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Local Triplets among the IU’s 2021 Graduating Class

Photography Provided

TripletsOn May 8, the 2021 Indiana University commencement bestowed 21,145 degrees upon graduating students. The group included 28 sets of twins, but only one set of triplets. 2017 Noblesville High School graduates Elisabeth (Ellie), Madeline (Maddie) and Veronica VanBuskirk are not only the individuals behind that statistic but are now also third-generation Indiana Hoosiers.

“The girls didn’t specifically decide to all go to the same college as each other, but it worked out that way,” the triplets’ mother, Lori VanBuskirk, says. “They are all so different. I’m glad they went with their heart, chose the school that was right for them individually, but were also are confident to do their own things.”

When it came time to pick a college, all three girls were initially headed in different directions. Although the family had strong ties to IU, Maddie was the only one who knew all along that she wanted to go there. Her two sisters were attracted to different schools they felt would be best for their courses of study.

“My husband Brian and I met at IU and his father went there as well. The triplets were born in Bloomington and we moved to Noblesville when they were one. At first, Ronnie wanted to go out of state and was accepted at Clemson University, but she knew she would also need grad school for a physical therapy degree,” VanBuskirk says.

“Ellie was planning on attending Ball State but after Ronnie decided on IU, she told me, ‘The first time I see a photo and know they are having fun, it will break my heart that I’m not with them.’ So, she visited the media school, and it was a good fit for her. At the last minute, they all decided to go to IU,” VanBuskirk says.

Having all three girls attending one school was much easier on the VanBuskirks. Each triplet pledged a different sorority and developed friends which became their sisters’ friends as well. The family enjoyed tailgating during the football season and the triplets were close enough to take part in family celebrations.

The COVID-19 pandemic put a crimp in their college experience, as the girls had to return home when IU shut down in March of 2020. Ronnie was disappointed to cut her study abroad in Australia short and try to complete her courses online in a different time zone. Having all the girls under one roof was challenging since everyone needed to use the Wi-Fi. However, lots of games were played, and everyone enjoyed each other’s company.

While the family is back together for a short time now, this fall will see the girls going in different directions. Ellie’s degree is in media film production. She is currently in the process of applying for a program with the Directors Guild of America. Mattie graduated with an elementary education degree and is seeking a teaching position. Ronnie earned a degree in kinesiology, the study of movement in the human body. She is taking a year to work at Ascension Saint Vincent before attending graduate school.

“When we first found out we were having triplets we were concerned, but it’s been fabulous,” VanBuskirk says. “I couldn’t be prouder of all of them.”

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