Accidental Sisters

A must read in 2023

Every Mustang has a unique journey, both before and after the Hilltop. For former SMU swimmer Katherine Linn Caire ’81, her journey includes accidentally discovering that she has a sister.

Adopted at birth, Kathe had no intention of finding her birth parents or any biological relatives until she had daughters. She wanted to give them the pieces of their medical history that were missing.

A few days after requesting a no

n-identifying search from Catholic Charities USA, Kathe received more information than she had asked for.

“The caseworker who sent the information had made an egregious mistake by accidentally leaving my birth mother’s last name on the copies sent to me,” says Kathe.

Suddenly, she was faced with a decision that would change her life forever.

“In one moment, my outlook on what I wanted to know did a complete 180. This moment was followed by a number of unbelievable, serendipitous events that eventually led me to my sister.”

As the events unfolded and Kathe discover

ed more and more about her life, she decided to share her unique story. Her unbelievable journey is now the focus of a must read.

In Accidental Sisters, Kathe retells the story of how she found her biological sister, learned about her birth mother and traveled a path of self-discovery.

“I want readers to enjoy the exceptional nature of our story. I hope that it will help others to realize that sometimes you never truly know how you feel about a situation until you are dropped right in the middle of it.”

Add Accidental Sisters to your reading list for 2023.

Not only is Kathe an amazing author, but she was also a great swimmer during her time on the Hilltop.

“Swimming is what brought me to SMU, and for that I will always be beyond grateful,” she says.

Originally committed to Northwestern, Kathe changed her mind and came to the Hilltop instead when nationally recognized Coach McMillion (affectionately referred to as Coach Mac) sent her a letter asking her to consider visiting SMU.

“I went to visit, fell completely in love with SMU and Dallas, and was offered a scholarship.”

Kathe’s father talked her out of taking the scholarship, encouraging her to “just be a normal kid in college.” Eventually SMU Women’s Swimming and Diving Coach Vicky (Cain) Veris convinced her to swim for the team.

“Swimming at SMU taught me so much about persistence and how to be a superior time manager. It helped me to learn what it meant to be a team member although I’d been competing for many years. Being part of a team at the collegiate level is a whole new level of devotion.”

Although Kathe has left the Hilltop, to this day she still uses what she learned here.

“My time at SMU gave me many gifts, but I’d have to say the most important was instilling an imperishable love of learning. I had so many great, inspiring professors that I was thrilled to pick out my classes for each successive semester. It never got old, despite how busy I was. I still have that proclivity to this day.”

Fast Facts about Katherine Linn Caire ’81

What’s your favorite memory from the Hilltop?

I still remember like it was yesterday. Our graduation weekend, sitting in front of Dallas Hall with one of my best friends asking, “How could four years have gone by so fast?” I literally didn’t want to leave. It was such a great undergraduate experience.

What were you involved in (in addition to swim)?

I was involved in my sorority as well as Mam’selles, the SMU modeling group. I felt like I wasn’t nearly as involved as I wanted to be with either group because I was always in one of two places – in the pool or in the classroom. I made the tough decision after my sophomore year to hang up the swimsuit and devote more time to my sorority. I’m very thankful for that choice because the friends that I finally got to spend time with are still many of my best friends today, over four decades later. I held leadership positions in my sorority junior and senior year that prepared me for my impending move into the corporate world upon graduation. It all worked out just as it was supposed to.

Favorite class or teacher?

Hands down, my favorite professor was Hal Williams. SMU was graced with his presence when he came to the Hilltop from Yale a few years before I was a freshman. I took my first class with Dr. Williams when I was a freshman, an intro to U.S. history course. It was critical to him for his students to fall in love with history – to understand the cause and effect that historical events had on people and the subsequent paths that ensued as a result. It wasn’t about spitting out dates and facts. Thus, my first collegiate history professor had a monumental influence on my love of writing.


BBA, concentration in finance. Minors in art history and economics.

Favorite SMU tradition?

The Celebration of Lights each holiday season. My favorite written tradition is the school’s motto, veritas liberabit vos, or, “The truth will make you free.” If you have time to read my memoir, Accidental Sisters, you will understand why I love SMU’s motto so much!