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Nurturing Mothers, Nurturing Minds

Thursday, May. 16, 2019

USU graduate Tiffany Lemon Snell with her mother Susan Lemon.

USU graduate Tiffany Lemon Snell with her mother Susan Lemon.

Susan Lemon of Providence, Utah, never finished her education, but in many ways she is deserving of degrees in history, biology, economics, and education—just a few of the disciplines studied by her six children. 
When she arrived at Utah State University in 1974, Susan had every intention of completing her education, but plans changed shortly after she met Lynn (’76). The couple married, and soon had their first child, Amy (Thatcher ’99). The financial toll of raising a young family and attending school was too great. Susan put her education on hold, shifted attention to her family, and took a part-time job to support Lynn’s education. When Lynn graduated, Susan received a “Ph.T.” (Putting Husband Through), an official award that the university bestowed at the time. She still has the university-issued certificate. 
Susan never formally returned to USU, but as her children grew, she inspired in them a deep respect and love for education. When her children entered college, Susan encouraged and supported their pursuits. Her daughter, Amy, enrolled at USU, received a full-ride scholarship, and was elected President of the President’s Leadership Council. Amy, like her mother, married, had a child, and was conflicted about finishing her degree. Susan respected Amy’s choice, but Mom’s admonition was clear: Finish your schooling.  
“I only have one regret in my life,” said Susan, “that I didn’t finish my degree.” Susan made sure that Amy had every opportunity to succeed. She cared for her granddaughter almost every day so that Amy could complete her schooling. 
Susan and Lynn had three more children during the first five years of marriage, losing one as an infant. Her son Michael, daughter Sheri, and their spouses all attended USU. Each accepted the challenges of school, marriage, children, and each confronted the difficulty of remaining in school. In each instance, Susan was a rock: “Finish your degree no matter what. I will help.” Susan cared for each of her grandchildren, and she devoted her evenings to guiding and tutoring her children through college. She coached, edited papers, helped with lesson plans, created and rehearsed flashcards for her medical school-bound son, and so much more. 
Susan and Lynn had two more children, and they are proud to report that all five are Utah State University graduates, including Tiffany, their youngest, who walked just last week. There was a brief “scare” with Tiffany when Weber State University tempted her with a full-ride vocal scholarship. As he had with all their children, Lynn made the family’s position absolutely and lovingly clear: “Tiffany, you are not going to Weber. We are an Aggie Family.” Fortunately, Tiffany felt the same way. 
While Susan has no plans of completing her degree at this time, she is grateful all of her daughters and daughters-in-law have chosen to balance motherhood and schooling. She is also thankful to play a key role in their educations.  
“I’m so glad I was able to help. I think it’s vitally important that every young woman get a college education,” Susan counsels. “None of us knows the circumstances that life may bring. A college education is a worthy endeavor for every mother.” 


  • - Josh Paulsen, Director of Strategic Communications, University Advancement, 435-535-5696

Media Contact:

  • - Josh Paulsen, Director of Strategic Communications, University Advancement, 435-535-5696

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