Linda Mapus and Kathy Borton prove that there is no age limit on learning. For the past six years, they have doubled as Heidelberg staff members and Heidelberg students. Both worked full time jobs while taking classes to complete a Bachelor’s degree.
Linda began her career at Heidelberg in 2002 and has split her time between the admission and financial aid office. Kathy has worked as the Admission Office Manager for 39 years. Both women enjoy their jobs and interaction with students. When the time was right, they decided why not join them in the classroom.
After her kids grew up and moved out, Kathy had empty nest syndrome. “I decided that it was my turn,” she said. “I’ve had nothing but support from my family.” For Linda, a degree meant finishing what she started. She already had past credits, but never completed her degree.
They began in the fall of 2007. By coming to work early or shortening their lunch time, both Linda and Kathy made up the work time missed for class. “After our first couple classes we decided we could do it,” said Linda. “Kathy and I began laying out what turned into the six year plan.” They enrolled in one class at the Maumee campus and one class on Heidelberg’s campus each semester. “We never stopped,” Kathy said. “That is what kept us going.”
Some of their favorite classes were Spanish with Cynthia Lepley, Intro to Environmental Science with Ken Baker, and Business Law with Rita Barga. “Every class has its own memories,” said Linda. Those memories included traveling. They visited the Toledo Museum of Art for their studio art class, traveled to Chicago with the Cities and Societies class, and went south for the border trip. “It’s been a lot of fun,” said Linda. “I like the interaction with students.”
Both went from interacting with students as professionals to becoming their peers in the classroom. “Students got used to seeing us,” Linda said. “We weren’t treated differently because we were doing everything they were doing.” “The students have been very encouraging,” added Kathy.
Support came from their co-workers as well. “I am very fortunate to work with a great bunch of ladies in the Financial Aid Office,” said Linda. “I was able to adjust my work schedule to fit classes each semester. From economics at 8:00am or statistics at 9:30, Spanish at 11:00 or history at noon, I was able to stay on track for graduation.” Kathy added, “The people I work with are great. They’re my friends and the reason I still love working here.”
Over the years, many staff members have taken classes while working at Heidelberg. However, it is rare for them to complete a full degree. Both Linda and Kathy contribute their success to each other. “We were each other’s support system,” said Kathy. “We called each other our study buddies,” said Linda. Most of their classes were together and they would stay after work to study.
The hardest part for them both was the drive to the Maumee campus. “You work during the day, drive to Maumee, grab a quick dinner, have class for 4 hours and drive home again,” said Kathy.
This weekend, both Linda and Kathy will graduate with a degree in Business Administration. The achievement not only completes their goal, but serves to inspire others. “Don’t listen to people who say you’re too old,” said Kathy. “Once you gain an education nothing can take it away.” Good advice for any graduate.