A Family Legacy
An unknown author once wrote, “Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions but our roots remain as one.”
For the Middleton family, Southwestern has been part of the life journeys of eight family members, spanning from the Class of 1983 to the Class of 2025. While their interests and career paths diverge in many directions, the family shares a connection through their experiences at Southwestern.
Spring Middleton ’25 arrived on campus this fall with a passion for international travel and studies, having spent seven years of her childhood in Japan living with her parents, Izumi and Daniel Middleton ’89. Spring completed high school here in Texas and explored college options internationally, however she discovered that her father’s alma mater could be the right fit for her. Spring shared, “The more I looked into the school and learned about the Southwestern community, the more I felt it was right for me. My father told me about his experience of flying to Thailand six days after graduating as he was able to find a job through connections at SU. My aunt and uncle have also told me about how they had their wedding ceremony at the SU chapel. It is interesting how connections between people can lead to unexpected outcomes.”
Some may have called Daniel Middleton’s path unexpected, as a Texas native who had never left the state until his semester in the London program. Not only did he study away in London and Germany, but he also found himself on his way to Thailand upon graduation and eventually living in Japan, working as an English educator in both countries. Daniel reflected, “During my senior year we had the Brown Symposium about the Ramakien Thai epic story led by Dr. Ellsworth Peterson ’55, P’84, P’88. It was Dr. Peterson who introduced me to the president of Yonok College in northern Thailand. Six days after graduating SU, I was in Lampang, Thailand starting my first job as a teacher. I even recruited another SU graduate to replace me when I left that position.” Of his daughter Spring’s choice among colleges, he says he is “very proud of Spring for choosing SU.”
Spring’s Southwestern connections extend to Daniel’s two brothers, Kevin Middleton ’83 and Mike Middleton ’85. All three of Mike’s children graduated from Southwestern: Meredith Middleton ’13, Lance Middleton ’16, and Mitchell Middleton ’20.
In 2018, Spring moved stateside to complete her high school education in Cedar Park, Texas, living with her uncle Kevin, and his wife Joan Pelton Middleton ’84. Kevin is a commercial artist, and his passion for art was nurtured by his artistically-talented grandmother. Like his brother Daniel, Kevin’s career also began with a connection made with a Southwestern faculty member. “Southwestern had a visiting professor that was an advertising cartoonist and upon graduation I had an internship with him that led to some staff art positions for specialty advertising shops,” Kevin shared. Adding, his favorite Southwestern memories included, “Living in the international house, painting through the night in the Fine Arts building, meals with friends in the Commons, and falling in love.”
That brings us to his love, Joan, who has some special Southwestern connections of her own. The Pelton Southwestern family tree rivals that of the Middletons! Joan shared, “My family has a long history at Southwestern, starting with my grandmother, Verna Ross Brown who attended in the 1920s. She was there when they had a fire in the dorm and they moved the women into Mood–Bridwell. My aunt, Joyce Brown Stewart ’52, was the next in the family to attend. She lives in Austin and has the distinction of attending the last SU football game in the 1950s, and then attended again when the program started back up in 2013.” In addition, Joan’s sister and brother-in-law, Jennifer Pelton ’80 and Scott Thumma ’83, also share the Pirate connection, as well as their son, Benjamin Thumma ’16.
The Southwestern legacy is strong in the Middleton family. Most importantly, each member of the family was able to carve out their own individual path through Southwestern and beyond. Their roots are here in Georgetown, but their reach stretches the globe. Spring, we look forward to hearing how your own Southwestern connections lead to unexpected outcomes in your future!