Sunday, August 16, 2009


Mother, Son Among Those to Receive Degrees from Citrus College
by Stacy Armstrong

When Jonathan Bruse received his degree from Citrus College last month, his mom cheered as loud as, if not louder than, the other parents gathered in the stadium.  The difference, however, was that she wasn’t seated in the bleachers.

Instead, Linda Bruse was right beside her son, receiving two degrees of her own.

“Graduating together was such an incredible experience,” the Covina resident said.  “I am so proud that we shared this moment.  It was a lot of work, but it was definitely worth it.”

The mother and son first enrolled in classes at Citrus College to “get their feet wet.”

“It took over 20 years for me to gather up the courage to return to school, but Jonathan was my inspiration,” Linda said.  “We chose to attend Citrus as a way of helping him transition from high school to college life.”

During their time at Citrus, the duo took several classes together.

“It was fun,” Linda said.  “I bought the books and did the reading, while he would do all of the computer stuff.”

And while some young men may balk at the thought of sharing a classroom with their mothers, Jonathan was a different story.

“We never sat together in class, but once it was over we almost always went to the cafeteria,” Linda said.  “Once people realized I was his mom, I think they realized how thoughtful and sensitive he is.  He even got a few dates because of it.”

The arrangement didn’t just benefit Jonathan.  It also helped Linda, who was a little unsure about returning to college at first.

“I had attended college for two years in the late 1970’s, but then I got a job, got married, and started a family.  My marriage and family were such blessings, that I didn’t think I needed anything more,” she said.  “When my youngest graduated from high school and I had extra time on my hands, I thought about going back to school, but wondered if I could enroll in classes knowing that many of my professors were younger than me.”

However, it wasn’t long before Linda was among Citrus College’s top academic achievers.

“I had to swallow my pride and take some basic math classes so that I could catch up to the college level,” she said.  “Soon, I was part of the Honors Program and sitting in classes with these young students who had great minds and we were being taught by professors who really wanted us to think beyond the here and now.  It was awesome.”

Soon, Linda will be leaving Citrus College with an associate’s degree in Language Arts and another in Social and Behavioral Sciences.  Her plan is to attend Azusa Pacific University’s Accelerated Teaching Program.  After 25 years as a medical assistant, she is planning a career change.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse or a teacher,” she said.  “I have been the first for awhile now and am looking forward to the second part of my life and career.”

Ultimately, she would like to follow in the footsteps of her favorite Citrus College instructors:  Dr. Dale Salwak, Brian Waddington, Roberta Eisel, and Bruce Langford.

“Citrus College has made my dreams come true and I hope to be part of its incredible teaching staff one day soon,” she said.

Whatever the future holds, Linda has an extremely positive outlook.

“I believe that God has given each of us special gifts.  It is our job to get out there and find our gifts,” she said.  “Anything is possible if you believe and have faith in your heart.”






Linda Bruse and Son