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McKENZIE (May 4) — Graduation was truly a family affair Saturday at Bethel University. Gerald Merchant and wife, Wanda, and their sons, Jordan, 20, and Joshua, 22 all received their …
McKENZIE (May 4) — Graduation was truly a family affair Saturday at Bethel University. Gerald Merchant and wife, Wanda, and their sons, Jordan, 20, and Joshua, 22 all received their bachelor’s degrees from their hometown university during morning commencement ceremony.
The family moved to Tennessee in December 2012 and McKenzie in May 2013 from Montana after Gerald received a job transfer with AT&T, where he works as a field engineer. His family had once owned a limousine service in Jackson and lived in the area in 1980.
Justin, the oldest son, was born in Tennessee, while Josh and Jordan were born in Montana. Gerald was born in Bradenton, Florida, and Wanda in Reno, Nevada, but grew up in Susanville, California. Because the family moved so frequently, Wanda was a stay-at-home mom and home-schooled her boys. In Bozeman, Montana, she also served as the athletic director of the home-school athletic association and guided the association to achieve a non-profit status.
“God placed us here,” said Wanda Merchant, who was ecstatic to celebrate the occasion with her husband and two of her three sons. The matriarch of the family is employed at Bethel in Financial Services, which entitled her family to receive discounted tuition to attend the Christian-based university. She initially applied for employment at Bethel, but without success. It was when David Huss, vice president of Finance and CEO of the university had some repairs made to his car at A&W Tire, where Wanda was working, that her dream of working at Bethel came to fruition. Huss recalled seeing her work application and offered her employment with the Physician Assistant program. She later moved to Financial Services.
Gerald and Jordan both served in the United States Marine Corps, which helped expedite earning their degree.
Joshua has been accepted and will attend Logan University to pursue a chiropractic degree. Jordan has been accepted to Tennessee Tech and plans to pursue a master’s in Accountancy and become a certified public accountant.