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Quadruplets call WVU Potomac State College ‘a perfect fit’

Grinnan Family with Chris Gilmer

Starting Thanksgiving break with their fellow students after a busy fall semester at WVU Potomac State College are four quadruplets from Ashburn, Virginia — Maria, Chris, Allie and Michael Grinnan.

Since first arriving in Keyser in August, the four have been getting adjusted to their new campus home as members of the Catamount family, with support from one another.

“I like the culture,” Michael Grinnan said. “Everyone knows everyone else, almost like it’s a family. It’s a beautiful campus surrounded by mountains. I just love how pretty it is.”

Maria Grinnan agreed. “I like how you can rely on the professors who are friendly, easy to find, and accessible and willing to answer questions,” she said.

Maria is a business technology major and knows she wants to be an entrepreneur managing her own business. Michael is also a business technology major with interests in supply chain and online commerce. Allie is studying biology with the goal of becoming a pediatrician and Chris is working toward becoming a forensic scientist.

Allie and Maria are roommates and Chris and Michael are rooming together, similar to their bunking arrangements growing up at home.

The four are still learning about the various clubs on campus and spend their time outside of class studying, watching football and hanging out together and with new friends.

WVU Potomac State Interim President Chris Gilmer first met the quadruplets on move-in day earlier this fall.

As students arrived at the Davis Conference Center to pick up their residence hall room assignments, secure meal plans and tend to any unfinished business, President Gilmer approached Mike Grinnan, a parent, who was surrounded by a group of young adults and asked him, “Which one of these students will you be leaving with us today?” Much to his surprise, Grinnan answered, “All of them.”

“In all my 30 years in higher education, I’ve never had a set of quadruplets on my campus,” President Gilmer said. “You can imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned they chose Potomac State College. We’re honored.”

When considering colleges, the quadruplets looked at schools relatively close to home and near Elkins where they have family.

“We were also looking for a smaller campus because we knew we’d learn better in a more personal environment. Potomac State College is a perfect fit for us,” Michael Grinnan said.

The quadruplets learned about Potomac State College from their grandmother, Bobbie Ray Grinnan, who attended classes on the Keyser campus for three semesters from 1965 to 1966. “I lived in Reynolds Hall my first two semesters and then commuted from home the third semester because my father was ill, which is why I didn’t return for a fourth semester,” Bobbie said. 

She graduated from a small high school in Randolph County and remembers it being an easy transition to Potomac State. “I felt very comfortable on campus. The friends that I made were from similar rural backgrounds. The faculty were friendly and helpful. I enjoyed my time there,” Bobbie said.

It was for all these reasons that Bobbie met up with her four grandchildren and their parents on the Keyser campus this past summer to walk around and share with them her experiences and stories from when she was a student.

“I thought Potomac State College would be a great fit for the quadruplets, especially coming out of COVID-19,” Bobbie said.

At least one of the four siblings texts Bobbie every night to let her know how they are doing. Admittedly biased, Bobbie said they are good kids who have always been priorities for their parents, Sophia and Mike Grinnan.

“West Virginia is like a second home to them. Their Nan and Pap live there. We visit there all the time,” Sophia Grinnan said. “We went to Potomac State College and they just fell in love with the campus. Everyone there was so nice and helpful. It was a natural fit.”

Sophia and Mike also recognize that their kids require routines, as well as quiet when studying, which is why the quads chose to be each other’s roommates.

“They respect each other and know each other’s idiosyncrasies,” Sophia Grinnan said.

When asked what advice they gave their children as they went off to college, “Put forth your best effort,” was Mike Grinnan’s response. “School comes first. It’s not cheap sending four kids to college. Mom and Dad are still working to send you to school, so you need to put forth the effort to keep yourselves there.”