A Woman Named Marijuana Pepsi, Who Refused To Change Her Name, Earned Her Ph.D With A Dissertation On Uncommon Names

"Неудача – это просто возможность начать снова, но уже более мудро." Генри Форд ©

When art imitates life…

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck is a 46-year-old woman who just received her doctorate in higher education leadership from Wisconsin’s Cardinal Stritch University.

Her dissertation was titled «Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.»

stritch.edu / Via stritch.edu

As part of her project, she interviewed black students “about the effect of their distinctly black names on their treatment by teachers and on their academic achievement.”

She told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel her mom gave her this name because «it would take her around the world.»


Marijuana has a 16-year-old son named Isaac, who she said is smart and tall like his mom. She got married in 2017 to Fredrick Vandyck and live on a farm near Rockford, Illinois.

She spent the last eight years studying and commuting to get her degree.


Dr. Pepsi went on to tell the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel she left her unstable home when she was only 15 years old and has since spent her life «proving herself to a world that wrinkled its brow every time it heard her name.»

People are loving this story.

And cheering on her accomplishements.

I mean, she was actually an urban legend. Look!

My high school basketball coach told us he once had a student named Marijuana Pepsi Jackson who became super successful & I thought he might be lying, then like 10yrs later a coworker told the same story. Homegirl been an urban legend in my life for like 15 years 😂😂 https://t.co/aWzGbXrsIF

She also told the Journal Sentinel, «People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it.»

As for the future, now she wants to write a book that expands on the theme of her dissertation as well as look for a professor position.

Facebook: uwwhitewater

BTW, she’s also a real estate agent and owns Action as Empowerment, a coaching business.

She’s also putting aside money each month for the Marijuana Pepsi Scholarship, which will give $500 every year to a deserving first-generation African American student enrolled at University of Wisconsin Whitewater, her alma mater. The first scholarship will be in the Fall.


Bravo to a spectacular woman!

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