When Anne McLeod graduated from Glen Oaks Community College with her Associate of General Studies degree earlier this month, she was in utter disbelief when GOCC President Gary Wheeler called her to the stage to announce that she was the recipient of the 2013 President’s award.
Wheeler described McLeod as being an active learner who provides significant class contributions. “Her cumulative grade point average, and the positive degree to which she performed in all of her classes, were emblematic of her overall dedication to the pursuit of her educational goals and aspirations,” said Wheeler. “We look forward to her future endeavors, as she builds on these accomplishments, and brings success and honor to herself and to Glen Oaks Community College.”
As current president of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society of two-year colleges and academic programs, McLeod says it was only a few years back when she was in a state of depression and was unhappy with where she was at in life.
All of this has changed for the better as she has made a total turnaround while at Glen Oaks personally, socially and academically. Her self-esteem and confidence has bloomed and the introverted, quiet person with a lack of confidence she once was, has evolved into an individual more than worthy of this prestigious award—she is perceptive, bright and passionate about her work and studies.
McLeod, who currently resides in Three Rivers, Mich., has quite the worldly background. Although, born in Scotland, she spent her childhood years growing up in Canada and moved to England as an adolescent in the late 80s. She finished high school in a school system outside of London, and attended Leyton Sixth Form College, an intensive preparatory school that readies students for university-level studies. Her goal at the time was to be an English teacher. “I love the English language and was inspired by my English professors at Leyton,” said McLeod.
When her parent’s moved to Three Rivers, Mich., during this time, (her stepfather was from the area) McLeod stayed back to finish up the first portion of her schooling at Leyton.
It wasn’t long though before she made the move to America where she lived with her parents for two years. Within three weeks of her arrival, she obtained a teller position at Sturgis Bank and Trust, eventually working her way up into the Loan Department.
“In my mind, banking was a temporary option for me, but time slipped away and I realized that after 13 years in banking, I was depressed and burnt out,” said McLeod. “I wasn’t happy in the position, and kept telling myself that I needed to go back to college—I knew I had to get something going.
Her parents offered to help out, and she enrolled at Glen Oaks. “I always had an interest in psychology, and I took my first psychology class during my first semester at Glen Oaks,” she said. “I really enjoyed the class.”
McLeod became involved in the Student Government organization on campus. She adapted to college life well, and soon began to realize the value and benefits of furthering her education.
In her third semester, she became president of PTK, and at the same time was offered a work study position in the Administration Office.
“I developed all sorts of “friendships” with the faculty and staff at Glen Oaks,” said McLeod. “The employees at the college are so encouraging, friendly and helpful.” McLeod began to set her eyes on obtaining a career in the college environment for her future. “Last fall, Cheryl Hayden, my academic advisor, knew that I had an interest in working at a college. Hayden’s advice was— “You need to work as a student ambassador in the Admission’s Office with our admissions director. This would be great exposure for you.”
It worked out well for McLeod. She worked as a work study student in both Administration and in the Admission’s Office. “It was as if someone above was looking out for me, because not only did I need the money to help finance my education, but I loved the work,” said McLeod.
McLeod admits she is a “volunteer fool” stating that she volunteers for so many activities. “I love learning, I love using my brain – being at the college is like ‘play’ for me.”
What’s next for McLeod? She recently enrolled in the Bachelor of Science Degree program in Organizational Management at Spring Arbor—the classes are held on the Glen Oaks Campus, and she will continue to take her electives at Glen Oaks.
McLeod will most likely stay in the states when she finished her schooling. “I love nature and I love the space—I have a great backyard, and you can’t get that kind of land easily and affordably in England.”