goodbye, Houghton

Mary Dougherty

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ABOUT mary

I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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Our stories started very much the same. I decided a few months after submitting my early decision acceptance to Grove City that I did not in fact want to study engineering, but art. I spent the next few months until graduation getting out of that decision and trying to figure out where exactly I would go to college. Matt was recruited to several places and decided on Syracuse University, but after a few days in preseason it was clear it was the wrong choice. He was told he could only devote himself to the DI cross country program and had no time for mountain biking or any of the other outdoor sports he had come to love.

We both looked for the place that would allow access to the outdoors, a place to be a part of a team, the opportunity to study what we loved, and we found Houghton College. Actually, God opened the doors to bring us both here. From then on we fell in love. It was a place where people cared deeply and invested without inhibition. It was a place where you could run, study abroad, become an artist all while creating friendships that would last a lifetime. Of all the crazy circumstances that introduced us to Houghton in the first place, none of them actually introduced us to each other. We missed each other at Houghton completely, being five years apart. It was one of the things we both loved most that brought us together : our love of running. Our coach secretly got us talking to each other and the talking led to emailing, then visits, dating, moving, getting engaged and married.

Houghton became our home as Matt moved there to continue coaching and I graduated and began working as a graphic designer. When part of Matt’s job was cut we left for Virginia but felt called back to apply for and take the head coaching job for the very program we knew and loved. That was four years ago. It would be impossible to sum up the changes that have happened in the time that we returned, or better yet the time since we graduated. It would be even harder to summarize what has transpired in the past month, but sufficient to say were asked to make a decision and last Friday Matt resigned. We knew it would be difficult to go, whenever that time came, and it is both easier and harder to have the decision made this way. This is not how we pictured our story at Houghton ending.

It’s clear that God not only brought us here, but has planned for us to go. Now, it’s finally time, to truly move on from Houghton.

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