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Keeping it in the family

For legacy families, the new Future Tigers Program engages the next generation.


They were both thinking it, but Preston ’93 and Nicole Kramer ’95 Renshaw didn’t want to be pushy when their oldest started looking at colleges.


There are a lot of schools out there to choose from, Preston said, but there’s only one Doane.


He’d heard as much from his own father, Jamie Renshaw ’68, who chose the Tigers as a student-athlete coming out of McCook. His experience was such a strong endorsement that three of his children—Preston, Amanda Renshaw McKinney ’98 and Alex Renshaw ’08—also chose Doane.


Their respective experiences groomed them for successful careers. For Preston, Doane gave him the chance to stay involved in everything he loved doing: competing in football and track, building brotherhood through Sigma Phi Theta fraternity, serving with student congress and even playing in the Symphonic Wind Ensemble.


When he was weighing his own college options as a senior at Odell High School (now Diller-Odell), he considered Doane as well as Kansas State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. But where he saw opportunities to continue following his many passions at Doane, he saw students making sacrifices at the bigger state schools.


“They give up a lot—music, sports, those things they so much enjoyed—and get so focused on their career that they really lose that whole journey in life,” says Preston, now a doctor of medicine and chief medical officer at Avera Health’s headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. “Life is so much more than just your career. It’s all of those other things that you enjoy in your life that make you more fulfilled as a person. That’s what Doane was able to offer all of us.”


So when Zachary Renshaw ’20 decided that Doane was the best fit, his parents breathed a deep, contented sigh of relief. The anxiety of having their first child leave for college waned when they knew of the experience and support he’d be getting in Crete.


“We wanted him to find that answer himself, but when he made that decision, the weight of the world comes off of you,” Preston says. “We’ve known the experience that all of us had collectively at Doane. When you know that and understand that, it makes these type of decisions so much easier.”


It’s comfort in knowing their son also made a sound investment in his college years. That’s what Doane wants to bring to other families like the Renshaws, who have a tradition of passing on a Doane education from generation to generation.


The Future Tigers Program is a joint effort by the university’s Alumni and Admission Offices to keep Doane in the family—recruiting new students who have a parent, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent or any other relative that graduated from Doane. By enrolling, these potential future Tigers will receive annual gifts from Doane and their information will be automatically shared with Doane’s admissions team.


It’s how you can share your love of Doane and keep your alma mater in the conversation.


After all, it was the familiarity with his parents’ and grandparents’ alma mater that made the biggest difference for Zachary.


Doane was always a topic of conversation, and when he visited the Crete campus with his parents, he could tell it was like home. They just kept bumping into faculty, staff and coaches that Preston and Nicole knew from their time as students.


“That camaraderie—how they still know everyone and how everyone that works here either was from here or they’ve fell in love with it so much that they’ve been here so long—is how I knew it was going to be the right pick for me,” Zachary says.


He’s in just his first semester at Doane and still undecided on a major. He wants to take advantage of Doane’s liberal arts education—that “broad base” of learning his grandpa Jamie told him about—to find his niche. Plus, he’s busy suiting up for the same Tiger Football program as his dad and learning from coaches Matt Franzen ’94 and Chris Bessler ’95, his dad’s college teammates.


Plus, he’s at Doane, which his family has come to love and embrace.


“When I was offered by Doane to play football, I jumped at the opportunity immediately because I’m going to the college that I already love but I get to play football, which I also love to do,” Zachary says. “It was an added bonus. It’s been a wonderful opportunity.”