Release Date: 
Thursday, September 26, 2019

Empty-nester returns to college, post-bachelor's degree, for interior design

Laduke

Even though she already has a bachelor’s degree, Marianne “M.J.” LaDuke decided to enroll at HFC for the Fall 2019 Semester.

LaDuke, of Novi, is taking classes in HFC’s interior design program. She wants to get her certification in interior design from the National Kitchen+Bath Assocation.

“My husband Andrew, a licensed builder, and I own a kitchen business called Michigan Kitchen Cabinets in Novi. We’re a multi-line kitchen cabinet dealer and I’ve been involved in many aspects of the business. We’re considering expanding and felt the certification would benefit our future growth,” said LaDuke. “My dad was a builder/contractor. I’ve hung drywall, I’ve laid down tile. I’ve even sold granite, which got me the nickname ‘Granite Girl.’”

She chose HFC because it’s one of two educational institutions in the Metro Detroit area to offer NKBA certification.

“I enjoy the content,” said LaDuke. “Being in the industry helps me understand more of the concepts being taught in the program.”

Returning as an adult student

Born in Detroit, LaDuke graduated from Farmington High School in 1987. During her FHS days, she wrote for the school newspaper and participated in student government. She was also active in athletics; she was on the swim team for all four years and was captain her senior year, along with the softball team for two years and the ski club for two years.

She attended Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, earning her bachelor’s degree in public relations. At EMU, she was president of EMU’s chapter of the Association of Women in Communication and wrote for the Eastern Echo, EMU’s daily student newspaper. LaDuke is also a certified yoga instructor, having taught yoga for 10 years and recently taught at Schoolcraft College in Livonia. She is the official yoga instructor for the makers of 5-hour ENERGY®.

LaDuke worked in the marketing department of Michigan CAT in Novi as an internship and gained business experience in the engine division as well. She was director of retail for two large hair-salon chains and consulted in the beauty industry before opening her own business with her husband.

So far, she’s enjoyed her return to academics.

“It’s getting better every day. I find it easier going to now college than at a younger age, because I have business experience and life experience,” she said. “I enjoy meeting some of these young people, because I have two kids in college myself (her son Parker is a junior at Central Michigan University, and her daughter Adrienne is a freshman at Purdue University). Meeting people who are my kids’ age, it helps fill the void of being an empty-nester,” she said, laughing. “They have amazing stories and personalities.”