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April 28, 2011
By Nichole Beckman, media relations assistant
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Unlike most of the students who will be receiving their degrees from Northwest Missouri State University this spring, Linda Lajcak is a grandmother who will receive her undergraduate degree after a lengthy career in the United States Air Force.
As a Master Sergeant in Transportation and Accounting Finance in the United States Air Force, Lajcak was honorably discharged after 22 years of service. In 1996, Lajcak and her husband moved to Maryville to be close to family after retiring.
In Maryville, Lajcak began volunteering and working in the community and created Nodaway County's Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit organization she also chaired.
But in fall 2005, Lajcak decided she wanted to return to school and began taking computer classes at Northwest.
"Northwest is the largest campus I have ever attended, and at the beginning it was very strange and overwhelming to be in a classroom of over 90 students," Lajcak said. "All of my teachers, especially my advisor, Beth Goudge (instructor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences), have been instrumental in helping me succeed in each class."
Graduating this spring with a bachelor's degree in merchandising of textiles, apparel and furnishings, Lajcak took one class a trimester at first. As time went on, she became more committed to getting an education.
"I had an interest in interior design, and the design classes at Northwest gave me the opportunity to practice many design applications," Lajcak said. "It took me some time to get into the swing of studying and taking notes, quizzes and tests, but my teachers and fellow classmates have always been very helpful getting me through them."
After graduation, Lajcak plans to open a bed and breakfast in Maryville in hopes of providing "outstanding hospitality and great lodging" for visitors and members of the community. She also hopes to have open house events during holidays, provide educational tours for young students and host community functions at the property.
"Northwest classes like marketing, sales, promotions and merchandising were vital classes to helping me become successful in the future," Lajcak said. "Being one of the oldest students at Northwest, I have had an excellent experience and have learned a lot."
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468