Dr. Susan Martin Studds of Madison, IN passed away Sunday, July 10 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville. Susan was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 30, 1954 to Junne Ericson Martin and David Martin. In 6th grade her family settled in Kalamazoo, MI where she graduated from Loy Norrix High School. Susan received her undergraduate degree at Hanover College where she majored in Speech and Theater and joined Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. She went on to get her Master’s degree at Miami of Ohio and her PhD in Higher Education Policy at the University of Maryland in 1990. She was married to her college sweetheart, Jeffrey Studds on May 31, 1980 in Kalamazoo, and then moved to Washington, DC where she worked at George Mason University, and then the National Defense University (NDU). At NDU she was a faculty member and administrator, leading them to their first accreditation. In 2009 she was asked to be the Provost and Chief Academic officer of the National Defense Intelligence College. In that role she helped oversee its growth into the National Intelligence University. A career highlight was travelling to Houston to confer an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy degree from the National Intelligence University to the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush and to meet the gracious Barbara Bush.
In her 40 years in Washington, DC first in the city and later in the College Park, Maryland area, she was always involved with her community and her church, acting in local coffee house theater productions, officiating at swim meets and raising her son John Martin Studds. In the 1990s she was nominated to be a trustee of Moravian University in Bethlehem, PA where she served for 20 years, retiring as a Trustee Emerita in 2020. Her greatest personal joy was being able to “hood” her son John when he graduated from Moravian University in 2017.
After years of teaching domestic and international students, representing our nation at NATO conferences, consulting with military and civilian leaders in eastern Europe, and being the education heart of military higher education, she retired to Madison where she could stay involved with her alma mater, Hanover College. Although her time in Madison was far too short, she had already become deeply involved in the Benjamin Templeton Scholars program at Hanover, volunteered for the Business Scholars Program and served as a mentor for undergraduate students; she had just begun singing in the choir at Madison Presbyterian Church. Susan always saw herself as an Educator, and everywhere she went, she left her mark, always being mindful, in her words to “leave her campsite better than how she found it”. She was affectionately known by her friends as a stylish dresser with fabulous jewelry, even at her most casual. But most of all, she is remembered as one who brought people together and made important connections, helped others to take a world view, and helped you laugh when the going got tough. She was a wonderful and true friend to many and will be deeply missed.
Susan is survived by her husband of 42 years, Jeff, her son John Martin Studds and daughter-in-law Kristy (Liu) Studds of Beijing, China, and her brother Eric Martin of El Cerrito, CA. A viewing will be held at the Lytle Welty Funeral Home in Madison from 5 to 8pm on Friday, July 22. A celebration of life service will be held Saturday July 23 at 11:00 am at the Madison Presbyterian Church with visitation prior from 10-11:00 am. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Susan and Jeffrey Studds Scholarship fund at Hanover College.