Honoring the Past by Looking Forward

PROVO, Utah – Nov 22, 2022 – For Sue Mika, the executive MPA program in the BYU Marriott School of Business is more than just a program— it’s a connection to someone she loves and respects: her grandfather and namesake of the program, George W. Romney. Now, as a second-year EMPA student, Mika shares a unique bond with her late grandfather. 
  
Her grandfather impressed upon Mika the importance of honoring the family name. George’s mother died while George was still attending high school. As a young man, George visited the grave of his mother and brought his father along with him. At his mother’s graveside, George told his father that he would never do anything to dishonor their family name.  
 
This story resonates deeply with Mika as she pursues an EMPA degree. "Now that I’m connected to this program, I hold that same resolution in wanting to honor the Romney name through service,” she says. Mika graduated from BYU in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in finance, and the example of Mika’s grandparents inspired her to return to school after so many years.  
 
Before returning as a student, Mika never gave much thought to the BYU aim of becoming a lifelong learner. Now that she’s at BYU once again, Mika finds that she has a new love for learning. “Because of the work I’ve done in my classes the last couple of years, I'm coming away with a renewed sense of confidence and energy,” Mika says. “These feelings reaffirm to me that my education continues long after my time here at BYU.” 
 
Mika understands that being a lifelong learner is challenging but ultimately rewarding. “It’s easy for us to feel comfortable with where we’re at in life,” she says. “But we learn and grow best by doing those things that make us uncomfortable.” 
 
Mika isn’t alone in her desire to step outside of her comfort zone. Many of her classmates in the EMPA program feel the same. 
 
“There's a wide range of people, backgrounds, and goals. We have individuals who work in the healthcare department, some who work at BYU, some who are single parents,” says Mika in describing her classmates. “The students come from different stages in life, and that motivates and excites me.” 
 
All of Mika’s classmates come with unique experiences and outlooks on life, which make the classroom experience much more meaningful. “I feel inspired by the other students as they teach me and open my eyes to different things that I couldn’t learn on my own.” 
 
Mika’s professors also contribute to the excellent learning environment. “I think I've been older than every professor so far,” Mika says, laughing. “I’m grateful for all of them. Their enthusiasm is infectious.” Mika leaves every class infused with the excitement that her professors express for the material they teach.  
 
After graduation, Mika hopes to use her newly acquired skills and knowledge alongside her husband in their efforts to serve. “There's more for us to accomplish together. My husband, Ron, focuses on education opportunities both internationally and in our own country,” she says. In the past, the couple helped construct schoolhouses in both Zambia and Tanzania. “I'd love to participate more fully in these endeavors.” 
 
In addition to applying what she’s learned to her public service efforts, Mika wants to serve her family and cherish her experiences as a grandmother. Mika understands the importance of these relationships, and she wants to cultivate a special connection with all of her grandchildren. She hopes to instill in each of them the joy of learning and serving, just as her grandfather did for her.

Sue Mika and her husband Ron.
Sue Mika and her husband Ron. Photo courtesy of Sue Mika.
Sue Mika and her older siblings Jody and Brett standing next to George W. Romney
Sue Mika and her two older siblings, Jody and Brett, standing next to their grandfather, George W. Romney. Photo courtesy of Sue Mika.
Sue Mika as a child standing in front of her mother, Lynn Keenan, and her grandmother, Lenore Romney. Lenore is in a graduation cap and gown.
A young Sue Mika with her mother, Lynn Keenan, and her grandmother, Lenore Romney. Photo courtesy of Sue Mika.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kaelin Hagen