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FU times two

Kayla and Kellie Bingham ’14

For many incoming freshman, making the transition to college life—new friends, new digs, new routine—can be daunting. But for identical twins, Kayla and Kellie Bingham ’14, plunging into their freshman year at Furman was a little easier.

That’s because they did it together.

“Automatically, it took one stress of college away,” said Kayla. “You go into college knowing someone very, very well. Because I felt comfortable, it made me so much more outgoing.”

On Saturday, the Binghams’ four-year journey came to a close. The sisters were one of three sets of identical twins to graduate with Furman’s Class of 2014.

Sisters Kayla and Kellie Bingham of Cayce, S.C., earned their bachelor’s degrees in biology. Heath Burton of Belton, S.C., earned his bachelor’s degree in health sciences, while twin brother Hunter Burton earned his in business administration. Sisters Caley and Kiersty Degroote of Lyman, S.C., both earned bachelor’s degrees in political science and communications.

Kayla and Kellie have chosen similar career paths but want to remain distinct individuals.

At times that can be challenging. They are members of the same sorority, Alpha Delta Pi. As biology majors, they’ve purposefully scheduled the same classes at the same times. They study best together and wanted to be able to study the same material.

They’ve worked on research projects separately: Kayla with Biology Professor Victoria Turgeon and Kellie with Biology Professor Jason Rawlings.

Kellie is planning a career as an ob-gyn or an anthesiologist, while Kayla hopes to become a surgeon. They’ve both enrolled at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

With similar interests at the same school, “it takes a little longer for you to establish yourself as an individual,” said Kayla Bingham.

For the Degrootes, their paths as undergraduates started out differently, but gradually began to overlap. Caley started out as a communications major while Kiersty majored in political science. After they discovered they enjoyed each other’s majors, they both decided to double major in the two disciplines.

They joined separate sororities, Delta Gamma and Kappa Kappa Gamma, but decided to participate in Mock Trial together all four years. They weren’t able to compete as rival attorneys though—it was too confusing.

Their friends were only slightly confused their freshman year when they both drove matching white Suzuki Aerios. After one of the cars was rear-ended, they replaced it with a black Suzuki.

A tell-tale mole on Caley’s cheek is the main way most people tell the sisters apart. Though sometimes people still mistake their identities and randomly hug the wrong twin, they don’t mind.

“I couldn’t tell the Binghams apart until last year,” Caley DeGroote said.

They’ll head to Wake Forest Law School together next year, though they haven’t decided on their specialties as yet. A third Degroote, their younger sister Kara, will graduate from Furman in 2016.

Hunter and Heath Burton both played baseball at Furman. Hunter was recently named to the Southern Conference Academic All-Conference Team received Furman’s General Excellence in Business award.

He is pursuing a career in the financial services but says there’s a possibility that he might spend some time playing baseball at a higher level. Heath is headed to the University of Texas to pursue a graduate degree in Exercise Science.

On the field, in the classroom, and in the lab, they have achieved numerous individual successes. And these Furman alumni will continue to distinguish themselves in the future.

See more photos in the Commencement 2014 Gallery.




Last updated May 12, 2014
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director