In Memoriam

Last Wednesday, my first cousin Peggy died suddenly at the age of 58.

She was the proud and dedicated mother of four children, including three University of Iowa graduates. Her twin daughters received bachelor of science degrees in biology from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and went on to earn medical degrees—one here at Iowa. Her son followed the twins to the UI and garnered a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering. Peggy was so proud of the twins, who are now practicing physicians within the state and serving the medical needs of fellow Iowans, as well as of her son’s accomplishments in his engineering career.

As I sat down to write a sympathy note to Peggy’s grieving family, I remembered why I admired her so much. She juggled three or four jobs at a time to ensure that her children received a stellar education at the University of Iowa. Her daughters and son understood the value their mother placed on holding a higher education degree. She instilled in them the importance of keeping focused on their studies to achieve academic success. Moreover, she taught them the value of hard work—the twins and their brother held down various work-study jobs on campus throughout their college careers to contribute to their education and living expenses.

Peggy had a zest for life and a passion to guarantee that her children had every advantage an Iowa degree could provide. She understood that studying at Iowa would help prepare her children for the many challenges and opportunities that would face them throughout their lives. Peggy was not unlike those of you who are putting your children through the university now or those of you whose parents believed in the power of a high-quality education from Iowa.  Peggy made personal sacrifices to ensure that her children attained an Iowa degree that would hold them in good stead throughout their lives.

So here’s to my cousin Peggy who lived a vibrant and full life.  I am proud of her.  And I applaud her for the legacy she made sure to hand down to her children—a passion for learning, a commitment to higher education, and a dedication to serving others.  I’m sure her children will carry on that legacy in their own families to honor their mother’s memory.

May Peggy rest in peace.

Susan E. Sweeney
Alumni Records Manager

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