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When tucking his children in bed, Henry Ryder ’67 lulled them to sleep with Lafayette songs like the alma mater and “Way Down in Easton.” He insists, however, that as they advanced through high school, Carrie Ryder ’00, Steven Ryder ’01, and Suzanne Ryder ’05 all had free rein when selecting a college. With Suzanne’s enrollment this fall, the Ryders became the second family in Lafayette history with three Marquis Scholars. The first trio included Michelle LaBuz ’99, Cheryl LaBuz ’02, and James LaBuz ’04.

“We never expected or directly encouraged any of them to attend Lafayette,” says Ryder, of Pitman, N.J. “But all of them have been exposed to Lafayette since infancy. They attended my reunions in 1982, 1987, 1992, and 1997. One of their early memories of Lafayette is eating clam chowder on the Quad during Homecomings. I, of course, had no idea at that time where they would want to go to college, but I thought that at least they would know about Lafayette and have it as a choice if they desired.”

The Ryder children all received attractive offers to attend a particular college, and Steve was accepted to Duke, Swarthmore, and Johns Hopkins. The clincher for the Ryders’ choice was their selection as Marquis Scholars. “Their experiences with the program were all positive-the trips, the cultural activities on campus, the interim abroad,” says Ryder. “Suzi is eagerly anticipating the experience of being a Marquis Scholar when she arrives in August.”

Carrie graduated summa cum laude with honors in geology, basing her thesis on research conducted as an EXCEL Scholar in Nevada. She also was a McKelvy Scholar and a campus radio DJ. She received the James L. Dyson Geology Award and the Rexroth Prize in German. She is now a geologist for URS in Long Island, N.Y.

Steven graduated summa cum laude with honors in mechanical engineering and received the Mechanical Engineering Faculty Award. Like Carrie, he is a member of multiple honorary societies, including Phi Beta Kappa. As an EXCEL Scholar, he designed a car frame for a vehicle entered in the annual mini-Baja off-road competition in one project, and in another, he studied the mixing of viscous liquids. He was a member of the Lafayette Organization of Science and Technology, played drums in the pep band, and served as computer-system manager for The Lafayette. He won a fellowship to study nanotechnology at the University of California, Berkeley.

While alumni typically are thrilled when children continue their college legacy, the LaBuz family, of Drums, Pa., had no prior Lafayette connection when Michelle enrolled. She and her siblings have established a strong tradition of their own: all three are chemical engineering majors who have been involved in Lafayette’s music program.

“Having an engineering program in a liberal arts college has let all of the children explore their musical talent,” says their mother, Carmella. “Michelle played music for the chorus and one of the theater productions. Cheryl also took private piano lessons. Jim accompanied the choir, as well as taking piano lessons and giving recitals. (He also plays keyboard for the orchestra.) Music wasn’t their major, but they were able to pursue the fine arts at Lafayette.”

“We can’t praise the school enough,” adds their father, James P. LaBuz. “Michelle received an excellent education. When she took her internships at Merck, they were extremely impressed with her performance and the quality of the chemical engineering program offered at Lafayette. That was one of the things that led us to continue pushing our children toward Lafayette and the educational opportunities there.” After internships at Merck in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia as a student, Michelle took a job with the company in Lansdale, Pa.

Cheryl interned at Merck in Danville, Pa. for two years before accepting an internship with a Proctor & Gamble paper products in Mahoopany, Pa. “They have made special mention of her ability to handle the statistical part of evaluating how to cut paper more efficiently,” says LaBuz. “They were impressed that Lafayette offered a design course that included statistics. Most people at the plant didn’t have that depth of knowledge.” Cheryl traveled to Brazil, the River Plate, and the Andes for a 2000-01 interim course. The class investigated the cultural development of South America from pre-Columbian through modern times by visiting archeological sites, museums, churches, and other places of interest.

James worked with Ricardo Bogaert-Alvarez, assistant professor of chemical engineering, on an EXCEL Scholars project this summer that explored electrochemical noise analysis of pitting corrosion in austenitic stainless steel by chloride salts.

Five more LaBuz children will have the opportunity to apply to Lafayette in the upcoming years. “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the rest will follow suit,” their father says.

Categorized in: Alumni