Kuo siblings

Sibling Revelry

For many alumni, attending Dartmouth was a family affair.

The Osborn brothers were among the first. Benjamin, class of 1775, led the way to Dartmouth from Litchfield, Connecticut, and was fraternally followed by his brothers, Jeremiah and Isaac, both class of 1779, and finally Jacob, class of 1784. Brothers from other families kept coming. In 1972, sisters joined in the family fun with the arrival of coeducation. 

Siblings still keep coming—the most recent include six sets of twins in the class of 2023. They are among the thousands upon thousands of brothers and sisters who share their Big Green alma mater. A peek in the admissions archives reveals that since 1900 at least 15,000 sibling pairs, trios, and quads have matriculated at Dartmouth. National statistics indicate that an estimated 20 percent of younger siblings enroll in the same college as an older sibling. Thirty-one percent apply to the same school. 

Here are portraits of six remarkable sets of siblings for whom Dartmouth is undoubtedly a family practice. (Click here to see more photos of Dartmouth siblings.)

The Kuo Family: Anlee ’88, Anda ’91, and Anchie ’82, DMS’86

Anlee (left) is a forensic psychiatrist in Hillsborough, California. An Asian studies major, she's married to Mark Brooks '88. Anda (middle) is a clinician and professor of pediatrics in San Francisco. An English major, she's married to Michael Shlipak '90.  Anchie (right) majored in economics and owns medical companies in China and the U.S. He splits his time between Manila, the Philippines, and San Francisco. Photo by Jay Watson.

The Kuo siblings are “super close” despite their age differences, says Anda. The bond dates back to Anchie’s Sophomore Summer, when he nurtured his sisters’ interest in Dartmouth as tennis day-campers aged 12 and 9. With his parents “off somewhere,” he created a triple bunk in Topliff so Anlee and Anda could overnight with him. “We’d show up in the cafeteria, and my fraternity brothers would say, ‘But where are they staying?’ ” Anchie recalls. “When I said ‘my dorm,’ I got some surprised looks.” 

Anchie declines to say if he ever took his sisters to his fraternity, apart from “suitable family events,” but the girls otherwise roamed free. “We got to know the campus really well,” says Anda. “We swam at the river, ran around the Bema, and ate pizza at EBAs. We undoubtedly broke all sorts of rules, but we learned to be independent, read many books, laughed a lot, made many memories, and fell in love with Dartmouth. Anchie never seemed embarrassed to have us trailing him around.” Later, both women fell in love with and married Dartmouth men, making their College days a frequent topic of conversation when the family gathers.

As a DMS student, Anchie shared the campus for two years with Anlee and saw a couple of her lacrosse games. “I made it to one just in time to see a ball hit her in the mouth,” he recalls. In general he was nothing but a protective sibling. “Sure, there were boyfriends I tried to scare away, when I tried to be the older-brother-intimidator,” he acknowledges. “My sisters asked me to go easy, but they always did what they wanted and both wound up with great Dartmouth guys. Our Dartmouth circle of family and friends is pretty big.”

The Dang Brothers: Himraj ’89, Th’89, Th’91, and Rupin ’94

Himraj (left) an environmental science/engineering major, is a senior advisor with Olympus Capital Holdings and lives in New Delhi, India. Rupin, who majored in film studies and environmental studies, is managing director of Wilderness Films in New Delhi. Photo by Abhishek Bali.

The Dangs overlapped only briefly on campus, while Himraj completed his graduate degree. Rupin recalls being picked up at Logan airport by his brother and Amalovoyal Chari ’90, who gave him “a warm L.L.Bean jacket.” Other brotherly guidance included tips on the best meal plan and grocery store purchases to keep in a dorm-room fridge. There was also a directive to get a job as a teaching assistant rather than as a dishwasher.

The brothers shared a memorable College-supported climbing experience at home in India the summer after Rupin’s freshman year. Rupin and eight friends largely self-funded the DOC-
endorsed trip by selling T-shirts on campus, and Rupin received two grants to film the adventure. At their father’s urging, the more experienced Himraj joined his brother to climb 20,956-foot Black Peak, which had long called to the Dang family. Their dad, who had failed to summit on a previous attempt, was nervous about potential accidents. Himraj promised his father to take part in the climb to oversee safety precautions. With Dad waiting at base camp, Himraj ended up summiting a day ahead of his brother and rushing back down the mountain so he could start his first job.

Rupin, now a filmmaker, says any movie made about the brothers’ Dartmouth experiences “would make for a terribly boring film,” because neither brother is dramatic or demonstrative. “We were not the typical bright Indians coming to America to make their names in some tech, engineering, or science field,” he says. “I was an early-on eccentric, while Himraj, who was doubting at the time, has decided to turn eccentric, spending much of his time walking in the high Himalaya.

“We both stayed away from the more obvious and popular social options at the Dartmouth,” he adds. “We chose to spend time with faculty whom we looked up to. Those choices we now cherish.” 

The Wood Brothers: George ’67, Th’68, Michael ’60, Blair ’63, and John ’73

Michael (top right), a former geology professor, runs a forge and logging operation in Dillon, Colorado. He majored in earth sciences. Blair (bottom left), a retired lawyer and English major, also lives in Dillon. George (top left) is a retired tech exec. He majored in engineering and lives in Evergreen, Colorado. John, a government major, is a consulting lawyer in Arvada, Colorado. Photo by Rebecca Stumf.

With an adventurous, outdoors-oriented family history, there was little doubt all four Wood brothers would follow their dad, Blair ’30, a district court judge, to Dartmouth. Each pursued their shared love of hiking, canoeing, and skiing while growing up in Iowa and at college—Michael and Blair on the ski team, Blair overlapping his brother for a year and developing close friendships with Michael’s classmates. George was a member of the Ledyard Canoe Club, and all four were active with the Outing Club. 

The brothers’ passion for adventures on mountains and rivers has sustained their strong bonds. When any Wood brother gave advice to any of his younger siblings, it was usually about hiking trails as much about classes and profs. In 1972, as DOC president, John even led the effort to revive Woodsmen’s Weekend on the Green after a long hiatus. Recently Michael gave him his speed-chopping ax, which he’d used to compete in the event back in the 1950s.

John arrived on campus without having visited his brothers there. But he had attended his dad’s 30th reunion and Blair’s graduation. “I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else,” he says. Part of his College experience was helping Blair build a house in Lebanon, New Hampshire, and camping with his brother and sister-in-law along the St. John and Allagash rivers. “I think it is a good thing for a family to have a Dartmouth thread in common, winding through the family with a common set of experiences.” 

The Veniard Sisters: Natalia ’96, Maria ’92, Sofia ’93, Th’94, and Clara ’01

Natalia (far left) majored in studio art and lives in Kensington, Maryland. Maria (near left), is an advisor to survivors of domestic abuse. An Asian studies major, she lives in Bethesda, Maryland. Sofia (near right), an engineering major, is an architect in Santa Rosa, California. Clara (far right), is a founding partner at Grant Peak Capital in Seattle. She majored in history and geography. Photo of Natalia and Maria by Stephen Voss; photo of Sofia and Clara by Marc Olivier Le Blanc.

Maria wrote the first chapter of the Veniards’ Dartmouth history, coming to Hanover from Beijing, where the sisters’ Argentinian father worked for the World Bank. When Sofia arrived later, people urged her to meet a girl named Maria. “You’re so much alike, and she’s from Argentina and came from China, too,” they told her. No kidding.

When Sofia did look for her sister, she generally found her in Sanborn having afternoon tea and discussing politics with other international students. Both older Veniards were fluent in Chinese and interested in all things Asia. They shared meals at the Asian students’ affinity house and spent a lot of time with Asian studies faculty despite Sofia’s concentration in engineering.

When it came time for Natalia to head to Hanover from Argentina, where the family was summering, Sofia hosted a party to introduce Natalia to fellow students, including Argentinian Olympic rower Max Holdo ’96. Natalia displayed no interest at the time. After meeting up at Ravine Lodge during freshmen trips, the two started dating. Now they’re married. 

Clara, who rowed at the College, laughingly recalls hearing crew team references to “the girlfriend” of the greatly admired Holdo. Having made innumerable visits to campus as a high school student living in Maryland, she needed no introductions to anybody when she arrived. She still has the Dartmouth sweatshirt she wore for her sixth-grade photograph. “When I got to Dartmouth I felt like I owned the place. I knew where to go. I felt totally comfortable. That was different than most people’s experience the first few weeks in college, when you’re trying to figure things out.” Her sisters’ advice helped when Clara chose her freshman trip. Forewarned that “you don’t know what Dartmouth people are like when it comes to their outdoor abilities,” she chose an easy trip: Hiking 1.

The Sixkiller Brothers: Jesse ’06 and Casey ’00

Both brothers majored in Native American studies and goverment. Jesse (left) is a lawyer and lives in Minneapolis. Casey is chief operating officer of King County, Washington, and lives in Seattle. Photo by Ron Wurzer.

As the sons of legendary University of Washington quarterback Sonny Sixkiller, the brothers made their way to Dartmouth serendipitously. Casey had heard of the College through a high school football coach but applied only because he literally bumped into then Dean of Admissions Karl Furstenberg in his Seattle high school corridor. 

Jesse felt no pressure from his brother to apply, let alone attend, the College. But the beauty of campus and the strength of the Native community sold him. “Jesse is the smartest of three Sixkiller brothers,” says Casey. “I knew he’d thrive in any environment that was academically challenging but created opportunities for intellectual exploration. I just wanted him to find a place with a supportive community.” 

As it turned out, Jesse recalls being more comfortable in his early days at Dartmouth than does Casey, who thought seriously about transferring back home but was encouraged to stick it out. “The Native American program was really important to me and it was inspiring to meet some alums from its early days,” says the older Sixkiller. “I’d think, ‘If they could make it,
I can make it.’ ” 

Jesse especially appreciates what he learned from his fellow Native students about their various cultures—and “the deep historical and philosophical things taught by [Native American studies professor] Dale Turner,” he says. Telephone conversations with his brother bolstered him. “We talked a lot my freshman year about classes and professors. Casey helped me understand things like federalism.” 

Later, Jesse interned in the Washington office of Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), where Casey worked, and after graduation followed Casey to the Cherokee Nation tribal offices in Washington, D.C. “Jesse may have gone through some of the same doors I did,” says Casey, “but every time he’s crafted his own experience. If we hadn’t both gone to Dartmouth, we wouldn’t have the special bond we do, nor would we have met people so important to us today.”

The Faruqi twins: Sofia ’07 and Sonia ’07

Sofia (left) works for the World Resource Institute in Washington, D.C. She majored in economics and Arab studies. Sonia, an author, majored in economics and lives in Toronto. Photo by Jason Gordon.

As soon as they arrived in Hanover from their home in the United Arab Emirates, identical twins Sonia and Sofia appreciated their parents having urged them to attend the same college. Comfortable thanks to that advice, the sisters made concerted efforts to establish separate identities—even as they were often mistaken for each other and grew accustomed to returning waves from people they didn’t know. 

Despite their shared physical traits, major (economics), and Rockefeller Center activities, they chose to live apart. Each sister established a circle of friends with her respective roommates, and each played a different sport (skating and skiing) and traveled on different foreign study programs (Toulouse and Paris). 

A few times, the Faruqis purposely worked as a team. The final paper they wrote together for an advanced econ course produced their worst grade, Sofia says, “because we have the same strengths and weaknesses.” Nonetheless, she grudgingly followed Sonia’s example to become a vegetarian and also joined her in selling grilled cheese sandwiches one freezing night on Webster Avenue to raise money for those affected by an earthquake in Pakistan.

“It definitely was fun to be at Dartmouth together, especially as international students,” says Sonia. “We both had our own circles, but we also had common friends and made time to see each other. We wanted to know other people because we’d been roommates all our lives.”


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Trail Blazer

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John Merrow ’63
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