Dr. Vandyck, 46, has refused to change the name her mother gave her at birth despite lifelong external pressure to do so. She has now earned her PhD in education leadership from Wisconsin’s Cardinal Stritch University. Dr. Vandyck graduated in May.
“I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be,” she was quoted saying in an interview with Daily Mail.
“People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,” she told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, saying that teachers would relentlessly question the veracity of her name, some even insisted on calling her Mary, which she hated.
Dr. Vandyck works at a small liberal arts college in Wisconsin and lives with her husband on a small hobby farm in Illinois with pigs and chickens. She works in real estate and uses the name “MP Vandyck” on her signs to prevent teenagers from jacking her ‘For Sale’ signs. She has two conventionally-named sisters called Robin and Kimberly.
Despite her name, Dr. Vandyck says that she doesn’t drink Pepsi and has never tried smoking weed.