Two-generation family graduating together

Spring graduation 2012 at Weber State University is approaching, and the Marsh family of Roy said they are waiting anxiously for the prospective day. The family not only has one student participating in the procession, but five family members receiving a diploma.

The future graduates include father Steve Marsh and sons Brad, Blake and Brandon Marsh. Also included in the group is Brandon’s wife Jennifer Marsh.

The Marsh family said they never anticipated for this type of academic union to occur, especially since each member’s degree emphasis is entirely different from one another.

“We all go to Weber, but there is not much overlap of things,” Blake said. “It’s good to hear about what the other departments have to offer. It makes me think that if I could do it over again, maybe I would go down another path because of how interesting it sounds.”

Each person holds a non-traditional student status, experiencing busy external schedules, spouses and full-time jobs. Each one has had a very different college experience, including different areas of involvement and time expended at WSU.

Steve, 52, refers to himself as the “non-traditional, non-traditional” type of student.

“The reason I say that is because I don’t go to school during the day,” Steve said. “I go to class at night, and I’m generally the oldest person in the class even if I take classes online.”

Steve will receive his Bachelor of Science in construction management and technology. The process to commencement has taken him a total of eight years. He currently works for the United States Army Corp. of Engineers, operating in construction management on all scales from residential to industrial.

Steve said that his job was the reason he went back to school.

“They have a program that helps people like me further their education,” Steve said. “Not all of the tuition, but they’ve helped out quite a bit. It’s been a great benefit for me in my career.”

One particular achievement Steve received during his educational process was the recognition of being the only student in the history of the construction management department to ever pass the Level II AIC test, better known as the Certified Professional Constructor.

“I am the only student who has ever done that while as a student attending Weber State,” Steve said. “That’s why construction management is good here. They have taught us so well that level two can be passed.”

Brad, 32, is the oldest amongst the three sons. He attended WSU on and off for the past ten years. He will receive his Associates in General Studies and will continue working towards a Bachelor of Science in technical sales.

Brad said he has seen a great amount of growth and change happen to WSU during his time spent on campus.

“It’s been really amazing to see what has changed from when I first started coming here,” Brad said. “I would say Weber is evolving and is more competitive now than it ever has been.”

Brad said receiving this degree will help give him more of a competitive edge in the job market.

“If you don’t have a degree, they just look over you,” Brad said. “You can have all the experience in the world, but now employers are so picky. Just saying you have an associates degree will put you up a higher notch over somebody with no degree at all.”

Blake, 29, will receive his Bachelor of Science in organizational communication. He has spent six years working towards his degree and said is still deciding what the next chapter in life will be.

“This is the ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ question that I haven’t answered for myself yet,” Blake said. “I should probably think about that soon.”

Blake became a member of the debate team two years ago as a way to become more involved with the school. He said he feels a much stronger bond to Weber, and it definitely helped his school experience overall.

“It makes you feel apart of the fabric to get involved,” Blake said. “Other than that, you are just a student who shows up for a couple hours a day and do it because you have to. Once you get involved, you come to school for a reason. Just the experience becomes personal, and Weber has opened opportunities through involvement.”

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Back row: brothers Blake, Brandon and Brad Marsh. Front: their father, Steve Marsh.

Brandon, 25, is the youngest of the three sons to receive his bachelor’s degree in political science with a legal studies minor. He said he is excited to move on to the next step in life.

During his time at WSU, Brandon became involved with different programs and activities offered on campus. He ran for the student senate, was a member of the College Republicans and hosted the former radio program The Informer.

He also participated in mock trial and won the best All-Regional Witness Award recently.

“I was the ‘expert accident reconstructionist,’” Brandon said.

After graduation, Brandon will travel to Washington, D.C. to complete an internship with Senator Mike Lee.

Brandon’s wife Jennifer is a junior who will receive an Associate of Science degree. She is originally from New Mexico and moved to campus through the Weber Edge Program.

She said that she loves Weber, especially since she met her husband in the political science department.

“I met Brandon here in an internal politics class,” Jennifer said. “We were friends for a while and then started dating a year later. We’ve been married two years this summer. Weber State brought us together.”

Each family member said they were very excited to graduate all at once.

“It binds us all together when we get to achieve something at once, and it’s cool to do it as a family,” Jennifer said.