After eight years, Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck has earned her PhD in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University. And yes, Marijuana Pepsi is her real given name. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, (Wisconsin) picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world. Her sisters, one older and one younger, got relatively common names, Kimberly and Robin.
Teachers, classmates, bosses and other people in Marijuana’s life pushed back against her name and teased her. Some suggested she go to court and change it. Some flat out refused to call her that or insisted on Mary, which she rejected.
As much as people blamed and judged her mother for the name, Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today…
But mostly she embraces the name as proof that you can overcome any obstacle in life and achieve your dreams…
It’s fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”
“Yes, her name really is Marijuana Pepsi, and now she’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you” by Jim Stingl (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)