Most students at Moravian are on the four-year plan. Bonnie Salter, administrative assistant for admissions, shepherded two children through college on that plan: Michael ’97, a sociology major who works as an adult probation officer for Northampton County, and Jessica ’04, also a sociology major, who is about to get married and move to Fairfax, Virginia.
Bonnie herself has been on the 12-year plan. In May, she put on her gown and mortarboard and marched ahead of Jessica to receive her B.A. in psychology. It’s hard to tell who is more proud: Bonnie of her children or they of their mother.
Her larger family, the admissions and financial aid personnel, are just as proud. Bonnie says she couldn’t have done it without them—especially Bernie Story ’80, vice president for enrollment, who oversees both departments.
It’s no wonder she went for her degree, Bonnie says. “I’ve been surrounded by admissions counselors for 25 years—26 in October!”
She credits Erika Bayles Mondok ’90, associate director of admissions responsible for transfer students, with her first success. Erika recommended that Bonnie take an introductory sociology course, taught by Jim Hilander, and it was “a perfect first course and a good beginning.”
Bonnie took one or two courses a semester and says her department has been ”very supportive,” adjusting to her course schedule and exam days.
Jessica was 10 when her mother went back to school. By the time she entered Moravian, she and Bonnie would study and even work on class projects together. “I want to thank my family for dealing with me when I was stressing over foreign languages, homework, exams, papers, and math,” Bonnie says.
Of course, when your mother works on campus, certain liberties occur. There were days when one of her kids would come by and “borrow” her car. “I’d go to leave and couldn’t find it!” Bonnie says.
Bonnie has been in school long enough to have gone through a generational shift in faculty. Among those she liked best, she lists Hilander, Joyce Dougherty, Art Lyons, and Stacey Zaremba. She enjoyed contributing to the “Women and Their Work” project and became a political activist when she and Jessica took a College-sponsored bus to a march for women’s rights in Washington, D.C.
Her professors, she says, went above and beyond to work with an adult student with a family and a job. She was taking a statistics course in psychology when her father in Florida became ill, and she told her teacher that she’d be gone two weeks and would have to drop the course. Instead, adjunct instructor Carol Reese spent a Saturday with her at the Allentown Public Library to catch Bonnie up on the work she’d missed.
Jessica’s major in sociology and Bonnie’s in psychology come from a strong interest in working with people. Jessica held an internship at Holy Family Manor, a nursing home, during her final semester, and would like to work with geriatric patients.
Bonnie says, “I’d like to use my degree eventually,” though she already uses her skills to deal with parents calling for assistance, families visiting campus, and student applicants.
But she has more than enough to occupy her in the near future. She’ll spend the first part of the summer preparing her daughter’s wedding. And she’s about to become a grandmother, when Michael and his wife, Candace Weist, have their first child. “That’s a lot of changes at one time!” she says.