The Richard and Doralee Durham Madsen family doesn't need homecoming to revive interest in the University of Utah.
They attend every basketball and football game and have held season tickets to Pioneer Memorial Theater for years.The round business lecture building is named after Madsen's father, Francis Armstrong Madsen.
Doralee Madsen's father, G. Homer Durham, was the U.'s first academic vice president and later Utah commissioner of higher education. Her grandfather, John A. Widtsoe, was the U. president during World War I.
Ties to the U. stretch through four generations on both sides of the family, beginning more than 100 years ago and surviving today.
To the U. Alumni Association, the Madsens are a symbol of the numerous families who have taken the U. from its early days as the University of Deseret to a nationally recognized institution in 1990.
"There are a lot of families who have a legacy at the U. They are the ones, going generation after generation, who built the school into the place it is today," said Ann Ellis, the alumni chairwoman of homecoming.
The realization of a strong U. tradition running through many Utah families led the alumni organization to initiate a legacy luncheon, which will be held annually during U. homecoming week. The first luncheon was held Wednesday, with the Madsens as the first legacy family.
Doralee Madsen, Class of '61, never dreamed of a college education at any school but the U. The Durhams lived on Butler Avenue, just north of campus, and she attended the university's laboratory school, the W.M. Stewart School, as a child.
"We grew up as young children going to the university. We had to walk across the campus every day to get to school. We'd go home for lunch, so we made two or three trips across the very heart of the campus, which was then the circle, every day," she recalled.
"We all felt a part of the it. The students would wave at us. They were our friends. A lot of U. students would come to observe (at Stewart School) and and lots of professors would come in and teach," she said.
In the second grade, one of her teachers was Wanda Robertson, a professor of elementary education.
Doralee Madsen's U. legacy stretches to 1869 when her great-grandmother, Susa Young Gates, daughter of Brigham Young, attended the University of Deseret. Gates was co-editor of the College Lantern, a forerunner of the student newspaper, The Daily Utah Chronicle.
Gates' daughter from her first marriage, Leah Dunford Widtsoe (Doralee Madsen's grandmother), was U. class valedictorian in 1896. "She told my mother that she was so nervous that she was glad that long dresses were the style of the day so no one could see her knees shaking," she said.
Leah Dunford was married to John A. Widtsoe, who was U. president from 1916 to 1921 and later became a member of the Council of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Richard Madsen, Class of '66, ZCMI president and formerly with the family business, Madsen Furniture, traces his U. roots to his grandmother, Mary Hannah Armstrong Madsen, who was daughter of Salt Lake City Mayor Francis Armstrong. She attended the U. in 1893 and later served as president of the U. Mothers Club.
Madsen's mother, Louise Wallace Madsen, who also attended the U., gave the U. College of Business $1 million in 1987 - the college's largest single gift - to honor her husband, Francis Armstrong Madsen, Class of '27, a businessman who had played on the U. football team.
Both Richard and Doralee Madsen have numerous brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews who are U. graduates.
But they are carrying on the U. tradition right at home. Of the 10 Madsen children, six - Melissa, Suzanne, Kristin, Annette, Richard and Michael - have attended or have graduated from the U. The other four - DeDee, Allyson, Wallace and Asheley - are too young to be Utes yet, but they are U. boosters, belonging to the Crimson Club and attending the ball games decked out in red and white.