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Stephanie Carpenter, chair of the Department of History & Political Science, was born and lived her entire childhood and undergraduate years on a small-scale dairy farm in Charlotte, a rural community in northern Vermont. Some of her earliest memories include television images of the Vietnam War, cooking with her grandmother and the death of her great-grandmother.

As a dairy farmer’s daughter who wore homemade, hand-me-down, church-rummage-sale clothes and smelled of cow manure, Stephanie quickly understood her place in New England society. As her elementary teachers worked to correct her grammar and speech patterns, she discovered again and again that farmers were among the lowest social classes in her community. That stigma followed her across the country as she pursued formal and graduate studies.

Stephanie was raised in the Catholic church, but while she attended services and catechism, faith and worship were not part of her family life. She participated in all the traditions and milestones of a Catholic youth, but never fully understood the reason or need to do so. By the time she was an adult Stephanie knew from her own studies that the Catholic church did not represent true biblical teaching. However, she had not yet found the message of Adventism—that journey took another 20 years.

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I pray that, like Stephanie, at Andrews University we can all bring our whole selves to work. I pray that at Andrews University our diversity and each person’s uniqueness is an opportunity for celebration. Borrowing from the Ubuntu philosophy, “I am because you are! And because you are, I am!”

Stephanie Carpenter, you remind us that we are not defined and limited by our past, but we are liberated and transformed by the power of the cross. You and your story represent the spirit of Andrews University.

Christon Arthur

Publication Date


First Department

History and Political Science

Stephanie's Story