A-Z Index

Susan Hockensmith '72

Susan Hockensmith '72


Lewis, Iowa

Current City

St. Louis, Missouri

Northwest Foundation Board Member

Board member since 2023


  • B.S. Elementary Education, Northwest Missouri State University, 1972


Elementary Education Teacher for five years; Substitute Teacher; Homeschool Teacher; Piano Teacher for 30 years.

In 1989, Susan and husband, Dana, became owners in the child care/early childhood business. Sue is an active business owner at Lakeside Children's Academy West St. Louis County, which was built in 1992.


Susan and her husband, Dana, are co-founders of the residential home, The Pony Bird Home, located in Jefferson County, Missouri. They founded this home in 1977 due to their son, Philip's, diagnosis of Cytomegalovirus Virus (CMV) at an age of 2 months, which left him with mental challenges, blind and deaf; totally dependent on others. They created a home for people, like their son, with physical and intellectual challenges. The Pony Bird Home cared for around 85 individuals until 2022 when it merged with Next Steps for Life. The new Pony Bird is a private, not-for-profit organization that enriches the lives of more than 1100 individuals with disabilities at every age and stage of life. Each individual becomes part of a loving family and, as such, is nurtured and enriched in a safe and caring environment. Susan and Dana serve on the Board of Directors and are very involved in committees and events at Pony Bird.

Susan met her husband, Dana Hockensmith, in 1969 at Northwest and married in 1971. They have three children: Philip, who is deceased; Angela (John) who live in Shawnee, Kansas with their sons, John Noah and Luke.; and Laura, (Joe) who live in St. Louis with their son, Benjamin.

Susan enjoys photography, bird watching, reading, music and movies.

Why are you "forever green"?

"Being the oldest of five children, my four years at Northwest totally changed my life. I found my passion and enjoyed professors who encouraged and truly cared about my education. I have very fond memories of those days and am still very passionate about Northwest. I am the co-founder of the Northwest Missouri State University St. Louis Alumni and Friends Chapter in 2008."