Date of Thesis



This study examined the meaning-making and psychosocial processes of five female legacy students at Bucknell University, each of whom having had at least one parent graduate from the institution. With a research philosophy, design, and methodology rooted in qualitative inquiry and phenomenology, inductive data analysis led to three primary categories that underscored legacy identity development. The first, Paradox of Influence and Identity, revealed through six themes nuanced experiences of separation-individuation. Second, Teaching and Learning, comprised of five themes, illuminated the impact of family — and of Bucknell parent alumni in particular — on their children’s internal working models. Lastly, Bucknell — the Environmental Contextand the five themes grouped therein highlighted the contributions of University community members, and of the campus culture and climate itself, to the co-construction of psychosocial formation. A tentative outline of grounded theory was offered, which explored categorical relationships; Paradox of Influence and Identity emerged as thedominant phenomenon, informing and being reinforced by the data of Teaching and Learning and Bucknell — the Environmental Context. Provisional intervention strategies for student affairs practice, in the contexts of academics, residential life, and career development, were discussed. Further, triangulated research is needed to substantiate and evolve the findings and theoretical model of this thesis.


Identity development of college students, Legacy students, Qualitative inquiry in higher education

Access Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Type

Master of Science in Education


Education - college student personnel

First Advisor

Joe L. Murray

Included in

Education Commons