Gies junior Luke McCurdy is one of 13 siblings, sixth to attend the U of I

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Luke McCurdy always laughs when people tell him they have big families.

That’s because McCurdy, a 20-year-old junior at Gies College of Business, is the youngest of 13 children.

“I’ll tell people, and they’ll just take a step back,” said McCurdy, a St. Charles, Illinois native. “They won’t believe me.”

McCurdy is the sixth sibling in his family to attend University of Illinois and will be the third to graduate from Gies Business. His older brothers – Matt, 26, and Jake, 22 –are both Gies graduates. Matt, a 2014 graduate, majored in supply chain management. Jake double-majored in supply chain management and marketing and graduated in 2018. Both are consultants at Workday, a California-based software vendor.

“It’s been great to follow in my brothers’ footsteps coming to Gies,” said McCurdy, a double major in supply chain management and marketing. “I saw how much Matt and Jake liked it, and I’m really enjoying it as well. The Gies course work is very challenging and applicable to the work I will be doing in the real world. People in this College want you to succeed as much as you want to succeed, and my brothers’ success is testament to that.”

McCurdy also is the sixth member of his family to attend the University of Illinois. When he was born, his oldest sister, Courtney, was a student at U of I, and McCurdy has been coming to the campus his whole life. Many times, it was via the family’s former 15-seat, four-row red van that they took around the country.

His passion for the Illini extends to being a sports fan. He and Matt are traveling to watch the Illini men’s basketball team play in the Maui Invitational in Hawaii over Thanksgiving break.

“I’ve been at Illinois my whole life, and I love this campus,” McCurdy said. “The U of I is a great environment, and I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else.”

None of McCurdy’s siblings are twins, and none are adopted. His oldest brother, Ryan, is 41 – and he has 7 kids of his own. McCurdy’s parents, Thomas and Cheryl, are both 63 and met in high school. Thomas has been a dry wall contractor for most of his adult life, while Cheryl stayed at home with the kids.

McCurdy said dinners at home were pretty crazy, but things “weren’t a free-for-all.”

“It was wild, but that’s all I knew, and when you grow up in that situation, it becomes normal,” McCurdy said.

McCurdy is one of eight boys. Six of the McCurdy boys, including Luke, played varsity basketball for Burlington Central High School as well.
The siblings now live far and wide, including in North Carolina, California, Colorado, Illinois, and Brazil. McCurdy said all his brothers and sisters haven’t been together since their parents’ combined 60th birthday party three years ago, but many times at least 10 of the siblings convene.

“It’s great when we’re all together, and it’s been great getting closer to my siblings as we’ve gotten older,” McCurdy said.
McCurdy himself would love to have a big family one day.

“I don’t think I’ll have 13 kids, but I do like big families,” he said, laughing. “If you’re able to support them, then why not? But I’m hoping that’s pretty far away.”