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For one graduate, a decade of learning at Adler was a fabulous, magical time

Stories | 05.02.23

Editor’s Note: Adler is hosting its first-ever Giving Day on May 10, an opportunity for the community to support the changemakers and visionaries of tomorrow by donating to the Adler Fund or one of its scholarship funds.

At 6 o’clock on Friday mornings, Michelle Majewski, Psy.D., and her husband Larry Reynolds, Ph.D., would drive to Milwaukee. They’d hop on the train to Chicago and then a bus to their studio apartment in the Gold Coast neighborhood. For the next three days, they’d take classes — him at Loyola University, her at Adler University, then-called the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

“On Sunday afternoon, we’d go back to Union Station, hop on the train back to Wisconsin, and teach our college courses all week,” said Dr. Majewski. “And we’d do it all over again when Friday comes.”

That was the couple’s off-and-on weekend routine for a decade until Dr. Majewski earned her doctorate degrees from Adler’s clinical psychology and neuropsychology programs in 2008.

For a life filled with learning — Dr. Majewski earned two master’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and did post-master’s work at Marquette University — her time at Adler will always hold a place in her heart.

“It was a fabulous, magical time in our lives,” she said. “Adler will always be my favorite.”

It’s why when she was asked to serve in the newly revamped Alumni Council, Dr. Majewski didn’t hesitate to sign up.

“For Adler, I’ll do anything,” she said. “It’s the perfect time to rebuild and strengthen the University’s connection with its alumni. It’s an opportunity to help create social and professional connections between current students and past graduates.”

Today, Dr. Majewski serves as president of Marian University of Wisconsin, a small Catholic applied liberal arts school in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She has also served as dean in two of the Marian’s colleges — and it’s where her and her husband taught courses while taking weekend classes at Adler.

It had been about 15 years since Dr. Majewski was last a student when the couple decided to return to school together.

“We were just talking one day and said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to go back to school together?’” she said. “Our son had just graduated from high school. So, all three of us happened to be in college at the same time.”

The couple settled on Chicago, with Dr. Reynolds pursuing a doctorate in social work at Loyola; Dr. Majewski chose Adler.

“I liked Adler because it had small cohorts, and we really got to know each other,” she said. “Also, honestly, they had the most amazing faculty during my time at Adler, including Arthur Freeman, one of the key founders of cognitive-behavioral therapies.”

Even though Dr. Reynolds went to Loyola, he also got some education from Adler’s faculty, specifically Adlerian psychoanalyst Mark Stone, Ph.D., who once served as academic dean and director of research at Adler.

Dr. Reynolds would come to the Chicago Campus on Friday nights to pick up Dr. Majewski. He’d wait outside of class and eavesdrop on Dr. Stone’s lectures on statistics.

One year, when Dr. Majewski asked her husband what he wanted for Christmas, he had a very specific wish.

“He said, ‘You know, what I would really like is to spend some time, just to be really engaged in conversations with an expert,” she said. “I knew he was enamored with Dr. Stone.”

No longer a student of Dr. Stone’s, Dr. Majewski sent him an email and explained her request.

“I didn’t get a response. I was very worried that I had overstepped,” she said. “But three weeks later, I received an email from Mark, and he signed it ‘From Santa Clause.’ He did it. They would meet at the office and just talk about statistics and research. My husband still says it’s his best Christmas present.”

And Dr. Majewski still loves talking about how Adler has shaped her life and career.

“I don’t think I would be in this seat right now if I had not gone back to school and completed my degree at Adler,” she said.

Dr. Majewski had been interested in doing clinical work after volunteering and then working at a local mental health center during her undergraduate years.

“I was hooked,” she said. “To be able to work with people to help them have a better and stronger relationships. It was so rewarding.”

But after graduating from Adler, she was offered a position to serve as dean of a college at Marian, ultimately becoming president.

“This was not a goal or part of the plan,” she said. “But I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Still, the influence of Adler comes through. There have been Marian students who she has encouraged to attend Adler for graduate or post-graduate education.

“One of my former students is now also one of Adler’s alums in sports psychology,” she said.

And this fall, as part of a Read with the President program at Marian, Dr. Majewski has chosen two books, “The Courage to be Disliked” and “The Courage to be Happy.” Both written by two Japanese authors, Fumitake Yoga and Ichiro Kishimi, who lectures on Adlerian psychology and serve as a consultant for the Japanese Society of Adlerian Psychology.

“It is a great way to introduce and engage my students to some Adlerian concepts and ideas,” she said.

It’s a small way, Dr. Majewski said, that she stays connected and reminisce about her time at Adler.

“That moment in time was a dream,” she said. “I still remember doing a lot of my homework on the train. I would write my reports and assessments. We also got to know the train conductors really well.”

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