Fifth-generation Jayhawk joins family flock

Posted on Jun 15, 2016 in Alumni News and News

The Nickel Family | www.kualumni.orgIt only took 18 years and nearly 40 college-campus visits for Rob Nickel to determine he wanted to go to KU. Although he hailed from a proud lineage of diehard Jayhawks, his decision to follow tradition didn’t come easily.

“Throughout high school I was convinced that I wasn’t going to KU,” says Rob, who enters KU as a freshman this fall. “I thought it was too close, that too many of my friends and people from my school were going there. I wanted to go somewhere new.”

Rob’s family waited patiently for him to find his own path and fielded questions from inquisitive friends who wondered if the Nickel’s middle child would go where generations of family members had gone before him.

Not only did his parents, Mike, b’89, and Lisa Karr Nickel, c’89, graduate from KU, but his grandparents, Michael, ’64, and Janet Phelps Karr, ’66, and great-grandparents, Robert, l’32, and Dorothy Winsler Karr, c’29, and Edwin, e’36, and Yvonne White Phelps, ’35, attended the University. Even his great-great-grandparents, Thomas Jefferson Karr, l’00, and Benjamin, c’12, and Beulah Murphy White, c’12, were Jayhawks.

After Rob narrowed his list of prospects to 12 schools, he applied to seven, including KU. Once he got accepted into the University’s Self Engineering Leadership Fellows (SELF) and Honors Programs, he happily announced his decision in the most unique way: by making a video for his family, which featured all the schools he considered and ultimately, the one he chose.

“I figured that’d be a cool way to make this decision and have it stand out,” Rob says.

His family is delighted with his choice, not only because they’ve added a 5th-generation Jayhawk to their flock, but also because it was the perfect fit for Rob.

“While we were thrilled he wanted to be a Jayhawk, it wasn’t just because he wanted to be a Jayhawk,” says his mother, Lisa. “It was because he found the program, the school and the opportunities that were best for him. We’re proud that our alma mater provided that.”

—Heather Biele

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