(TMU) — Yes, Marijuana Pepsi is her real name, but you can call her Doctor Vandyck.
A Wisconsin woman, whose given birth name is Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, defied everyone who ever teased her when she earned her PhD in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University last month.
“People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,” the 46-year-old Vandyck told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Classmates, teachers, and even employers have snickered at Vandyck’s name her entire life. Some suggested she legally change her name to something they considered more appropriate, while others flat-out refused to call her by her name or insisted on calling her ‘Mary’—which she wanted no part of.
“Regardless of what they do, say or what they’re trying to put in place, you still have to move forward and succeed,” Vandyck said.
And succeed she has.
Not only has Marijuana Pepsi earned her PhD, she works full time at Beloit College, owns Action as Empowerment—a performance coaching business for people looking to change their lives—and she’s a real estate agent.
Vandyke shortened her moniker to MP in the real estate business, not because she’s ashamed of her name, but so that stoners don’t steal her signs.
She has started the Marijuana Pepsi Scholarship, which will give $500 each year to a deserving first-generation African American student enrolled at UW-Whitewater starting this fall.
Marijuana’s mother chose her daughter’s unique name because she said it would take her around the world. Her sisters, one older and one younger, were given more common names—Kimberly and Robin.
In case you’re wondering, Marijuana has never once used or consumed the plant for which she was named. And she doesn’t even drink soda.