Hard work, determination and a fortuitous stint on a national television show all combined to help 28-year-old Marcus Grudzinski of Wilkes-Barre earn the 2018 Outstanding Adult Learner of the Year award presented by the Misericordia University Center for Adult and Continuing Education.
At Misericordia’s spring commencement ceremonies, Grudzinski graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the history, and government, law and national security programs. While maintaining a grade point average of 3.51, he completed an internship with the Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas President Judge Richard Hughes.
He plans to continue his education in law school.
Grudzinksi admits he was not the most conscientious student in high school, but it was after his family home was flooded and destroyed by Hurricane Lee in 2011 that he realized he needed to apply himself and further his education. He earned an Associate in Applied Science degree in criminal justice from Luzerne County Community College in 2013 and was chosen as the school’s Criminal Justice Student of the Year.
Grudzinski was a full-time worker at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2014 when he was selected to appear in an episode of the television series, “Undercover Boss.” His story of needing to work to help support his family caught the attention of Mohegan Tribal Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum during the filming. Upon seeing Grudzinski’s dedication to his job and efforts to better himself with education, Bozsum awarded him $45,000 to pay on the mortgage of a new house.
With a bit of his financial load lifted, Grudzinski enrolled at Misericordia University in 2015, qualifying for a Presidential Scholarship.
During the award presentation, Allan W. Austin, Ph.D., professor of history at Misericordia University, described Grudzinski as an extraordinary adult learner whose participation in class raised the level of discussion.
“Marcus is the student I want in every class,” said Austin. “He is serious about preparation; he is a leader among his peers; he asks hard questions of the material and of me and he always wants to get better, no matter how ‘constructive’ my criticism is.”
Grudzinski also participated in a service-learning class in 2017 taught by Austin. It required students to travel to Philadelphia to do research in Quaker archives and present their results to members of American Friends Service Committee, a Nobel Peace Prize-winning Quaker organization. “Despite the challenge of travel and time commitments, Marcus displayed all of his best qualities and produced a fascinating study of Quaker activism against the Vietnam War,’’ Dr. Austin said. “His project reminded me of just how lucky I have been to have had Marcus as a student in my class.”
As a Misericordia student, Grudzinski was a member of numerous honor societies, including Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Kappa Delta English honor society, Psi Beta psychology honor society and Alpha Sigma Lambda adult learner honor society.
For more information about the Center for Adult and Continuing Education at Misericordia University, call 570-674-6400 or visit misericordia.edu/cace.
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 56 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes MU as a 2018 Best Northeastern College and MONEY Magazine includes Misericordia in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges” list.