one brother followed.

By the time it was the youngest’s turn to choose a college, Elizabeth ’93 didn’t apply anywhere else. Fourteen years younger than Bob, she considered Miami her home away from home when she moved into her first-year dorm. It helped that she could visit Fritzi ’90 and Eddie ’92, already at Miami as upperclass students. In the video below, Elizabeth paints the picture for us about what Miami meant to her and her family.

During a Zoom call ahead of National Siblings Day, many of the Walters shared some of their favorite Miami Experiences. Below, prepare to get nostalgic, as we look back at over a decade of Miami moments with the siblings who were fun and sweet to talk with. Exactly what you’d expect from a close-knit family. (To keep track of who is who, below is a cheat sheet with all their names, class years and majors)

SiblingMajor
Robert “Bob” Walter ’82 Marketing
Mary Agnes “Mamie” Walter Schroder ’82 Communications
Josephine Walter Funk ’84 Dietetics
Christine “Tina” Walter Kroencke ’86 Interior Design
Francine “Fritzi” Walter Vallota ’90 Interior Design
Edward Walter III ’92 Finance
Elizabeth Walter Maringer ’93 Communications
Though their oldest sibling, MaLissa Walter Geers, did not go to Miami, she shares her siblings’ love of Miami. Two of her four children are Miamians. Her twins, Lauren Geers Kelley ’05 and Emily Geers Faehnle ’05, also met their spouses there, becoming Miami Mergers. Bob’s eldest son, Gus Walter, followed the family tradition and attended Miami as well.
Walter siblings and their Miami Merger spouses.

Best Miami memory in honor of National Siblings Day?

Mamie: “Loved my education and my friends, and I keep up with all of them today. So a shoutout to anybody from the early ’80s!”

Elizabeth: “One of my favorite, non-family-related experiences at Miami was living in that freshman dorm … I lived in Morris Hall, which at the time was the only coed, air-conditioned dorm on campus. It was such a fantastic experience to live and be with so many different kinds of people and get to know them on such a different level than I had before. My college roommate and my neighbor down the hall and some of the guys downstairs, they became my best friends at Miami. The relationships are a big part of the college experience.”

Tina: “All the (Walter) sisters who went through ended up pledging the same sorority (TriDelts), and we all had a wonderful sorority life at Miami. My sorority sisters and I, we still see each other, we text all the time, we get together at least every year, every other year. The Miami friendships that I made are some of the strong[est] friendships still.”

Favorite class, favorite place to study?

Tina: “I liked studying at King Library because it was a little bit of studying and a little bit of social time. We called it facetime.”

Lauren, a second-generation Walter who attended Miami with her twin sister: “My sister and I, we studied abroad. We did Latin America during summer. I would say those were some of my favorite courses because we were in Costa Rica. It was amazing.”

Sweetest family time on campus?

Josie: “My parents were wonderful with coming up every month. They wanted to let the younger siblings get to know the older siblings.”

Tina: “You never knew they were coming. For the 10 o’clock mass, they’d come at 8 o’clock for breakfast. That would mean they would invade either your dorm room or later your off-campus housing with our family until you got yourself ready.”

Lauren: “I remember going up with you, Elizabeth, and participating on something on the Slant Walk. Having that common knowledge, that binds you. It’s great to have that camaraderie within a family even though there are years that separate you.”

Elizabeth: “My oldest sister, MaLissa went to the University of Cincinnati, but two of her twin daughters, Lauren, who’s talking here, and Emily ’05, both went to Miami to follow the family tradition, so MaLissa feels totally included in the Miami tradition as well.”

What did Miami athletics mean to the family?

Bob, the first to attend, spent a good deal of his time at Miami under water. A butterflier who won the Mid-American Conference title in the 100 butterfly all of his four years, he could count on his dad bringing the entire family to every home meet and major championship.

Bob: “They were the only ones in the stands.”

Tina: “Not true.”

Bob: “No, it was fun seeing the family there. It helped fill it up. That’s for sure.”

Elizabeth: “It was so much fun going to those swim meets. I can’t tell you. Both my brothers swam for Miami. The athletic program did a really great job. I feel sorry for all the people who are in sports right now during COVID and not being able to have your family there to support you. We were all there dressed in our red.”

What about cost to your parents?

Tina: “My parents sacrificed a lot to pay for Miami. The most important thing, they always said, was our education. When one went and had such good results, it really changed the course of the rest of the family, and they were OK with all of us going.”

Bob: “Miami was only an hour away. They would drag all the kids up there when I was there. Probably not by choice, but that was very important to Mom and Dad, keeping the family close and keeping everyone together.”

Tina: “My parents did amazing things. How many people are able to do what they did? All of us got a college education. All of us went on to get married and essentially live happy lives.”

Bob: “The thing about that is, we all actually get along. In-laws, out-laws, everybody. That’s very unusual with eight children and eight spouses.”

Tina: “I think that we enjoy being together. We’re very lucky.”

Do you have a National Siblings Day moment to share? Share your favorite Miami siblings memory in the comments!

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