It was a life so filled with tragedy, it sounded like a movie.
Yet this graduate of West Liberty University, now an author and professor, encourages students to dream big.
Dr. Christina Fisanick Greer was the featured speaker at West Liberty University’s fall commencement.
She said, as a child, she was “written off as a loser.”
Born to an unwed mother with an eighth grade education, they lived in an abandoned church.
“My mother tells me that the snow came into the broken windows and onto the bed where we slept,” said Dr. Greer.
She said growing up was hard, and she was bullied.
“So when I found out I was pregnant in March of my senior year, I immediately dropped out of high school,” she recalled. “Sadly, when my daughter was three and a half months old, her father murdered her, and I was left a grieving mess with no education and an ex-husband who was in prison.”
She went back to school–first high school, then college, and finally ended up getting her doctorate.
“Those were hard times but they were good times,” she noted. “I fell in love and married. Then as my new husband and I were making plans to welcome our new son into the world, he was born three months premature, and died in the hospital at just one week old.”
Years went by, and she struggled but recovered, until tragedy struck again.
“While we were out Christmas shopping, our house caught fire,” Dr. Greer told the audience. “By the next morning, everything was destroyed, including our beloved cats who had been trapped inside.”
Now she is a professor and author of more than 30 books, and she has a son and a good life.
She warned the 138 graduates that the road ahead may be bumpy.
“But don’t let the short term struggles dictate your long term goals,” she told them. “Dream big. Then dream bigger.”
West Liberty University is in its 180th year.