While meeting for the first time at a Truman visit day, Robert and Emily (Kiddoo) Kelchen had no idea what the future had in store for them. Robert was working the visit day and Emily, a year younger, was looking at Truman as a prospective school.
Robert and Emily’s mutual interests brought them together on Truman’s campus. Their relationship grew as they got to know one another during their time in Student Government, and when they collaborated on a vision document for the University they discovered how well they worked together.
They continued on to graduate school together at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where Emily (’08) pursued a law degree and Robert (’07) a doctorate in educational policy.
Emily, a political science major, discovered she wanted to go to law school through her various activities at Truman.
“I thought I wanted to be a lawyer and doing the Missouri Government Internship Program confirmed that,” she said. “All the cool jobs were held by attorneys.”
Today, Emily serves as the director of public affairs for the New Jersey Civil Justice Institute. In addition to providing legal analysis and lobbying work, she coordinates the organization’s communications plan to make sure its message is consistent with its mission. Previously, she was a lobbyist at the Hamilton Consulting Group and a staff attorney at Great Lakes Legal Foundation in Wisconsin.
Robert was a double major in economics and finance at Truman, but chose a different path than most of his classmates.
“I had some great professors and I really liked what they did,” he said. “I wanted the opportunity to teach and do research.”
He is currently an assistant professor at Seton Hall University in the Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy, where he teaches higher education finance, organization and governance, and research methods. A consultant for Washington Monthly magazine, Robert compiles and publishes its annual college rankings. His work, in conjunction with other colleagues, was awarded first prize for best data journalism in a small newsroom by the Education Writers Association.
After being so involved as students, Robert, originally from Washington, Mo., and Emily, a native of Memphis, Mo., have still managed to stay connected to Truman even while being far away.
“We were very fortunate that when we were in grad school in Madison, and now since we’ve moved to the East Coast, the Truman Alumni Association has allowed us to work with them to host get-togethers for alumni,” Emily said. “We hosted several in Madison and one in New York City and are planning more for the future.”
In their free time, the Kelchens enjoy traveling around the northeast and watching lots of St. Louis Cardinals baseball. The couple resides in Flemington, N.J., and recently purchased a house built in 1861. They have their work cut out for them turning the house into their home, but they enjoy all of the new projects.
From Truman, to grad school, to rehabbing their new home, the Kelchens have found nothing but success together.