(from South Plains College)
LEVELLAND – It’s never too late to follow your dreams. At the age of 46, Susan E. Rushing began working on a master’s degree in Higher Education-Student Affairs at Texas Tech University. It was during that time when she decided that she wanted to make a difference in the lives of students.
Susan decided the best place for her to work would be at a community college – and she soon landed a job at South Plains College. She worked as a counselor and job placement advisor at SPC. Not only did she help students find their career paths, she also helped them to build confidence and self-reliance – all the while reminding them that her door was always open. She wanted each student to succeed.
Mrs. Rushing was born in Lubbock. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from West Texas A&M University. Susan came from a family of educators. She taught English, English as a Second Language and Reading for nine years. After recovering from a bout with cancer, she returned to work in the Music Education Office at Texas Tech. It was at that point in her life that Susan started working on her master’s degree.
“When I was teaching, I invited Susan to serve as a guest speaker (about resumes and interviews) on several occasions,” said Julie Gerstenberger, director of Development and Alumni Relations. “The students loved her and I think that was not only because she offered good, practical information, but more so because they could sense the genuine passion she had for seeing them succeed. Having her in my classes was a gift to the students and to me.”
For nearly 11 years, Susan found fulfillment in her journey at SPC. In May 2011, she retired from the college. She spent her remaining three years caring for her family, pets and friends until she passed Jan. 8, 2014.
“My mom was a champion for the students at South Plains College,” said Andrea Bodine, daughter. “She would ask a student ‘what is your passion?’ and then she would ask herself, ‘how do I help to make that happen?’ She said that’s why she loved it here because the students needed her.”
Mrs. Bodine and her father Randy Rushing recently pledged $10,000 to the Board of Directors of the South Plains College Foundation to endow the Susan E. Rushing Memorial Scholarship to assist SPC students. The scholarship will benefit first generation or non-traditional students studying in either education or the medical field.
Mrs. Bodine, a local realtor, contributed funds from her home sales to her mother’s scholarship.
“We want her legacy to continue to live on at South Plains College,” she said. “She always saw the potential in all of her students, even when they didn’t see it in themselves.