In 2008, Susan Marcu sat in the stands watching her daughter, Ashley, graduate from George Fox University with a bachelor’s degree in art.

This December, 14 years later, it will be Susan’s turn to walk across the stage.

Traditionally, George Fox legacy students are those who had a parent or grandparent who attended the university. In the Marcu family's case, the legacy is reversed, with Susan continuing the George Fox tradition that her daughter started.

“This has been a longing in my heart for my entire adult life,” Susan says. “I put my husband through college in the ’80s, and then I put my three kids through college in the early 2000s.”

With her kids through school and on to their own careers, Susan began to explore her options.
She had attended college briefly right out of high school but never finished.

“I was not ready. And it wasn't long after I forfeited that opportunity that I realized what I had forfeited.”

With three kids to raise, there was little time to fit in college classes. Susan pursued an entrepreneurial path instead as a seamstress and sewing instructor, later working full time at a CPA firm. Throughout her kids’ childhood, she encouraged creativity and found ways to grow her own skills.

“My art has always had a practical element to it,” she says. “I taught sewing and art classes at my kids’ school. Our house was a constant buzz of arts and crafts.”

As a creative maker and craftsperson throughout her life, she knew she wanted to use those gifts to help others. She began investigating art therapy programs and mapping out her plan. Earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology was the first step.

“I really wanted to be at a Christian college, especially for psychology, which can be such a secular area of study. I have grown exponentially through this program. It’s broadened my point of view on so many things.”

Susan began taking courses in the George Fox Adult Degree Program, a flexible online program designed for working adults, in 2019. When the pandemic hit, she continued walking alongside her cohort online.

“I'm doing this at a time when the world is upside down and all of your perceptions are on the line. Being in the coursework through all of that was an opportunity to dive in and spend the time to really think about some of these things.”

“I have been privileged to hear other perspectives and also get to know the person behind them. That’s where I’ve grown the most. It has deepened my faith.”

Susan will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and mental health studies alongside her cohort on Saturday, becoming the second person in her family to earn a George Fox degree.

“It was 100% worth it,” she says.

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