North Central College - Naperville, IL

Prestigious scholarship rewards special motivation

Peggy Moran knows the exact moment that altered her life. In 2008, her college-aged daughter was hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. Her daughter pulled through but Moran’s life was forever changed. A business owner and author, she decided to resume her education. A little more than two years later, Moran was awarded a highly competitive Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. She began at North Central in January and is pursuing a degree in interactive media studies with a minor in anthropology.

“I decided I’d channel my nervous energy into something productive,” she says. “I wanted to take a college course in anatomy and physiology to better understand my daughter’s condition.”

A mother of three and successful business owner, Moran had never finished high school so she first had to earn her GED. She studied four terms at College of DuPage, which nominated Moran for a Rotary scholarship. That led to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation award of up to $30,000 per year to complete her degree. North Central had what she wanted and was close to her Lemont, IL, home, she says.

“Peggy is an incredibly motivated and enthusiastic student,” says Stephen Macek, associate professor of speech communication. “She brings a wealth of real-world experience as an author and business owner to the classes she takes.”

An animal lover, as a teen she started a business called Peggy Moran’s Dog Improvement. She expanded to include consulting work with animal shelters and lecturing to school groups. She trained therapy dogs, wrote for Dog World Magazine and developed a reputation as an expert. “My life experiences and self-education prepared me to desire a formal education,” she says. “All I had to do was seek it.”