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Three of the four McCarty brothers, left to right: Matthew, John and Luke.

Students moving into Massey Hall last week might have thought they were seeing double…make that triple.

That’s because Matthew, Luke, and John McCarty—three of a set of quadruplets from Crossville, Tennessee—are among this year’s freshmen, and they are living in Massey Hall. Their brother Mark is going to another college in Knoxville, but plans to live in an apartment in Fort Sanders so the four can get together often.

John said the trio is garnering a lot of attention from floormates and classmates—even from a Knoxville TV station that followed them around campus.

McCarty brothers
Three of the four McCarty brothers, left to right: Matthew, John and Luke.

“It seems sometimes I’m just a McCarty brother, not John,” John said. “A lot of people think it’s remarkable, us being quadruplets. But to me it’s just life.”

The fact is, the McCarty brothers’ story is pretty remarkable.

They were born in June 1993 in Chicago after their parents underwent four years of fertility treatments. The boys were born nine weeks early, small (2.6 to 3.4 pounds) but healthy. Their mother suffered congestive heart failure and was hospitalized for a while, but is fine now.

How did they get their Biblical names?

Their mother explained in a 1994 Chicago Tribune story marking the quadruplets’ first birthday: “I knew that I was pregnant, but I never thought there would be more than one,” she said. “It was about two weeks later that I had the dream. To me, it was God. A man’s voice told me that I would have four boys and that I should name them Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and that I should raise them in the Christian light.”

The family moved to Crossville when the boys were 4. Their parents subsequently divorced and their mother remarried a man with three children, so the quads now have two stepbrothers and a stepsister.

The McCarty brothers learned to love UT as they were growing up. So, for the three of them, there was little doubt they’d come to Knoxville for college. They all received the HOPE Scholarship and the Pledge scholarship. Two are in UT’s ROTC—Luke in the Air Force and John in the Army.

Matthew plans to major in criminal justice; John is majoring in Spanish, but also plans to pursue a career in the military; Luke plans to major in criminal justice.

The brothers said, like all siblings, they squabble. But they rarely get into big fights. They are all best friends.

Luke and John, who have shared a room at home their entire lives, now room together in Massey. Matthew has a new roommate.

“It’s different,” Matthew said. “It’s like I’m learning how to make him my brother.”

All of the guys enjoy sports, although Matthew prides himself on being the most athletic and competitive of the three. His brothers said he’s the snappiest dresser. (“He has skinny jeans,” Luke said.) And he’s the family handyman—the one their mom calls if she needs the DVD player hooked up.

Luke is a musician—a drummer. He’s also the family comedian. His brothers said he’s laid back, nonchalant about problems and one most likely to leave his clothes lying in a pile on the floor. He’s the only one with a girlfriend at the moment.

John, they said, is a “walking dictionary,” the most studious and the avid reader. In a brotherly game of Trivial Pursuit, he wins hands-down.

All three say they are looking forward to being independent, but worry about their mom and stepdad being lonely without them.

“I don’t know how they’re going to deal with us being gone,” Matthew said. “At least they’ve got a cat.”

And Luke joked, “maybe they’ll get hobbies.”

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)