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4 Times the Fun: Capdeville Quadruplets Experience All Syracuse Has to Offer, Together
Imagine making the decision to attend a university nearly 2,000 miles away from your home in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Imagine your father is a passionate alum of that university: You grew up watching its sports, wearing its colors and hearing about the impact it had on his life.
Now imagine you’re not making this decision alone—but alongside your three siblings, who are all applying and committing to schools around the same time.
That is the short version of how quadruplets Savanna Capdeville ’24, Donovan Capdeville ’25, Gabe Capdeville ’24 and Doug (Dougie) Capdeville Jr. ’24 all ended up following their dreams to Syracuse University.
To Orange, or Not to Orange? That Is the Question
Doug, who was named for his father, College of Law alumnus Douglas Capdeville ’74, G’77, L’77, says the decision was easy for him. “It’s in the blood for me,” says the communication and rhetorical studies major. “Syracuse was always my dream school. Growing up it was like, ‘I’ve got to go to the ’Cuse!’”
Among his siblings, however, there were varying degrees of hesitancy and commitment.
“Going to school with my siblings was the last thing I wanted,” Donovan says. “I wanted to be on my own and start an independent life without always being associated with a group of people.” But he wanted to pursue mechanical engineering (he has since switched to studying industrial and interaction design in the College of Visual and Performing Arts), and the academic offerings at Syracuse beat out the other schools he was considering.
For Savanna, a double policy studies and sociology major in the College of Arts and Sciences | Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, it was their campus visit that swayed her. “I was blown away by how many programs Maxwell had that I was interested in and how beautiful the campus is. I’d never seen so many offices, resources and beautiful facilities.”
Gabe, who studies economics in the Maxwell School, originally planned to attend Arizona State University. After Doug and Donovan both committed to Syracuse, the pressure began mounting for the quadruplets to choose the same school.
“The thought came through that it was possible for all of us to attend Syracuse and with it being the same school our dad went to … you know, he’s had that school spirit since we were babies,” Gabe says. “We were split on whether we should all go to the same school or do our own thing, but in the end we all ended up going to Syracuse and our dad was super happy about that.”
With Gabe and Savanna jointly deciding on Syracuse, the plans were in motion. After studying remotely in the Fall 2020 semester due to COVID, the siblings packed their bags and in January 2021 landed in Syracuse together. “That was all of our first time seeing snow—we came out of the airport and it was just everywhere,” Donovan says.
Exploring Their Passions, Interests and Identities
During their undergraduate careers, the Capdevilles have blossomed as scholars and humans. They’ve remained close as ever while also cultivating their own passions, networks and extracurriculars.
Donovan spends much of his time downtown at the Nancy Cantor Warehouse, home of the College of Visual and Performing Arts’ School of Design, obsessively sketching ideas for new products and working on design projects.
“I always had a passion for art and the aesthetics of things,” he says. “Designing the material and look of different products and making products better always intrigued me. I’m very excited to go to school every day.”
“As a kid, Donovan always said he wanted to build iPhones, so industrial design fits him really well,” Savanna says. This summer, Donovan studied abroad through the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Syracuse University Program in Florence, interning with a website and user interface design company to help build his portfolio.
Fueled by his interests in math, business and entrepreneurship, Gabe loves the academic rigor of his economics major and continually challenges himself with increasingly difficult courses. He plans to attend graduate school for economics after graduating, but perhaps not in Syracuse—“I might want to do it in a place that’s warm,” he says.
This summer, Doug had internships in social media, graphic design and digital media. He is currently loving his Digital Media Cultures course, which covers the power of algorithms and the digital media space in general, and says his dream job is to be a social media manager for a professional sports team.
Savanna is an advocate for racial and environmental justice who hopes to further her commitment to those fields by entering a graduate program at Syracuse. She is currently a student employee at the Intercultural Collective—the intersecting office of Multicultural Affairs, the LGBTQ Resource Center and the Disability Cultural Center—and is an intern with the Dimensions Women of Color peer-to-peer mentoring program in Multicultural Affairs.
Savanna engages in undergraduate research exploring marginalization on the campus, local and national levels, with her most recent projects involving statistical research on the influence of demographic factors on the American public’s perception of systemic racism and qualitative research on gentrification and outsider business ownership in her hometown of St. Croix. Savanna spent the summer working as a legal intern at a law firm on St. Croix and building her online secondhand clothing store that she’s been running since 2019.
She is currently doing a consulting internship through one of her Maxwell courses with the local nonprofit FORCE (Focusing Our Resources for Community Enlightenment), surveying Syracuse residents about public perceptions of reparations and the history of slavery. “It’s been a great opportunity to work off-campus in the Syracuse community and to get to know the people who live and work here,” she says.
A Venn Diagram of Social Connections
During the Capdevilles’ first year on campus, Savanna lived in Day Hall, home of the Multicultural Living Learning Community, which helped both her and her brothers find community and close-knit friendships with fellow Black students.
“Even though we all decided to go to the same school, we were all like, ‘Wow, we’ll probably see each other twice a week, once a week,’” Doug says. “We never thought we’d be in the same friend group, but it turned out to be the exact opposite.”
Through each sibling’s unique network of connections, the four ended up consistently running in the same circles. “We’ve honestly stayed pretty tight-knit since we’ve been here,” Donovan says. “A lot of our friend groups consist of each other, all of our friends are friends, and we’ve been in pretty much the same friend groups throughout.”
Gabe, Donovan and Doug currently live together off campus, while Savanna lives with friends nearby. The brothers have played intramural sports together, winning championships in volleyball and football sophomore year. The four recently attended a ’Cuse football game, and Savanna says she makes it a point to see her brothers regularly. “We do random stuff together. Gabe and I got food yesterday. Donnie and I are going on a hike tomorrow. Dougie and I have a cooking class together,” she says.
Although each have their own social lives, having three lifelong, built-in friends comes with its advantages while navigating college life.
“We’ve honestly bonded being together here at school. We’re closer than we were before, and we’ve had each other to fall back on when friendships or relationships go awry. We always have one another for support,” Donovan says.
While their paths will likely diverge as the Capdevilles wrap up their undergraduate careers and head toward what’s next, the bond formed throughout childhood—and reinforced here at Syracuse—will remain unbreakable.
“Syracuse has really had it all for us,” Doug says. “The campus is beautiful. It has the sports teams, the social and academic life is out of this world. I’m glad I get to go here and experience it with my siblings.”