Life-long learning, tenacity, accomplishing goals. Just a few of the lessons new graduate Darcy Duncalf has been sharing—by example—with her 14-year-old son, Cole.
Duncalf, who is the production coordinator for SAU's Communications and Marketing department, began her educational journey in 1982, when she enrolled in a medical secretary certificate program at Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Over the next 10 years she worked as an administrative assistant for the Iowa Golf Association/Iowa PGA, and Agri Companies, both of Cedar Rapids.
Moving to the Quad Cities with husband Kevin, Duncalf joined the St. Ambrose family in 1994, working for what was then University Relations (now called the Advancement Office). Following a position in Alumni Relations, Duncalf moved to Communications and Marketing in 2001, where she continues today. On and off over the years, Duncalf slowly chipped away at completing her bachelor's degree. Plenty of nights were spent at the kitchen table with Cole, working on their respective homework side-by-side.
According to SAU staff member Jenny Farrell, Duncalf is a valuable member of the St. Ambrose community, as well as an inspiration for students of any age.
"I see Darcy as the backbone of the C&M department," said Farrell. "She can answer any question you throw at her, all the while exuding calmness and grace. She is the poster child for someone who wants to finish their degree, no matter the time line! What an inspiration!"
Duncalf's work-study student Emilee Renwick agrees.
"Darcy is the sweetest person I know and is always willing to help anyone," said Renwick. "I am so lucky to have a boss who is caring and really values my opinion in and out of the office, but more than that, she is one of my best friends. With a full house and a full-time job, she still found time to do papers and go to class. What a huge accomplishment! I know it may sound a little silly, but I'm really proud of her. She makes everything look so easy."
When asked how she feels to be at the end of a 30-year journey, Duncalf reports feeling relieved. "I put so much effort into my courses that there is a sense of accomplishment, getting that diploma." Family and friends, Cole among them, "are very proud," she admits.
"Education is what you make out of it, the effort you put into it," said Duncalf. "Take notes, don't procrastinate, be organized." Sound advice for students of any age.