Graduating University of Puget Sound senior Sam Friedman had a hunch.
“I’ve had a bunch of different conversations over the past four years that there was a bizarre amount of twins who go here,” said the economics major from Portland.
He and his English-major twin sister, Elaina, met up with three other pairs of graduating twins Sunday before being among the 661 graduates of the private Tacoma liberal arts college at the college’s commencement at Baker Stadium.
“It’s nice to see that’s actually true,” Sam said. “There are a lot of twins who go here.”
UPS was Elaina’s top choice after a friend’s older sister went there and loved it, and Sam chose the school as deadlines were approaching.
The two used to run in the same social circles in high school, but they went their own ways in college.
Dina and Nihal Mustakin decided they were going to go to college together after going to different high schools in Las Vegas.
“We weren’t burned out on each other from high school,” Dina said.
The fraternal twins started out as premed majors, but Dina struggled with chemistry and decided to pursue an arts degree. Nihal changed majors, too, but stayed in the sciences, majoring in psychology.
“She’s the brains,” Dina said. “I’m the wits.”
Alissa and Joshua Nance ended up touring schools together before graduating from Grants Pass High School in southern Oregon.
Alissa wanted to go to a small, private liberal arts school. Joshua copied his sister’s school applications because she had her act together and he procrastinated.
But they didn’t know the other had decided to go to UPS until after they turned in their intent to register. Alissa majored in English and classics, while Joshua studied computer science.
They planned to get breakfast together every Sunday morning, but that only lasted through their freshman year. They even lived together as juniors, but still hardly saw each other.
“It’s always random when I do see him,” Alissa said. “When I do see him, it’s like, ‘Oh, that’s my brother.’ ”
Identical twins Rachel and Reed Glover came from Kailua, Hawaii, to UPS because they both fell in love with the school’s German department.
They both studied the language in high school and found they had a knack for it, and they decided to stick with it.
But after Rachel — who studied German international studies — lived abroad in Bavaria, her German literature major sister could hardly understand her because her accent was so thick.
The student speaker at the commencement ceremony was Tacoma native Nakisha Jones, a former United Students of the University of Puget Sound president. Jones said faith is the missing link between the ideals of the Constitution and daily life in America, and related that to the school’s values.
Her advice for the 117 graduate students and 543 other undergraduates was simple: “If you survived Puget Sound, you can survive America.”
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, was the commencement speaker after receiving an honorary doctorate, along with Tacoma Public Schools Superintendent Carla Santorno and Costco co-founder Jeffrey Brotman, a Tacoma native and former UPS student.
Kilmer’s speech used several movie references to make many jokes — he compared his wife to Chewbacca from the “Star Wars” movies, referring to her as his “hairy co-pilot” — and he made fun of director Michael Bay, calling his speech “Transformers 2016.” (The former film store clerk said the “Transformers” series offered little to learn from.)
Apart from graduating together, the four pairs of twins have another tie — one to the rowing team. Sam, Dina, Nihal and Josh were on crews for the Loggers, and Rachel served as a manager for the teams.
Sam plans to continue to row after graduation. He will be taking a rowing trip down the Mississippi River starting in August, collecting water samples to give to a professor at Louisiana State University.