October 9, 2019
Mother of seven children, grandmother to 14 grandchildren, and a learning enthusiast, Lynne Anderson is BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s director of student services.
“I really hope that I can help anyone in the program stick with it, persist, stay in there, and hang in there,” she said. “I have some experiences I think that are probably pretty similar to theirs, and I know what it feels like to be in that position. I want to help make it better.”
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Lynne attended BYU for three semesters. She met her husband, Glenn, when she returned home to southern California, and they started their family there. But shortly after they were married, Lynne’s husband was diagnosed with cancer.
In a devotional address she gave in 2014 at BYU-Idaho, Lynne said, “I had three young children at the time and a husband whose health was failing rapidly. Cancer and its effects had taken their toll on him for almost 10 years. It became obvious to us all that he would not live much longer, and the responsibility to support our family would soon fall on my shoulders.”
Lynne needed more than her preschool teaching certificate to do that, so she attended night school at Dixie State College where she received her associate degree — all while taking care of her children and very sick husband.
For months Lynne took her children to daycare in different cities while traveling to Cedar City, Utah, to attend Southern Utah University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education. Each day she picked up her children, attended school, made dinner, cared for her husband, did her homework, and fulfilled any other responsibilities that came her way.
She said, “I often felt that I could only complete one more assignment or fix one more meal or get up early one more day, and then I would need to quit. But then, somehow, I had the capacity to do more. I was able to get by with less sleep, finish assignments in less time, and still take care of my family.”
“I completed 30 credit hours that summer, and even made the Dean’s list. A week after the quarter ended, my husband died. My faith in Jesus Christ grew, and I learned to trust Him when things seemed impossible…. I am a witness to His love and power.”
Following the death of her husband, Lynne remarried and added two step-daughters and another daughter to her family. Her family relocated to North Dakota. The marriage eventually ended, and she returned to school again, this time, online.
After receiving her master’s degree in instructional design and technology from the University of North Dakota, Lynne was inspired to move closer to her children who were attending BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho. There, she was led to a position in the testing center and eventually moved to a position with BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Along the way, Lynne graduated in December 2018 with her doctorate degree online in education from Arizona State University in innovation and change leadership.
Now, as director of student services, Lynne often works with BYU-Pathway students who are experiencing extenuating circumstances. “That’s one of the roles that I feel was tailor-made for me,” she said. Her life experiences prepared her to help students in a variety of situations.
She explained, “No student wants the run-around. They need to get from where they start to where they end. Hopefully that will be a better experience because of our team.”
“In a way, it’s a calling,” she continued. “I feel like the Lord’s been preparing me for a long time to do work like this with His children. He loves His children and He loves [BYU-Pathway] students. He has so much compassion and love for them, and I feel like I can be a part of that building of the kingdom.”
Lynne is also participating in PathwayConnect to try to better understand what students go through as they try to complete the program.
She said, “There are a lot of things that come up in your life that make you feel like you want to give up and that you can’t go on. Hang in there. Reach out to someone if you feel like giving up and have a conversation with a fellow student, with a mentor, with the Lord, or with an ecclesiastical leader. Reach out to someone when you feel like giving up because there are people around you, those that are seen and unseen.”
Lynne understands how learning changes the quality of our lives. She said, “School always gave me something to look forward to. It was one semester at a time; it was one class at a time. You do everything you can, and when it’s over, you start over again. It’s like, ‘Okay, I learned something from that class and now I’m starting something new.’ It propels you forward rather than having you focus on things behind you that you struggle with.”
How have you felt supported in your trials as you’ve pursued higher education? Comment below!