Shuffelton Family Shows Gratitude With Lasting Gift to University
The Shuffelton family's history is so intertwined with that of Miami University, you could say Miami runs in their blood.
David '66 and Julie Moloney Shuffelton '78 and their three children have all walked down Slant Walk, listened to the Beta Bells and cheered on Miami football for longer than they can remember.
Their Miami family tradition began with David's father, Frank, who attended Miami but left halfway through his senior year due to the Great Depression. Throughout David's childhood, he recalls visiting Miami and attending football games with his father, a tradition he would carry on with his own children.
David and Julie wanted to create a lasting gift to the place that has given their family so much, so the entire Shuffelton family has named the Miami University David and Julie Shuffelton Family Scholarship in their wills.
"Miami was four years of my life that shaped who I am today," says Meghan Shuffelton Magee '07, the youngest of the family. "I feel I owe Miami for that. It really opened the whole world for me."
Meghan was a journalism major and studied abroad in Luxembourg, an experience she credits for giving her the confidence to explore new cities and careers. Since graduating from Miami, she has lived in California, the Czech Republic, Colorado and, now, Indiana. While in Denver, she earned a master's in education and served as the Miami alumni chapter president. She is now a second-grade teacher and feels she has found her calling.
The oldest of the Shuffelton children, David "Rusty" '02, knew his calling at 10 years old. A special agent in the United States Department of the Treasury, Rusty studied sociology and minored in management information systems at Miami with the goal of working in law enforcement. After graduating, he moved to Washington, D.C. for his dream job and connected with the alumni chapter, even serving as president for a few years.
"I'm proud that I'm a third-generation Miamian, and I would like to see Miami live on for many more centuries," Rusty says. "The state isn't putting money into public universities like it used to, so we alumni have to step it up to make up the difference."
For Rusty and Meghan's brother, Dan '05, having a family of his own makes him reflect on Miami now more than ever. After graduating, the theater major moved to Los Angeles to try his hand at acting. He and his high school sweetheart reconnected there, lived in Denver for a few years and then returned to Ohio to start a family. Now in sales with King Business Interiors, Dan has a daughter, Mae, and he and his wife, Sarah, are expecting their second child.
"I will definitely take my kids to visit Miami, like my parents did for me, so they can get the experience," Dan says.
Their mother, Julie, took a different path to Miami. After high school, she entered the workforce, where she met David. She had interviewed for a secretarial position at his law practice in Fort Loramie, Ohio, but he hired another candidate. When another lawyer at a nearby firm did hire her, David and Julie often ran into each other at the courthouse, becoming friends and keeping in touch even after Julie decided to attend Miami, where her brother was a student.
Julie knew attending college would be a struggle for a number of reasons. She had no college preparatory courses in high school and needed financial aid. Undeterred, Julie sent letters to Oxford lawyers until one hired her, and she sought out mentors to help her stay on the right track to become a CPA. Now Julie runs her own accounting firm, and David, a retired attorney, works as a part-time mediator in the same office building.
"I couldn't have gone to Miami without financial aid and the people who helped me along the way," Julie says. "You think about the young people today, they're really in the same boat."
David could be counted among Julie's friends and mentors during college. They had exchanged a handful of friendly letters after she left for college, but only began dating during Julie's senior year. After marrying in September 1978, they discovered they both kept every letter exchanged, even the "ding" letter Julie received from David and the thank you note Julie sent after the interview. Now those letters are framed in their home.
The letters, along with their fond memories of Miami, show how much the Shuffeltons value history and tradition.
"The phrase ‘Old Miami! New Miami!' always made me think, even to this day, that the days of Old Miami were when my father was there and New Miami was when I was there," David says. "I didn't know its true meaning at the time, but that first impression always stuck with me. This same connection applies to Julie, me and our three children. I'm thrilled my family can ensure ‘days to be' for years to come."