While we’ve previously featured pairs of Kenyon Siblings and Cousins, today we bring you Kenyon Legacies. Parents and children who’ve both attended Kenyon. Today, we feature Pegi Goodman and Maia Leeds. This mother and daughter pair have both been students of sweet Kenyon, and here they share their stories.
Maia Leeds ‘18 and Pegi Goodman ‘73
Pegi: I was an honors History major. If I hadn’t majored in history, I would have probably been a poli-sci major like Maia. In fact, there was a wonderful poli sci Professor that asked me to major after my first seminar in the department which I think was “Totalitarianism.” I considered it but by then I had already experienced so many great history classes and professors that it was easy to chose history.
Maia: Political Science major and Italian minor
Where are you from?
Pegi: Maia and I are both from Scarsdale. In fact we live in the house I grew up in. Yup, Maia and I went to the same High School. As did her brother Samuel who also went to Kenyon.
What on-campus leadership positions/extracurriculars?
Pegi: I was in the Drama Club big time. Back in my day, everyone, no matter what their major, could actively participate in productions in the Hill Theater. I spent so much time working in the Drama Club that I was named a “Hill Player.” I was in the fabulous 1970 production of Marat Sade. I had “walk ons” at least once a year and I was known for my blood curdling screams–I was the Hill Theater Screamer. Notably, I also portrayed the rear end of a two-person stag costume in the “King’s Stag.” However, my largest contribution was as a costume designer and producer for quite a number of the main season plays in the Hill theater during my time at Kenyon.
Maia: I work in the President’s Office as a Student Assistant. I am also Pledge Chair of the Archon Society.
What do you do for a living?
Pegi: I am a graphic designer. Formerly I was a publications designer, but now most of my work is in the digital realm.
What similarities have you encountered in your respective Kenyon experiences? Differences? Any shared traditions/etc?
Pegi: This past fall when I dropped off Maia, we discovered she was living in the same New Apt Building that I lived in my senior year when the apartments were in fact NEW. The community of Kenyon students, professors, et al seems to be as strong and caring now as it was when I was in Gambier. I think the students are a lot brighter and more accomplished now. But I worry that the school is becoming more elitist as the cost of a Kenyon education has outpaced inflation over the years and scholarships are not plentiful. Maia is an Archon. I hung out with the then all-male Archons, but all I could be was an “Archette”
Maia: Throughout my childhood I heard legendary stories about my mom’s time at Kenyon in the 70’s. I think the essence of Kenyon has definitely changed since her college years. The relationship between professors and students still exists but to a certain extent has become less personal than it once was. I’m not sure if that’s due to the fact that professors and students can’t get sloshed at the VI or pierce pub like they did in the early 1970s but alas. My mom still keeps in touch with a lot of her friends from Kenyon and I think being part of the first class of women created a special bond. Those long lasting friendships that come out of spending four years in rural Gambier continue to live on.
You’re a graduate of Kenyon’s first coed class, the class of 1973. What was it like being a part of a monumental moment in the college’s history?
Pegi: Oh Golly, that’s an interview in itself. It was certainly heady being a “pioneer”. Did you know that the first class voted to not have sororities? Yes, there were times it was difficult. There were some upper class men who were not happy about the change to the school. Some were nasty in classes, and there was some “cat-calling” in Pierce when women walked down the center aisle to the food service. But I think most of that first class of women were—and are— tough cookies up the challenge. Challenges were large and small–like the absence of women’s bathrooms in many buildings. And when we arrived, our dorm was not ready. Some women lived with professors and other community members, I lived in the infirmary. We more than survived, we flourished, and every one of us that made it through those 4 years feels deservedly proud.
Did you encourage Maia to apply to Kenyon or did you (Maia) reach the decision independently?
Pegi: I think i might have imprinted Maia at an early age when I brought her to a class reunion at the tender age of 10. I encouraged Maia to apply to other schools. I actually didn’t push Kenyon. But Maia made her own choice and it was Kenyon, and I am glad to have a reason to visit Gambier every fall and spring for the next two and a half years. I think Maia loves Kenyon almost as much as I do.