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Mother and daughter both set to graduate from Lynn University in May
Published May. 01, 2013
Lynn University’s commencement ceremonies fall on the same weekend as Mother’s Day. And a mother and her daughter have plenty to celebrate as both get set to collect their diplomas on graduation day.
Joanne Studer, the executive assistant to Lynn President Kevin M. Ross, will get her B.S. in psychology at the evening undergraduate/graduate ceremony on Friday, May 10, and her daughter Meghan Studer, her B.A. in the American Studies program at the day undergraduate ceremony on Saturday, May 11. Both will graduate from Lynn's College of Arts and Sciences.
Mother and daughter have always been close, but sharing the college experience has given them even more in common. Though they went to the same school at the same time, Joanne was able to see the benefits of a Lynn education as an evening undergraduate student, while Meghan had the more traditional college experience of a day student.
Meghan originally majored in humanities, but American Studies Professor Robert Watson’s passion and her interest led her to make the switch.
“He has helped me pick the classes that would work best for me, helped me get amazing internships at the Norton Museum and the Smithsonian in D.C., and is willing to do whatever he can to make sure I get the best opportunities,” she says of the professor that has influenced her most.
Though she received an associate degree from the University of Akron, Joanne always regretted not finishing her bachelor degree.
“It was a personal goal of mine to finish my degree, so I was completing it for the feeling of accomplishment,” she says. And her whole family was very supportive.
“I don’t believe in living with regrets so I proved that it is never too late to accomplish something that is important to you.”
And now she can check that off her bucket list.
The evening program
“Thankfully the instructors at Lynn in the night program all understand that most all of their students were also holding full-time jobs as well as being parents and spouses. As long as you kept an open line of communication with them they were willing to work with you on timing of projects or presentations,” says Joanne.
Though she was enrolled in the evening program, she had students of all ages in her classes – from age 20 to 87-year-old Jack Slotnick.
“My first class I walked into most of the students looked about 20 and I had a slight panic attack but they made me feel welcome from the beginning.” says Joanne. “It was interesting hearing different viewpoints from people of a variety of ages.”
And she was impressed with the open line of communication between the instructors and students.
“You get to know your professors very well. We were able to have great discussions because of the small class size and we felt comfortable with each other so it was okay to discuss things.”
A better understanding
Not many students experience having their mother going to college the same time they are, and Meghan says it was a “unique experience.”
“Once my mom went back to school she came to understand better some of the things that I was going through, whether it was dealing with professors, finding cheap textbooks, or just the amount of work and time it takes to be a student,” says Meghan.
“It was great being able to share the experience with her. Back in the ‘80s we were not using computers very much in college. So this was all new to me, so she was a tremendous help,” says Joanne. “And I am also able to understand the stress she is under at the end of semesters when everything seems to be due at the same time. It gave me a better understanding of what she was dealing with in college.”
Joanne and Meghan have always had a very close relationship which Meghan says got even stronger when they relocated to Florida eight years ago.
“My mom had to deal with selling the house, her job, making sure my brother and I were doing okay, and so many other things. Seeing her handle all of that with such a strength and grace made me realize that is how I want to be as person,” says Meghan.
“We have always been very close to each other and we never went through a bad period with each other. She always knew that I am a 'mother' first and later on in life we could be friends,” says Joanne. “Now it is nice because I have to do less mothering and can be friends more often. She has always made me very proud of her and we value our relationship as mother and daughter and we look forward to being best friends our whole life.”
And now the college experience has further strengthened their bond.
“I am extremely proud of my mom. She went back to get her bachelor’s degree to check it off her bucket list, but of course she did it with flying colors, always did well on her papers and presentations, and had such enthusiasm with everything she did. Going back to get her undergrad is just one more reason that I admire her,” says Meghan.
And mom is equally proud of her daughter: “She completed her degree in just 3 years and she has blossomed into a beautiful young lady while attending Lynn. Her experience here gave her confidence to be a leader and to try things outside of her comfort zone.”
“The opportunities and people here have helped me grow into the person I am today,” says Meghan. “When I came to Lynn I was a very shy and reserved girl who didn’t like to put herself out there and take chances. In the three years that I have been here I have completely broken out of my shell and have become a much more outgoing person. That wouldn’t have been possible without all the amazing people I have come to know such as friends, faculty and staff, and the amazing opportunities Lynn was able to provide me with.”
It will be an exciting weekend for the mother/daughter graduates.
“I am looking forward to walking across the stage to get my degree,” says Joanne,” but being able to watch her [Meghan] walk across the stage to get her degree the next morning is something very special.”
More about the Studers
Joanne Studer is the executive assistant to Lynn University President Kevin Ross. She will receive her B.S. in psychology in the evening undergraduate/graduate commencement ceremony. Meghan Studer completed her B.A. in American Studies degree in 3 years. She has done internships at the Norton Museum of Art and the National Museum of Natural History, mentored students in a J-Term Citizenship Project class, studied abroad in South Africa which she says “was incredible and one of the best experiences of my life,” was a member of the Knights Activities Team, and volunteered in the Office of Admission and at Lynn’s Keith C. And Elaine Johnson Wold Performing Arts Center box office. Kevin Studer is also a Lynn student finishing up his first year. He is in the Lynn 3.0 program and will be a resident adviser next year. Last week he received the Knight Award for Most Outstanding New Student. Mom says he takes after his sister by getting involved in everything and they have enjoyed their one year together on campus.