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A Webber family graduation

A mother, son and father are successful Marylhurst students


by: SUBMITTED PHOTO: ANDIE PETKUS - Amy and Adam Webber received bachelors degrees in English literature and writing at Marylhurst. Mark Webber, right, will graduate from the school in December.Every one of Marylhurst University’s 540 bachelor’s and master’s degree candidates this year has a story to share.

But of all the students who crowded into the Oregon Convention Center in Portland during a Saturday commencement ceremony, there was an especially rare tale: the Webber family graduation.

A mother and son, Amy and Adam Webber, were graduating Marylhurst University together, both in English literature and writing. The patriarch of the family, Mark Webber, is on track to finish his communications bachelor’s degree at the school this December. Plus, Adam Webber’s fiancée, Sarah Zisa, graduated from Marylhurst last year, and they’re getting married at the school in August.

“We are crazy, crazy people aren’t we?” said Amy Webber, 50.

She’s the one who first linked the family to Marylhurst. Throughout her time there, she worked at a Washington school district in the learning assistance program, tutoring struggling readers in kindergarten to fourth grade.by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Amy and Adam Webber graduated from Marylhurst this month.

She enjoyed her job but wanted to try something new. Now, she’s thinking about obtaining a master’s degree and pursuing a career as a writer.

“I also want to keep my brain fresh and keep taking classes because there’s more to learn,” she said. “You’re never going to stop learning.”

Adam Webber, 26, worked on cruise ships as a videographer, and he decided he preferred writing to camera work. He lives in the duplex attached to his parents’ place, and said they’ve been wonderful study partners who encouraged him to pursue his dream.

“They have to help you out because they’re family, so they can’t say ‘no,’ and the other thing is we shared books,” he said.

He now plans to attend a master’s program in teaching at Washington State University. Zisa also will be pursuing a master’s at WSU.

Mark Webber, 53, said he went back to school “kicking and screaming” after being laid off from his job at a mill in Camas, Wash. The family quickly sold its home, and he sent out hundreds of job applications without any luck, so he decided to start over.

Remembering the test anxiety and stress of high school in the 1970s, Mark Webber didn’t expect to be a good student. But, just as his wife and son did, he excelled. He wouldn’t use the word “proud” to describe how he feels.

“Surprised is probably more the term that I would pick, I think,” he said.

He plans to pursue a master’s of business administration degree in sustainable business at Marylhurst.

Amy and Mark Webber live in Vancouver but may be coming to Portland or Lake Oswego, depending on where the job market takes them. Their daughter, Adele, graduated from Portland State University with a degree in nursing, so the family isn’t 100 percent Marylhurst.

But, Amy Webber said Marylhurst has done a lot for her, allowing her to study abroad in Rome and at Cambridge University in England.

Marylhurst “is beautiful,” she said. “It’s just a very calm atmosphere, very peaceful and their education was just amazing.”



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