GC employs several married couples within various departments. While each pair has a unique reason that brought them to Milledgeville, they all have one thing in common: their spouses double as their colleague.
One such married couple are Karl and Susan Manrodt. Karl, a logistics professor, and Susan, an accounting professor, dated and married 37 years ago after being introduced by a mutual friend.
The Manrodts now have three children, ages 26, 21 and 18. Sarah, the 21-year-old, spent two years at GC before transferring to Kennesaw State University, and Ben, the 18-year-old, is currently dual-enrolled at GC for his senior year of high school.
GC is the third univesity that the Manrodts have worked at together. They began at the University of Tennessee, followed by Georgia Southern University and finally GC.
“We really like GC students,” Karl said. “They seem to come well-prepared, they’re polite, they’re direct…good soft skills. I really like being here.”
Although the Manrodts work in different departments, a fact that Karl jokingly says “helps out a lot,” the two do experience some overlap in their professional lives.
“We sit in the same college of business faculty meetings, and we have colleagues in common, and I think, for the most part, that’s a really good thing,” Susan said.
Justin and Kimberly Roush also share their work lives along with their personal lives. Economics and marketing professors, respectively, the Roushes have known each other for around 10 years and have been married for three and a half years. They also have a 21-month-old son named Carson.
The couple met through a mutual friend during their sophomore year of undergraduate school and dated briefly before parting ways and finishing school. Three years later, however, in graduate school, the Roushes reunited through the same mutual friend and decided to try again.
“We had two first dates,” Kimberly said.
Kimberly, who originally worked in advertising, came to GC after her husband was hired as a lecturer of economics.
“I love being in the classroom,” Kimberly said. “It’s fun to be teaching what I was doing, and I still get the opportunity to do client projects, which still gives me that connection to the industry.”
Despite being new parents who work full-time, the Roushes said they have had a positive experience balancing their lives at home with their lives at work.
“GC is very special,” Justin said. “The faculty, on average, get along really well, and so that can mean we kind of look out for each other. It’s easy to have a kid and be a professor at GC.”
Jeff Turner and Stephanie McClure, professors of outdoor education and sociology, respectively, experienced a more serendipitous journey to GC.
Quoting Joseph Campbell, McClure said she believes that “You have to let go of the life you have planned in order to find the life that’s waiting for you.”
The couple met during undergraduate school at the University of Missouri before moving to Georgia to complete graduate school. McClure and Turner have now been married for 17 years and have a 14-year-old son named Will.
Although they planned on returning to Missouri after only two years of school, the pair has remained in Georgia. Also, despite not fully planning on working in a professorial role, the couple has been working at GC for about 13 years.
“A faculty position is really the best of both worlds,” McClure said. “I love my work. I think it feeds me and makes me a better person and partner to be in a job that’s so intrinsically rewarding.”
The two have had an especially unique experience working in the same school given that their last names differ. While serving as an adviser for outdoor education, Turner once had a student who was expressing disinterest in a class offered by McClure, not knowing that the two are married.
“He said he wanted to take a sociology class, but not with Dr. McClure…so I laughed and said, ‘Do you mean this Dr. McClure?’ and turned the picture on my desk around,” Turner said.
Having experienced similar situations before, Turner and McClure remain lighthearted.
These couples work hard to maintain a balanced life while working with their spouses, and now they can offer advice for work life and marriage in general.
“Life throws curveballs… it’s easier with another person, just don’t take them too seriously,” Justin Roush said.
McClure advised, “Save the best of yourself for the people you love the most.”
The Manrodts’ advice, though simple, resonated through each of the conversations: “When it comes to marriage,” Karl said, “always listen to your wife.”
Top two photos courtesy of Kimberly Roush
Bottom photo courtesy of Stephanie McClure