Ellie, Maddie and Ronnie VanBuskirk have watched one another grow up and shared countless celebrations over the years. Last Saturday, the three got to graduate together one last time.
The three sisters are the only set of triplets in IU’s 2021 graduating class and were also the first triplets born at the Bloomington hospital. Up until now, they had always attended the same schools.
“It’s like having two best friends with you all the time, wherever you go,” Ellie said.
The VanBuskirks are now third-generation IU graduates, leaving behind other family members still attending the university. They said while they weren’t certain they would always end up at IU, they have always had Hoosier pride.
“It’s really cool to come back and have it completely come full circle,” Ronnie said.
The three remember their parents, both IU graduates, helping them host tailgate parties for IU gamedays over the years. They said this was where their family and friends could all meet and was a long-standing tradition in their household.
“Our family would always have the biggest tailgate,” Maddie said. “Everyone could count on that and everyone was welcome.”
When the three had discovered they would be attending IU together, they decided to plan a weekly dinner every Tuesday where they could look forward to being together. Ellie said it was a good way to make sure they all stayed in touch even if they no longer lived in the same house.
“When we lived together it was so easy to keep up with each other’s lives,” Ellie said. “That just changed into once a week.”
The trio said IU has given them a place where they can celebrate their individuality while still being involved in each other’s lives. The three said some of their friends didn’t realize they were triplets until graduation.
“We’re our own people,” Ellie said. “As much as we’re sisters and we love each other, we’re also very different.”
Each sister is at a different sorority. Ellie is in the Alpha Gamma Delta. Ronnie is a part of Alpha Chi Omega and Maddie is in Kappa Alpha Theta.
Following graduation the three hope to spend some time with family in their hometown of Noblesville. They have not yet had the chance to celebrate their graduation with extended family due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ellie graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Media, Maddie with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Ronnie with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and Exercise Science.
The three expect to spend time together even if they are apart in the future. Whether they will plan vacations together or meet up for their shared birthdays, they said they cannot imagine a life without one another.
“I think about this a lot and there’s not a doubt in my mind that, obviously, we’re going to stay in touch in the future,” Ellie said.