When Lisa Cundey watches her daughter, Marie Cundey, graduate with her doctor of physical therapy degree from Augusta University on Friday, she’ll have a seat that no other parent will have at James Brown Arena. Lisa Cundey will be on the floor with the other graduates, receiving her master of arts in teaching.
“This is such a big deal,” Lisa Cundey said. “Two of the biggest days in my life were when she was born and us graduating together.”
The fact that graduation takes place Mother’s Day weekend adds even more meaning to it, she said.
Marie Cundey enrolled in her program in May 2014 after receiving a degree in psychology from Georgia Southern University. She’s carrying on a family tradition by attending the school from which both her father and grandfather graduated. Her grandfather, Dr. Paul Cundey Jr., and her father, Dr. Paul Cundey III, are both alumni of the Medical College of Georgia and are cardiologists.
Her grandfather suggested Marie shadow a physical therapist as a possible career, and after spending the summer of 2013 at University Hospital, Marie, decided that was the thing she wanted to do.
Lisa Cundey had been out of college for 30 years when she decided to return. A graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in journalism, she spent a few years in the classroom, but also many years as a stay-at-home mother. Like her daughter, Lisa is carrying on a family tradition. Both of her parents were teachers and had received master degrees. She wanted to follow in their footsteps. Lisa’s mother, Louise Arp, will be at the graduation as well.
“It was a secret goal of mine,” Lisa said about earning the degree even after time away from school.
She said going back to school after such a long time had its challenges and benefits.
“The biggest difference between attending UGA 30 years ago and getting my MAT degree is now that I’m older and wiser and can prioritize what is most important, and that makes learning easier and even enjoyable. Navigating the computer technology has been challenging.”
The two women never attended the same classes or even went to the same campus, but they did sometimes get the other’s email. Marie goes by her middle name; her first name is Lisa as well as her mother’s. Because email addresses use first initials and last names, wires would cross at times. Lisa Cundey’s had a number added at the end of hers to distinguish the two.
But Lisa Cundey could always tell an errant email. It had too much medical terminology.
Both women are in the process of interviewing for jobs. Lisa Cundey would like to teach high school English while Marie is considering positions at Augusta area hospitals.