A Sacrifice for Education: Marvin Njoroge’s Parents Made Enormous Sacrifices to Educate Their Children

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Written by Amy West, College of Business Communications Manager

Marvin Njoroge, graduating this weekend, came to BGSU from Kenya, a country in the eastern part of Africa in the spring of 2010. His parents instilled the importance of education in him from a very young age, and Marvin tributes his success to the sacrifices made by his parents.

“My mum was both a mother and a father to my younger brother and me. Not because she was widowed or a single parent, but because my parents chose to make a sacrifice to provide resources for our education,” stated Njoroge.

His father, a civil engineer, earned a competitive salary that enabled the family to set aside education funds for their children. However, this career forced his father to spend an enormous amount of time traveling to other countries and which resulted in time away from family.

“It took me awhile to realize the magnitude of the sacrifice my parents made for us; but once I did, I aligned my goals and objectives towards repaying them by working hard in school and making the most of every opportunity provided to me,” admitted Njoroge.

Njoroge’s high school counselor recommended he work with the American Education Advising Center in Nairobi to find a compatible study abroad opportunity in the United States. They helped match him with an appropriate university based on his preferences to certain criteria such as programs of interest, school size, and tuition costs. Njoroge selected BGSU based on this criteria.

During his five years in Bowling Green, Njoroge has not only earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics degree with an economics minor, but has also earned a Master of Arts in Economics degree. He has served as president of the African Peoples Association, is an honorary member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, a member of the National Association of Black Accountants and a member of the World Student Association.

Being part of these organizations has reminded Njoroge where he has come from. He has also learned more about other cultures through numerous ethnic organizations here at BGSU.

“From the first time I met Marvin, I was impressed with his maturity and ability. My economics faculty members share my impression. Marvin has been an excellent addition to our majors and has well-served many students as one of our department tutors.  I will be sad to see him go, but I know he will excel at whatever he does,” said Mary Ellen Benedict, Chair and Distinguished Teaching Professor, Economics Department.

In some ways, Njoroge’s and his father’s sacrifices were similar. Njoroge spent most of his schooling in Kenya at a boarding school away from his family. Although accustomed to being independent, he had never been out of the country; and while studying abroad was a dream, heading to the United States brought out mixed emotions. Without a doubt, he knew leaving his family behind in Africa would be the absolute test in his pursuit of success.

While Njoroge has worked hard and made his parents extremely proud, he attributes some of his success to BGSU.

“I may have left behind my family in Kenya years ago, but I was welcomed with open arms to a second family, my Falcon family. The highly-diverse Falcon family has seen me through the thickest of winters and the muggiest of summers. This family has provided me with a support system built on love, acceptance, appreciation, recognition and most importantly, a sense of belonging,” said Njoroge.

Njoroge has some promising job opportunities on the horizon and plans to gain some work experience in the United States. However, his ultimate goal is to head back to Kenya and settle closer to his family. He went home during the summer of 2011 but hasn’t seen his family since. He speaks to them weekly and his mum will be among the crowd in the Stroh Center watching proudly as her son receives his hard earned diploma.

“I may have come to the United States and BGSU, in particular, in search of a higher education; but I get to leave with more. Instead of just a degree, I gained an experience. Instead of being detached from my family, I gained an additional one and most importantly, I was able to vindicate my parents’ sacrifices by making something out of my life,” he continued. “They never put extra pressure on me, but I have always been self-driven and goal-oriented, and I think that is what they appreciate most about me.”