Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, shown in a 2009 photo, earned her doctorate last month at a Milwaukee college.
Photo: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/AP
Photo: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/AP

Straight, not sugar-coated: A woman named Marijuana Pepsi just earned her doctorate

Dr. Marijuana sounds like one of those new dispensaries for weed, and with Pepsi as a middle name, visions of a sugar rush dance in the heads of those who meet this 46-year-old woman.

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But it's a legitimate name, and Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck earned her doctorate in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University last month, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

That's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, who earned her Ph.D. eight years after receiving her master's degree in higher education administration at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the newspaper reported.

The topic of her dissertation was "Black Names in White Classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions." CNN reported.

Vandyck's mother, Maggie Johnson, picked out the names, although her father objected to it.

"She said that she knew when I was born that you could take this name and go around the world with it," Vandyck told Journal Sentinel columnist Jim Stigl in a 2009 story. "At the time as a child, I'm thinking 'Yeah, right. You named my older sister Kimberly. You named my younger sister Robin.'"

Vandyck's dissertation was partially inspired from her experiences in school and college, when teachers would call the roll and stop at her name.

"I'm sorry," Marijuana told a professor who did that to her at Whitewater, according to the Journal Sentinel. "You didn't ask anyone else that. Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you."

The rumors about Vandyck's first and middle names are not far off the mark, Stigl wrote in 2009..

Vandyck, whose married name was Sawyer when Stigl spoke with her a decade ago, was a product of the Woodstock generation, according to her aunt, Mayetta Jackson of Chicago. .

"They would cool off with a Pepsi," Jackson told Stigl, who noted it was "lucky" Vandyck's parents did not prefer Coke. "I thought it was crazy, but they were such fun-loving people that it suited them."

Vandyck's father, Aaron Jackson, became a Jehovah's Witness and ended his marriage. After a difficult childhood spent living with her father and then her mother, Vandyck graduated high school and went to college.

Now remarried, Vandyck lives with her husband on a three-acre hobby farm in Pecatonica, Illinois, The Washington Post reported.

She met Fredrick Vandyck through an online dating site, and she has a 16-year-old son, the Journal Sentinel reported.

In case you're wondering, Marijuana has never smoked or vaped her namesake drug, the newspaper reported. She doesn't drink, either, and does not drink Pepsi.

But you can reach the new Ph.D. through website, ActionAsEmpowerment.com

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