Family of the year calls WKU home

The Gott family was recognized as the Family of the Year during halftime at the WKU football game in Houchens Smith Stadium on Sept. 17, 2011. Emily Gott, sophomore from Bowling Green, KY. nominated her family for the award.

Maciena Justice

While most students venture away from home and head down different paths, the Gott family has managed to stick together.

Emily, Andrew and Ryan Gott are all students on WKU’s campus and are this year’s Family of the Year.

Any family is eligible for WKU Family of the Year, sponsored by the Parents’ Advisory Council in partnership with Alumni Relations, as long as a student from the family nominates them by writing an essay.

Amy Miller, assistant director in Alumni Relations, said having the students nominate the family allows the student to take the initiative, rather than the parents.

Before the contest, Miller put flyers in MASTER Plan supplies, all student organization mail and sent a mass email to all students’ topper mail asking students for their nominations.

All of this year’s 30 essays were read and judged by the Parents’ Advisory Council, or parents of students attending WKU. Miller said the council liked the essay written by Emily Gott because of the family’s involvement with the university.

Emily nominated her family because of how active her family is with WKU. She believed her essay could win because of “how much WKU has influenced our lives, (my parents) meeting here, to all of us being here now.”

Emily’s parents, Tim Gott and Ellen Gott, met while attending WKU as a part of the class of 1985 and married the year after they graduated. The two came back to Bowling Green when Tim was offered the position as the Gatton Academy director. Ellen is a certification officer for the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences on campus.

Tim came back to WKU for his undergraduate, Master’s degrees and Rank 1 program, which is the highest rank for teachers in Kentucky.

“This has been a natural evolution for us,” Tim said.

Emily is an Honors College student and will graduate with the class of 2014. Her oldest brother, Andrew Gott, was in the first graduating class of Gatton Academy and will be graduating from WKU this December with a physics and math degree. The youngest of the family, Ryan Gott, is currently enrolled in the Gatton Academy and will be a member of the class of 2015 at WKU.

“I can’t picture myself anywhere but WKU,” Emily said.

The family was enthusiastic about being named WKU’s Family of the Year.

“I was excited for Emily,” Ellen said.

Emily will receive a $500 scholarship to put toward her study aboard trip to Harlaxton, England, with the Honors College Program.

The Gotts experienced many benefits as Family of the Year, including a Montana Grille gift certificate, a WKU gift basket and seats in the Topper Club at the Indiana State football game. They will also be featured in all of the university’s publications over the next year.

“It feels right, what all WKU does for us – it’s a day of celebrating – quite an honor,” Tim said.

While the family is at the same school, they move in different directions. But sometimes, they do cross paths on campus.

Emily said that she has a class in the building where her mother works.

“I’ll stop by to say hi or get help with homework,” she said.

Emily and Ryan live on campus, while Andrew lives in an off-campus apartment. They each have their own space, but home is still with their parents in Bowling Green.

“It’s comfortable,” Tim said. “It’s the best of both worlds.”

The Gott family enjoy celebrating and participating in campus activities. Ellen’s nieces and nephew are also students on campus and they meet to have family dinners at Fresh Food.

“We are trying to (make) the most of the minutes we have left,” Tim said.