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Duhawks Gathering

An English Legacy

By Kevin Koch (’81), PhD, Professor of English. Photo left to right: Clare, Marcy, Emma, and Megan.

In 1986, Marcy Jessen (later Marcy Horst) graduated from Loras College with a degree in English: writing and history. Turn the clock ahead a generation, and three of her daughters—Clare (’11), Megan (’14), and Emma (’16), likewise studied English at Loras College. Hear their Loras English story.

Read the full story in the fall English newsletter.

Emma Horst (’16)

After graduating from Loras in 2016 with majors in English and secondary education, Emma taught at Western Dubuque High School for three years before moving to Chicago to pursue her master’s and PhD in nineteenth-century British and American literature. Emma is in her fifth year at Loyola University Chicago, working on a dissertation project she developed from her paper on the Victorian novel Lady Audley’s Secret in her Loras capstone class back in 2015.

“I grew up watching my mom read and write. She read novels constantly and wrote children’s plays, Christmas cards, and articles for the local paper. Before I knew what a ‘flow state’ was, I witnessed it whenever my mom typed on her Mac desktop,” Emma shared. I always had such positive feelings about creativity, drama, and writing because of my mom. Aside from my mom’s influence, I looked up to my older sisters, so it’s no wonder I followed them to Loras and Hoffman Hall.”

Megan (Horst) Shinnick (’14)

Sister Megan (Horst) Shinnick, is a 2014 Loras grad. She received her bachelor of arts in English, politics, and international studies. After undergrad, Megan attended law school at the University of Iowa. Following graduation, she was commissioned in the US Navy.

She is serving on active duty in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Megan began her military career in Naples, Italy, and is currently stationed in Washington, DC, as an appellate criminal defense attorney. She and her husband, Jack, are moving across the country to Washington state in the fall, where she will be prosecuting at the trial level for a few years.

Clare Horst Chapman (’11)

The oldest of the Duhawk sisters, Clare Horst Chapman, graduated from Loras in 2011 with English literature and music majors. She married Loras sweetheart Drew Chapman (’11 MBA ’17), moving to Mankato, Minnesota, where Clare obtained her Master of Music in piano performance. The family has settled in Stillwater, and Clare stays busy running her private piano studio and accompanying at churches and schools in the Twin Cities. Clare and Drew have five kids.

Mary (Marcy) Jessen Horst (’86)

Mother Marcy followed two childhood babysitters to Loras, fully intending to major in Spanish and become a translator.

“I was placed in critical writing my first semester with Don Knefel, and that was it for me. I vividly remember grappling with panic and doubt in that Hoffman classroom and then at my desk in Binz.” Marcy recalls thinking, “What am I doing here? I am not a writer; I’m a reader. I have no idea where to begin. But as Mr. Knefel instructed, I just started. With a pen and notebook—it was 1982. Then, I scratched and scribbled, wrote, and rewrote.

Before the end of that first term, I’d changed my major from Spanish to English writing (and thanks to David Salvaterra in history). Those writing classes, the professor, and peer reviews have shaped my life. While I left the world of editing sooner than anticipated to become a stay-at-home mom, it has been my parenting priority that all my kids become readers and writers. I believe no matter one’s vocation, it is imperative to cultivate the ability to communicate.

After graduation, Marcy married fellow Duhawk Gerald Horst and began work at Perfection Form company in Des Moines, editing social studies textbooks. She took a long hiatus beginning in 1987 to raise Duhawks Erin (’09), Clare (’11), Megan (’14), Emma (’16), and Lily (’20), as well as Patrick and Grace. Marcy reentered the professional world in 2003 as director of Vinton Unlimited, Vinton’s Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Group. At that time, she also began coaching speech and drama at Vinton-Shellsburg High School, which led to her favorite job—directing the Little Vikes Summer Drama Camp.

In 2006, she became the managing director of the Palace Theatre in Vinton, where she currently works. Marcy is fortunate to have received her liberal arts education at Loras College and looks forward to a new generation of Horst Duhawks.

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