Big Orange Family Tradition: Nashville Family Sees Eighth Child Enroll at UT

On Saturday, Tom and Geniese Gilman of Nashville brought their daughter Rosemary to campus to begin her career as a Tennessee Volunteer.

Rosemary was well prepared for the move; she’s received plenty of guidance from her seven older brothers and sisters who have attended UT. Six of her siblings are UT graduates. Her brother Will is a junior.

Rosemary said she treasures their advice but can’t wait to find her own niche on campus.

“I’m looking forward to exploring my independence and finding things to get involved with that I am interested in,” she said.

The Gilmans have had at least one child enrolled at UT every year for the past fifteen years.

Johannah (’04) studied journalism while Cassie (’08) studied English with a concentration in creative writing. James (’09) double-majored in child and family studies and Spanish. Philip (’11) was a Global Leadership Scholar who majored in international business and minored in political science. Julianna (’13) majored in child and family studies, and Savannah (’15) studied English with a concentration in technical communication.

Johannah and Philip were also members of the Chancellor’s Honors Program. Will is currently a member of the program.

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(Left to right) Tom, Geniese, Julianna, Savannah, Will, Stephanie Parker Gilman, Philip, James, Rosemary, Johannah. Not pictured: Cassie and Annaliese

Will is double-majoring in political science and global studies. He will be in Washington, DC, this semester participating in the US Congressional Internship program. Rosemary plans to major in English and minor in education.

Aside from the scholarships and the proximity to their Nashville home, UT’s big draw was all the opportunities available on campus.

“There was really something for everyone to get involved with,” Geniese Gilman said.

The Gilman siblings have all been active in RUF@ UTK, a Christian ministry on campus. They also participated in Cru campus ministry, a student-led interdenominational Christian organization.

“Half of our children so far have participated in programs abroad,” Geniese Gilman said, adding that her kids have spent time in France, Ecuador, Spain, Wales, and South Africa. “The trips were worthwhile and the experiences have helped them tremendously in their jobs now.”

Four of the Gilmans left campus with more than a diploma; they also met their spouses while they were students at UT.

Some of Tom and Geniese Gilman’s favorite memories include their children’s graduations, large gatherings of family and friends in Knoxville, and even the treks up to Presidential Courtyard to move each child into their residence hall.

Geniese, Tom, and Rosemary Gilman

Geniese, Tom, and Rosemary Gilman

Although Tom Gilman graduated from Vanderbilt University, he says that he happily grew up a Vol fan and is glad for the experiences his children have had at UT.

“I am thankful for the friends, fellowship, and equipping that our students have been given at UT,” he said.

Geniese Gilman said she understands the notion of the Volunteer family.

“I am especially grateful for the faculty and staff at the university who poured time and energy into our family, many of whom are still good friends of ours today,” she said.

With the older Gilman children now out of college and working, the family is scattered from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Huntsville, Alabama, to Atlanta, Nashville, and beyond.

But with Rosemary starting her freshman year, Geniese Gilman figures there will be ample opportunities for homecomings on Rocky Top.