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Frannie Everhart (left) earned her bachelor's degree in music this May, the same time her mother, Megan Everhart, earned a master's degree in strategic communication.
Megan and Frannie Everhart are a mother and daughter who each
received a UD degree on May 28. Megan, a communications specialist with the
College of Arts and Sciences, began working for the School of Music in 2009 and
has now earned a master of arts in strategic communication, a program that
launched in fall 2019. Frannie started at UD in 2018 and earned her bachelor of
arts in music with a concentration in music management. They aren’t the only
Blue Hens in the family, as dad Jeff earned an MBA in 2018 and brother Ben is a
rising junior English education major.
Here they talk a bit about their time at UD.
Frannie: Hey, Mom – why did
you decide to go to school again?
Megan: Well, you know, your grandma started at seminary when
I was a senior in high school, so I’ve always had that example that it’s never
too late to start something new, and I always wanted an advance degree, but I
didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study. Then you kids were born, and it
just wasn’t an option for a while. In spring 2019 I took a graduate
communication course just to see how it felt to be back in a classroom, and my
professor, James Angelini, told me UD was launching the strat comm program that
fall. I knew immediately it was the right time and the right program for me.
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
Frannie and Megan Everhart were among the 1,825 new College of Arts and Sciences graduates recognized at the college's convocation ceremony on May 27.
Megan: My turn – why did you
Frannie: I mean, honestly, I almost didn’t. I basically grew
up on campus, so I really wanted to go far away for college. But when I looked
at all the options, I realized UD was the best place for me. And now I
appreciate that I grew up in Amy du Pont and the CFA [Roselle Center for the
Arts]. I remember rolling down the CFA lobby when I was just 9 or 10. I know
those buildings better than most people. And, Aimee Pearsall was an undergrad
intern when I sang in the Community Music School Children’s Choir, and now
she’s on the faculty and conducted me in University Singers, and that’s really
Frannie: What was the hardest
part of being back in school?
Megan: I’ve taken a lot of classes over the years, so it
wasn’t too hard to adjust to being a student again, but Communication Theory
with Dr. [Danna] Young almost killed me. The workload was unreal for a
seven-week course. I also loved it, though, because succeeding was so
gratifying. And when it was done, I knew I could survive the rest of the
Megan: What was your hardest
Frannie: Music theory. I took music theory freshman year of
high school, but I didn’t take AP music theory, so I had to work hard to keep
up. But I’d rather work hard at something I really love learning than just have
it easy. And I know I am so lucky to be able to study something I really love,
because not everyone gets that chance.
Megan: I know! You went from
not being sure you wanted to be so close to home to changing your major so that
all your classes were in my building!
Frannie: I also wanted you to
buy me lunch more often.
Megan: What was the best part
of your four years at UD?
Frannie: My first semester was amazing. Doing World Scholars
and going to New Zealand was unforgettable. I loved my Māori class – learning
about their culture while living in the country was the best experience. And
German 105 with Frau Busch was super fun. She took an eclectic group of
students and made the class so engaging. And this led to my Winter Session in
Leipzig, which I loved, too.
Frannie: What was your best
Megan: The first cohort of strat comm students included a lot
of UD employees, and we were really supportive of each other. Also, as
everything was happening for the first time, we were asked to give a lot of
feedback about the classes and the program. It felt like we were helping build
it for future students.
Megan: What’s next for you,
Frannie: Next, I’m working at Bonnaroo in Tennessee. It’s
gonna take a while to break into music event management, but I’ve already made
connections from working at Firefly and Okeechobee, and I’m going to keep
finding gigs and work my way up.
Frannie: What will you do
Megan: I’m still finding ways to apply what I learned in the
program to my real-world work, and I enjoy that process. One of my last classes
was Communication and Leadership, and I was not very excited going into it.
Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t see how it would apply to academia, and I took
it just to get the credits. By the end I liked it a lot, especially looking at
how communications fits into the organizational structure of higher education
and aligning communications goals with organizational goals.
Frannie: You sound like a
Megan: That’s because I’m a
Frannie: What does it mean to
you that we finished at the same time?
Megan: In a lot of ways, it’s just a fun story. I was
supposed to walk at Commencement last year, but I was a class behind after
quarantine, so it’s a happy accident that I walked this year. If you want me to
get sentimental about it, I love that UD is part of our family. Living in
Newark, working here, being a UD parent and then a student myself, it all just
makes UD part of our story. It’s home, and home is the most important thing.
Megan: What does it mean to
Frannie: It felt a bit extra at first, but I came around. I
was really stressed for Convocation on Friday with the rain and the delays, but
Saturday was amazing. It was fun to wake up early and get seats in the front
row to watch Biden speak. What could be better than saying hi to the president,
graduating from college and having my mom right there to celebrate with me.
Article by Megan Everhart and Frannie Everhart; photos by Matthew Cohen and Andre L. Smith
Published May 31, 2022