A woman named Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck is the newest viral sensation. The 46-year-old Wisconsin woman has heard her fair share of jokes throughout her life about her unusual name, but now she has the last laugh after earning her PhD.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Marijuana Pepsi earned her PhD in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.
Dr. Marijuana Pepsi wrote her dissertation titled “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”
She hopes to expand on her dissertation with a book.
From the report:
For years, she has been putting aside money every month for the Marijuana Pepsi Scholarship, which starting this fall will give $500 each year to a deserving first-generation African American student enrolled at UW-Whitewater. It’s a way of giving back for Marijuana, who received a $12,000 scholarship from Wisconsin Power & Light Co. to attend Whitewater right out of Beloit Memorial High School in 1990.
No teacher or counselor in high school had ever suggested college to her, and she had to put on a late push to raise her grades enough to qualify.
While many have criticized her mother for giving the birth name Marijuana Pepsi, she holds no ill will and credits her mother for “making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today.”
And, in a twist of irony, Marijuana Pepsi has never smoked weed and does not drink soda.
Marijuana Pepsi says that many people pushed back against her name — even trying to simply call her Mary — but she insisted on going by her birth name. The only time she strayed from the name was when she worked as a real estate agent. At that time, Marijuana Pepsi went by “MP” to avoid having her signs stolen.
Of course, you knew the internet was going to eat this story up as soon as Twitter caught wind of it.
Dr. Marijuana Pepsi currently works full-time at Beloit College, a liberal arts school in Wisconsin.
Congrats on the big achievement.