No Typical Alumni!
My first encounter with Siena Heights occurred 25 years ago when I answered a phone call for my husband, Tracy. The caller was a professor, my husband’s advisor, but he hadn’t seen Tracy for a while. I knew that Tracy had had other things on his mind: a wedding, a demanding job, kidney dialysis, a kidney transplant, and then a leg amputation. But this professor didn’t know any of that. He just knew Tracy was close to completing his B.A., and he didn’t want him to quit: “Tell him we hope he’ll come back,” he said. “We want him to finish that degree.”
I was dumbfounded. Who bothered to keep track of individual students and notice when they stopped out? What college took the time to call a part-time guy on the 27-year plan…and encourage him to keep going? Who did that?
Siena Heights did. Professor Bill Blackerby did.
Tracy’s graduation a few years later was another eye-opener. I had attended a traditional liberal arts college and worked at two others; there, a “typical” graduate was about 22 years old. But sitting in the Fieldhouse in 1993, I knew … knew in a new way … that no senior had worked harder to reach this day than my 45-year-old husband. And no family was any prouder of their graduate than we were. What an epiphany!
At that moment, I became a fan of non-traditional education.