Summer 2023
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A George Fox Legacy – In Reverse

After four decades of waiting, it was Susan Marcu’s turn to walk across the stage By Rachel Brumfield

“This has been a longing in my heart for my entire adult life,” says Susan Marcu (B22).

Marcu supported her husband through college in the ’80s and later her three children, including daughter Ashley, who graduated from George Fox in 2008.

Finally, 14 years later, it was her turn to walk across the stage. In December, Marcu earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and mental health studies from the university’s Adult Degree Program.

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

Marcu attended college briefly right out of high school but never finished. “I was not ready,” she says. “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. She pursued an entrepreneurial path instead as a seamstress and sewing instructor, later working full time at a CPA firm. Throughout her kids’ childhood, Marcu 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 is primarily a secular area of study,” she says.

Marcu began taking courses in 2019, and because the university’s Adult Degree Program is all online, she was able to continue right through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was doing this at a time when the world was upside down and all of our perceptions were on the line. Being in the coursework during the pandemic provided a unique opportunity to engage with my cohort and wrestle with the pressing issues we all faced,” she says.

In the end, all the hard work – and the long wait – “was 100% worth it.”

Since graduating, Marcu has been accepted into a master’s program for art therapy. Her heart is to work with kids who have experienced trauma, she says, but she is open to wherever the journey takes her. As someone who is “always in her element when doing art,” she wants to use her passion to help others – and now she’s equipped to do just that.

“I have grown exponentially through this program,” she says. “It’s broadened my point of view on so many things. I have been privileged to hear other perspectives and also get to know the people behind them. It has deepened my faith.”

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Cover of Summer 2023 issue

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