Sara J. Crawford Fulfills Academic Goals at Mount Union College

April 22, 2010

Since the fall of 1992, Mount Union College's Adult Studies Program has provided individuals unable to partake in traditional college programs the opportunity to achieve a liberal arts education. For Sara Crawford, the program has allowed her to fulfill the goal of graduating from Mount Union almost forty years after her initial enrollment.

Sara was a part of the 161st Commencement Ceremonies on Sunday, May 6, held on the lawn of Chapman Hall. Walking across the stage with the other 413 graduates, she earned her diploma after returning to the college in 2002 to finish her education more than forty years after she began in 1956.

'I was an education major but decided that it wasn't for me,' Crawford commented, 'I was dating my husband at the time and was also working, so I withdrew in my junior year.'

After withdrawing, she was employed at the Alliance Machine Company for over 28 years. In 1978, a strike almost caused her to return to school. 'I wanted to go back, but after nine months the strike ended and, since my job paid well, my education was again delayed.'

It was after retiring that Crawford decided to return to Mount Union College. 'My husband joked that I was too old to be a teacher. I had already decided that I wanted to go a whole new direction.'

That direction was towards the fields of psychology and sociology, with Crawford's specific interest being in prison psychology. 'After having the opportunity to interview a prison psychologist two years ago, I wished that I had known this is what I really wanted to do in life.'

However, Crawford still has many things to be satisfied with. She has been married for over 47 years to William Crawford and has two children, three grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. In addition to her retirement and family life, she has also worked for Knox Township as a trustee for the past 12 years. 'I enjoy working with people and solving problems,' she said, 'I really can't say enough about what it has meant to me.'

Crawford also spends time volunteering at the Alliance Community Hospital and for the Mile Branch Grange.

In regards to her college experience, Crawford commented on the adult student stereotype. 'I tremendously enjoyed the classes, instructors and students. I thought that students would be non-accepting of an older person attending classes, but they were very friendly and accepting.'

Karen Moriarty, registrar and director of adult studies at the college, commented on Sara's achievement.

'It is so amazing that she came back after all of these years. We're very proud of her for sticking it out and are tickled that she is finally a Mount Union graduate.'

The Adult Studies Program, though a small fraction of the overall Mount Union experience, it is a great opportunity for individuals whose work and family may conflict with the traditional college programs to earn a liberal arts education. Students like Sara Crawford are prime examples of how one can achieve academic excellence while enrolled in the Adult Studies Program at Mount Union.

Crawford recommends this experience. 'I felt very at ease and suggest to anyone to go back. It is a very rewarding opportunity.'

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