A Daring, Unpredictable Adventure: A Valedictorian's path to Graduation
April 21, 2010
Imagine leaving a great job, uprooting your family and moving 250 miles all to follow a childhood dream that life had put on the backburner.
Imagine enrolling in your freshman year as a college student at the same time your teenage daughter was registering for her freshman year of high school.
Imagine losing your spouse to cancer, forever altering the life you had planned.
Imagine balancing work and home, family and school, ambition and grief all while maintaining a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
On her path to graduation, 2010 University Valedictorian Robyn LaLumia has successfully navigated personal hardships that could have easily derailed her education – choosing instead to work harder, focus more and rely upon the relationships she had developed with professors and advisors to help her persevere.
And though her college experience has been fraught with more hardship than most, she is confident when she says she would most certainly do it all again.
In fact, though challenging, LaLumia welcomed the rigors of academia over the challenges she faced outside of the classroom. “School kept me looking forward. Thinking about the future rather just being stuck in what was happening – in the sadness of losing my husband, it helped me realize that life moves forward whether we want it to or not.”
As valedictorian, we conjure images of late nights studying, well-executed projects and thoughtful class participation. But for LaLumia, success is measured in experience, and she credits much of her academic success to the support network she had through friends, family and professors who helped her through tough times and pushed her toward success. And even though she claims to have been “shocked” when she heard she was this year’s valedictorian, the faculty and staff who had the pleasure of working with Robyn are confident no better student could have been selected.
In addition to performing well in her classes, LaLumia is also a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars as well as the Alpha Chi and Psi Chi Honor Societies.
Believing in Helen Keller’s axiom that “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all,” Robyn left a successful career to earn a college education a first generation student. Now complete, Robyn plans to continue the adventure by first traveling Europe and then pursuing a career in four-star resort management and marketing.
For LaLumia, life has been unpredictably challenging and yet, at the pinnacle of her academic success, she is able to look back on the past five years at SUU with victory in her eyes and a diploma in hand.