Marion Sanders

2014 A Positive Influence


Quit doesn’t belong in Marion Sanders’ vocabulary.

Marion arrived at University of Michigan-Dearborn as a nontraditional student. She worked in the construction industry for ten years, but lost her job and quickly had to figure out how to support her family.

She returned to academia, but a difficult first semester at UM-Dearborn almost prompted Marion to give up.

“By the end of my first semester I had already made it up in my mind that I was done,” she said. “However, during the Christmas break, I reevaluated my situation and through a lot of praying and soul searching I said to myself, ‘Yes you can – you are not a quitter.’ I thought about my son and I did not want him to see me give up on my dreams. I knew I wanted to be an influence on him to finish everything that he sets his mind to, so I returned the winter semester with a fierce determination and positive attitude.”

Since then, Marion hasn’t looked back. That strong determination she displays inside and outside the classroom earned her the title of “Difference Maker.”

And her leadership has rubbed off on her son, who considers Marion a role model. She encourages her son to take part in community service activities in order to surround him with positive influences.

“There are so many negative influences around, from drugs, alcohol and gangs, that as a parent, I have to be a leader,” she said. “I try not to be his friend, but an exemplary figure he can look up to. Being a leader, for me, is guiding my son in the right direction to help him reach his educational and career goals.”

Amy Karaban nominated Marion as a “Difference Maker” not because of her campus involvement or superior academics. The assistant director of civic engagement nominated Marion because her life experiences scream “Difference Maker.”

“Her path hasn’t been easy,” Karaban said. “A single mom, struggling to make ends meet, Marion knew that a college education was a must. She works tirelessly to be a role model for her son, whom she wants to go to college.”