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Class of 2024: Two sets of twins among this year’s graduates

May 2, 2024

There’s something special about having a friend during your college years that will be with you no matter what comes your way. For four students getting their degrees at Indiana University South Bend, that friend has been by their side for more than two decades.

Twins Abbey and Julee Miller and Katie and Maddie Gard will all receive degrees on May 7. The Millers are both getting degrees in Business Administration. Katie Gard will graduate with a degree in general business and marketing and Maddie Gard’s degree is in healthcare management.

Twin sisters Katie and Maddie Gard pose together, wearing their basketball uniforms Their journeys to IU South Bend weren’t a sure thing at the beginning for the sisters.

“Maddie was getting bigger school attention,” said Katie. “I committed here before Maddie and said she could follow me!”

“I was having mixed feeling about whether I wanted to go somewhere where I was just known as Maddie or if I would be missing Katie four years straight,” said Maddie. “The pros of being together outweighed any cons.”

Both made an impact on the basketball court - especially as leaders of this year’s CCAC regular season championship women’s basketball team, and Maddie said they wouldn’t have been able to have the same type of experience of playing together anywhere else.

The Millers also admit graduating together wasn’t a sure bet at the start.

“We both had decided to try going to different schools at first to see what it was like to be able to live apart,” said Julee. “We both decided to transfer to IUSB for our junior year… and we haven’t looked back since we both agreed that this was the best fit for us, not just together, but as individuals also.”

Katie Gard said the biggest advantage to having your sister by your side was walking onto campus with a guaranteed friend.

“I have someone who holds me accountable every day. It may not have been verbal. It may be something as simple as I see her doing something, so I was going to do it, too, to reach my academic goals,” she said.

Abbey Miller said it was great to have someone who could help fill in gaps during study sessions together.

Twin sisters Abbey and Julee Miller pose together “Having each other as a constant source of support was incredibly helpful. We’ve definitely leaned on each other during tough times and celebrated together during the good ones. This made our experience and decision to transfer that much more worth it,” she said.

All four agree that having the shared experience strengthened their relationships.

“Although we were already super close, we became even closer in ways we did not expect,” said Julee. “We got to learn new things about each other also.”

The Gard sisters say they plan to work together this summer and don’t think they’ll be too far apart in the future.

“There’s already talk of us being neighbors,” Katie joked.

“You don’t realize how special it is in the moment, but it’s comforting to know we’ll have that relationship outside college,” Maddie said.

“Despite us not living together, we’re in touch practically every day, whether it’s through text, FaceTime, we always make time. Being able to share this experience has brought us memories of stress, happiness and accomplishment,” Abbey said.

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