By Kaylen Ayres '25
The legacy began in 1859, when William McCauley graduated from Roanoke College. Following him was John William McCauley, graduating in 1899; Mary McCauley Bush in 1968; Dorothy Bush Francisco in 1964; and George R. Francisco in 1988.
In 2021, Samuel Paitsel became the sixth generation in his family to graduate.
“It was an unspoken obligation to keep the tradition alive,” Paitsel says. “Although I was never pressured by family or friends, it felt right to keep the legacy going. Six generations span many different events throughout the world. They left their footprint at Roanoke College, and I was excited to do the same.”
Paitsel not only chose Roanoke for his connection to it, but also for the psychology program, which was his favorite part about being a student here.
“The professors made me feel at home, and I always felt cared about,” Paitsel says. “When I was doing rough, I knew I had a great support system to rally behind me. I also enjoyed how tight- knit the community was; you couldn’t go a day without seeing a friendly face.”
Graduating half a semester early in December 2020, Paitsel has since been working at Therapeutic Alliance in Roanoke, Virginia, as a registered behavior technician (RBT). He is also training as a qualified mental health professional, primarily working with children under the age of 18.
“It’s such a rewarding job knowing you’re making a difference in someone’s life every day,” Paitsel says.
Dorothy Francisco, Paitsel’s grandmother, remembers how delighted she was when Samuel chose Roanoke.
“I knew [my family] would get a good education in a friendly atmosphere just as I had years ago,” she says.
Francisco has maintained her connection to the College since her days as a student, attending the Elderscholar Program with other alumni, including, at one time, her mother, Mary Bush, who died in 2016.
“There have been many renovations to the College and much more buildings,” Francisco says. “It seems like the College keeps growing, which makes me happy for future generations ahead.”
Next in line to graduate from Roanoke is Paitsel’s younger brother, Ethan Paitsel ’23. The brothers spent a year together on campus, and Samuel reflected on that experience.
“We didn’t get much time together,” he recalls. “It was fun seeing him around campus, though, and showing him the ropes.”