Jensen family finds a second home at Webster University


Noah Jensen pulled up to Webster University with all of his belongings, preparing to move into his freshman dorm room for the school year. Although it was his first time on campus as a Webster University student, he’s visited countless times before.

Gina and Scott Jensen, who both run the Speech and Debate program for Webster, helped their son move onto a campus they’ve worked at for 25 years now. Gina said helping Noah move into his freshman dorm was emotional for her.

“It’s hard for me to let go,” Gina said. “It’s sad that I won’t see him everyday and every night, but it’s great that he is here at Webster. The move-in process was wonderful though, because they meet you at the car and they help you with your stuff and they make you feel very welcomed.”

Contributed photo by Gina Jensen. Left to right: Gina, Noah and Scott. Noah decided to attend Webster University, where his parents work, to play baseball.

Noah is attending Webster with the opportunity to join the university’s baseball team. He is also majoring in Sports Communications, which Scott is the head advisor for.

Despite being a new student, the school is hardly unfamiliar to Noah. According to Gina, the school was like a second home even before Noah moved into his dorm.

“Our kids have grown up at Webster,” Gina said. “Noah said he felt real at home the minute he got to campus because he grew up there. And even though he went to orientation, he felt like a lot of the things they were telling him he already knew, but that’s been great, because that has allowed him to jump in and feel comfortable and really feel like he was at home already.”

Scott and Gina Jensen came to Webster in the fall of 1997. Scott and the former director of Webster’s Speech and Debate, David Harpool, competed against each other during their college years. Harpool formed the Speech and Debate program in 1993 before asking Scott to lead it.

Scott and Gina both appreciated their time at Webster. Scott said he loves the community on campus and freedom he gets as a teacher to design courses for his students. Mostly, he enjoys the connections he made with students over the years.

“The kind of students that Webster attracts has been the greatest blessing in all of my experience here,” Scott said. “The student relationships have been unreal.”

Now, Noah is in the same pool as one of those students. He is in his father’s Sports Communications class. According to Noah, the Jensen family is a big sports family, especially in baseball. Therefore, coming to Webster to study Sports Communications seemed like an easy choice for him.

Scott said despite having Noah as a son and a student in one of his classes, he doesn’t see him too often.

“He’s in one of my classes, but we don’t call attention to each other,” Scott said. “He is just there, but we will see as the semester progresses.”

Noah admitted he was somewhat nervous coming to a school where his parents worked. However, he has enjoyed the experience so far in the opening weeks of the school year.

“I didn’t know if I would like it coming in, but so far, it’s not horrible,” Noah said. “Even in my dad’s class, I don’t really think about it. I don’t think of it as ‘this is my dad’s class, so I can do whatever I want.’ I still show up to class and do my work, so I don’t really mind it. It’s kind of cool because if I have a question about something, I always have someone to ask. I’m never going to be lost.”

Noah’s sister-in-law also works in the academic advising center. Brooke VonJensen married Noah’s older brother Tyler. Brook and Tyler met when they were both students in Webster’s music department. They graduated in 2015 and got married in 2018.

VonJensen began working for Webster in the Spring of 2022. She said she is excited to come back and work her first full school year at the university which has shaped her. As a student in the music department, VonJensen was also an orientation leader, R.A. and worked in a bunch of different offices on campus.

“I loved it here so much as a student,” VonJensen said. “I feel like this is where I came into my own and learned about myself and discovered who I wanted to be. I feel like I was running around like crazy when I was a student here, but I loved every minute of it. Then I left and went to grad school, and I missed this place so much.”

VonJensen said she was unsure if she wanted to come back and work for the school, fearing it would take away the magical experience she had as a student. However, she is excited to be working and advising students.

“It just feels so good to be back,” VonJensen said. “It’s so nice to be back at a place that meant so much to me and get to help the students that are here now. It’s a place that is really special to me.”

Before coming back to Webster, VonJensen worked at Lindenwood University as the Coordinator for First-Year Programs.

VonJensen said it has been fun coming back to work at Webster with Gina and Scott.

“It’s been really funny to come back and be associated with [The Jensens],” VonJensen said. “It’s not a bad thing at all, I love it. It’s been really fun to feel like this is a little family business vibe. I’ve enjoyed interacting with them outside of family stuff. It’s been really cool.”

VonJensen, as well as Scott and Gina, have been checking in on Noah periodically through the start of the school year, but they all are trying to give him as much space as possible so he can have a full college experience.

According to Noah, the interactions he has with his family on campus are not much different than their interactions at home, aside from the one class with his father.

“If I am just in my dad’s office or saying hi to my mom, it’s pretty much the same as at home,” Noah said. “It’s a little different, because at home, we aren’t trying to be professional or anything. We are just chilling, but it’s not much different on campus.”

Gina said she has seen Noah on campus just a little, as she is also trying to give him space, but she always enjoys a quick hi or a hug from him in passing.

Gina is excited for this school year with all the new students and getting the Speech and Debate team back after the summer break. She is also looking forward to attending the baseball games this year and cheering for the Gorloks.

According to Scott, he enjoyed having his children come to Webster because they came by their own choice and will.

“Tyler didn’t come here and Noah didn’t come here because they had to,” Scott said. “We have another son who is at Mizzou. In both cases, they came here because Webster was right, and that’s what is special about being here. That it’s not a family obligation. It’s a genuine love and appreciation for what Webster has with career goals and personalities, and I appreciate that we are in a place where that can happen – where we can celebrate the specialness of Webster as a family, and yet do it as four independent people.”

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Kaelin Triggs (he/him) has been a part of The Journal since 2019. He is a journalism major pursuing a career in sports writing. He also runs for Webster's track and cross country team, and he enjoys playing piano and hanging out with friends and family.