All in the Family
Freshmen Abby Moore, Tara Prato Morrison and Samantha Armacost.
Each of the University’s past presidents left their mark on campus, and now, it’s time for a new generation of Armacost, Moore, and Duke descendants to do the same.
In August, Samantha Armacost of Oakland, California; Abby Moore of Redlands; and Tara Prato Morrison of Orangevale, California arrived at the University of Redlands as part of the Class of 2016. The trio didn’t know one another, but they all shared one thing in common: they were related to one of the University’s former presidents.
“I feel at home here in a way,” said Armacost, whose great-grandfather, George Armacost, served as president from 1945 to 1970. “It’s such an honor to be here to carry on the tradition.”
Despite Armacost and Prato Morrison living in Northern California, all three were very familiar with the University of Redlands campus. Armacost had recently visited with her grandfather, who grew up in the Alumni House, and Prato Morrison came down during the Centennial celebration while in the eighth grade.
“We toured the campus, and I just loved it,” said Prato Morrison, the great-great-great-niece of Victor LeRoy Duke, the University’s president from 1915 to 1933.
As for Moore, whose grandfather Douglas Moore was president from 1978 to 1987, growing up in Redlands made her connection to the University even stronger. Following her grandfather’s unexpected death while in office, his wife, Rebecca Moore, continued to take part in several University and community organizations.
“My grandmother was a huge supporter of the University,” Moore said. “She loved being the president’s wife. She was really involved with one of the sororities, and used to bring me to a lot of stuff, like Easter egg hunts. She loved the university with everything she had, and put a lot into it.”
Several of the University’s buildings are named after past movers and shakers, including the Armacost Library and Duke Hall. Armacost was a bit worried about how that would affect her on campus.
“I didn’t want to come here to be known as the Armacost girl,” she said.
So far, that hasn’t been a problem, although some students have asked her if “she’s related to the Armacost Library guy.”
“People do perk up when they hear my last name,” she said. “And it is kind of weird to see it on a building, but it’s more of an honor. It wasn’t my hard work that is up there, but I really love to see that my family has made a mark somewhere, and I hope I can keep it up.”
For Moore, having a common last name has been an advantage.
“I had one professor say that my name was familiar and where did he know it from, so I said that my grandpa was president,” she said. “But I really don’t get recognized.”
Each of the women have had relatives attend the school, with Moore’s father even receiving his diploma from her grandfather.
“It’s nice to know I’ve had family here,” Prato Morrison said. “It feels like home even though it’s not, because so many have been here.”
All three of the past presidents died before their descendants could get to know them, but Moore has been told by several people that she reminds them of her late grandfather.
“I’ve heard many stories about him, and supposedly I’m a little bit like my grandfather,” she said. “I think that is a really great thing because he sounded like a great person.”