Susan Chadwick ’09

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It is ironic that I have spent my career in Enrollment Management at various colleges, because as a high school senior I agonized over my college choice as the May 1st deadline loomed. While I thought Lawrence was a good option, I was not confident it was the right one. The beginning of my LU career was rocky – by the end of fall trimester I was already on my second roommate (who thankfully became a lifelong friend) and while I had always loved math, I had a bad experience with my first college level calculus course and felt lost in choosing an academic path. I spent the remainder of my first year taking random classes: gender studies, religious studies, psychology, and film. I had never taken these subjects in high school, and thankfully I was hooked.

In my later years at Lawrence I gained confidence through various activities. I became an RLA and a tour guide, and joined the club women’s ice hockey team, eventually becoming a captain. These opportunities changed my life, particularly as I found amazing friendships. I no longer felt like the shy kid I was in high school and grew confident through the encouragement of my peers and my growing connections with the administration. It wasn’t all sunshine – as a student leader I understood Lawrence was not perfect. When one of my closest friends back home committed suicide, I had professors, staff, and friends who were unbelievably supportive…but some fell disappointingly short. The next year, two classmates died from suicide, and I had to navigate my own grief while supporting others in my role as an RLA. When I encounter difficult times, I remember the grief I experienced at Lawrence and how I learned my own limits and boundaries, and to work towards healing and acceptance. I served as a student representative in a federal grant writing process for suicide prevention funding, which Lawrence was awarded shortly after my graduation. LU taught me how to use my voice to make a difference.

My work in the admissions office put me on my career path as a higher education professional, and after several years away I returned to Lawrence as a staff member in the financial aid office. My love and appreciation for Lawrence grew as I saw tangible impacts of alumni fundraising on increasing the grants available to students. Helping a new generation of Lawrentians achieve their goals brought me tremendous joy. After only two years I received an opportunity to serve as the leader of the financial aid office at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Ken Anselment, who was the brand new admissions director when I was a senior in high school, was now the Vice President of Enrollment. When I told him I didn’t know if I should leave LU and that I wasn’t sure I was capable of the job, he gave me some crucial advice: “guilt and fear are two very bad reasons to make a decision.” I left Lawrence for the second time in 2018 and I am forever grateful to the people I’ve met at Lawrence personally and professionally – they truly changed my life.