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AU News

Making Anderson a Family Tradition

Brendle family
Members of the Brendle family are pictured during their Thanksgiving gathering.

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Mom Terrie Brendle attended Anderson and among the children are numerous Anderson University graduates; the two youngest are current students. Pictured from left are Seth Brendle, Susanna Brendle, Sadie Brendle, Chad Brendle, Terrie Brendle, Samuel Brendle, Shepherd Lindler, Sarah Brendle, Silas Brendle, Sophie Lindler, and Cameron Lindler, holding Reed Lindler.

If there’s a family that truly holds a special place in their hearts for Anderson University, it’s got to be the Brendles. 

The seven children of Chad and Terrie Brendle could’ve chosen whichever college they wanted to attend, but as it turns out, everyone chose to go to Anderson University for all or part of their college education. 

After two years at Anderson, Terrie went to a nearby university where she received her math education degree and also met Chad, whom she married. She put her teacher training to good use, homeschooling their four daughters and three sons and finding time to tutor others outside of the family. For a couple of years she also taught math at Anderson Christian School.

Terrie points out that she wasn’t the first in her family to attend Anderson. Her grandmother, Winnie (Reid) Newell, was among the first of the students in what was then an all-female institution. Terrie says that Winnie was very musical and also taught piano.

“Homeschool was a way of life for us every day,” Chad said. “In all of life’s lessons, there’s education in everything. Interestingly, Terrie being a math major and me being in engineering, we did science but we didn’t emphasize it… The world was kind of our lab.” 

Chad quips with a chuckle that Silas, the youngest, was self-educated as all his older brothers and sisters around him were going through class work. “Terrie would tell you when he started to learn to read, she sat down like she did with the six before him and he was already reading when she started teaching him to read,” he said.

The Brendle children have all experienced community at Anderson University, becoming actively involved with campus life, spending time with friends and classmates in the library, hanging out on the Alumni Lawn, grabbing coffee or sharing meals together. Intramural sports was a fun memory for most of the Brendles; Sadie and Samuel’s teams won intramural basketball championships. Sarah recalls being involved in RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) and working in the biology lab for the College of Arts and Sciences.

The younger siblings got a pretty good preview of college life visiting older siblings on campus—going to eat, attending games or just hanging out on campus. Some took classes at Anderson University before entering as college students. For many, the transition from homeschool to college went pretty smoothly. 

Sarah, the oldest, graduated in 2010 with her bachelor’s degree in Biology, then went on to physician assistant school in Virginia. She’s currently a physician assistant at Anderson Area Cancer Center. Seth attended from 2008-2010 before transferring to another university nearby. He’s also a physician assistant and works in the ER at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. Sophie graduated in 2016 with her bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design with a Marketing minor. She works as a photographer and is married to AU graduate Cameron Lindler, who is a physician assistant at Carolina Orthopedic Neuro Associates. Samuel received his bachelor’s in Kinesiology in 2020 and works for Anderson University Athletics as assistant director of strength and conditioning. Sadie graduated in 2022 with her bachelor’s in Kinesiology and a minor in Public Relations. Currently she works as director at the Murrells Inlet location of Chick-Fil-A. The youngest two, Susanna and Silas, are current AU students. Susanna is a senior majoring in Business Management and Silas is a junior majoring in Digital Communication. 

Terrie and Chad decided early on that homeschooling would be a good fit for their growing family. For the next several years, she would teach a variety of subjects to her children in their home and would also teach other homeschool children. 

Chad said, “From the beginning, we were both involved. Terrie was the teacher and I was the principal. Usually We’d have Bible study, talk about life, and then move on to the classroom setting. Terrie was involved with that and I would go to work; that was pretty much the routine.”

Recalling the day-to-day of family life and homeschooling, Sadie said, “My dad would always do devotions in the morning with the kids still at home. We’d do our school. We would go to lunch with my mom or dad.”

Homeschooling looked a little different for each of the seven Brendle children. Some were homeschooled all the way; four attended Anderson Christian School for part of their education. As high school graduation neared, they gained course credit through dual enrollment at Anderson University and Tri County Technical College. Samuel graduated from Anderson Christian School and Silas graduated from T.L. Hanna High School after three years there. Sadie recalls, “Once I got to AU there was definitely that nervousness of going into college, but it helped in that transition of getting my gen eds in my junior and senior year of high school.”

When it became time for Sarah to go to college, she thought about her younger siblings and decided she didn’t want to go far away from home. She feels that her experiences helping her brothers and sisters was a big part of why she chose to work in health care. 

“Being the oldest of seven kids… I’ve always kind of been a second mama, a helper to my parents. Growing up, I knew I liked science and had thought about medicine and kind of felt that calling,” Sarah said. “When I was in high school I heard about the PA profession and started pursuing that.” 

Seth recalled a family they were close to in the neighborhood who were homeschooling their four children. “Their four kind of matched up with our oldest four,” he recalled. “We would switch up, like, the two younger ones would go down to their house and the two older would come up to our house. My mom would teach me and my older sister and then their oldest daughter and then the younger ones down the street.”

After graduating from Anderson with his Kinesiology-Exercise Specialist degree, Samuel went on to earn a master’s degree elsewhere and pursued a career in the field of strength and conditioning with positions at Jacksonville State in Alabama, the University of Arkansas and at Clemson University, then returning to Anderson University to join the athletic staff. 

Samuel recalled that being the middle child often meant being a part of two worlds. “I could be included in the older group or I could be put in the younger group. I got a little bit of both depending on my age,” he said, commenting that he enjoyed growing up among so many siblings. “You always have siblings around and things going on. It’s hectic but fun at the same time growing up with that many people.” 

“Having all six siblings before me come here definitely made the decision easier,” Silas said. “As a kid, I got to come up and visit them, go to games and come see them on Sunday. One particular thing was going to the ‘caf’ (currently the Culinary Center) with the older siblings when I was younger, so I got to see it firsthand as I grew up, and just see the campus life grow, the community grow… This was the only school I applied for because I knew it was where I wanted to go from the get go.”

Silas says Sophie, with her photography skills, inspired him to pursue media-related work. He currently does social media for the AU Men’s Basketball team and hopes to do sports-related social media for a Division I college program or a professional team after he graduates.

Sophie said, “I feel like because we were all at home and our schedule was flexible, we were able to do a lot of things together like vacations and field trips and eat lunch together. My siblings were my best friends growing up; they still are my best friends. They just planted an environment for us to be tight-knit. We’re still like that when we get together and it’s super fun. And now they’re helping me with my boys.”

Susanna looks back on her years of homeschooling as quality time with family and with God. “I asked mom ‘why did we homeschool?’ and she said it felt like the right thing to do and that’s what God was telling her to do,” she recalls. “Doing that makes me now want to homeschool my kids. I’m just super grateful for it.”

Sophie felt she and her siblings were well-prepared for college life. “As a homeschooler you’re taught by your mom or co ops or dual enrollment, but you don’t have someone over you all of the time, so you learn good study habits and how to get your work done,” she said. “You learn self-sufficiency before you go into college.”

Sophie also met her husband Cameron while she was a student at Anderson University. “We hung out a lot around campus with our friends and had lots of game nights,” she said.

Since marrying into the family, Sophie’s husband Cameron enjoys being part of Brendle family gatherings and celebrations.  

“I come from a smaller family, and there’s nine of them, their grandma lives close by, they have five cousins that live close by, so every time we got together there were 15 or 20 people and there are all guys on that side, so it was kind of nerve wracking meeting all of them at first, but that kind of made me want to have a bigger family,” Cameron said. “I’ve enjoyed it so much. There’s always something going on, there’s always somebody to watch your kids, which is nice. I love having a big family on that side and hopefully God’s got some more for us.”

The Brendles, who consider themselves a close-knit family, continue to gather together every chance they get for the holidays or to go out to eat. They also continue to be Trojans at heart.

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