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Carol Bruno, PhD English

May 10, 2009

Son’s death motivates her to complete PhD

Carol Whitehouse Bruno’s journey to a doctorate in English at ASU is heartwarming and courageous, although she would be the first to shrug it off as a “pleasure and a privilege, well worth the sacrifices along the way.”

Whitehouse Bruno, 59, is a registered nurse working in a Valley intensive care unit.  Mother of four, she lost a son, Marine Staff Sergeant Jason Whitehouse, in 2006 to the war in Iraq.  Another blow was that during her doctoral dissertation process, her chair and mentor, Prof. Eugenia DeLamotte, died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  She has raised children, worked night shifts and slept little while forging a patchwork-quilt degree path that includes studies in Texas, Washington and Arizona.

She has already reduced her hours at Good Samaritan Hospital to part time in anticipation of teaching courses as a faculty adjunct at ASU in nursing and English.

“After the shock of losing Jason, I was more motivated than ever to bring my Ph.D. to completion,” she says.  “The bravery and character he displayed through his service inspired me, and still inspires me, to carry on. Through the death of Eugenia and Jason, I was taught that the business of life is to live it.”

Those who know her consider her academic efforts heroic; she says she is little different from her fellow graduates.

“There are many men and women who tenaciously make their way through graduate studies with difficult personal situations. My education is a great part of who I am.  The challenges that have come along for me were easily overcome by thinking of the courage of others during their own greater challenges.”