This is Sussane Reid.
Susanne is the Chair of the Music Department and has been teaching at Vanguard for about ten years now. When we entered her office, located inside of the Fine Arts building, we immediately hear her boisterous laugh with a colleague of her's. Her voice sounds like it can easily carry pass an entire audience in a concert hall.
She greets us, " It is I, It is I," she jokes theatrically and continues, " So, I was born outside Tulsa, in a small-town called Okmogi, Oklahoma." Sussanne was born in the mid-1950s, which she refers to that time, as the dust bowl era of America, where jobs were hard to find in her state. After having Sussane, her parents Charles and Dolly, had decided to head west to Santa Ana, California, where her Dad would find work and commute to Los Angeles.
Charles began working as a factory worker for an 1885 founded soap company called the Lever Brothers, who then manufactured different soap bars but is now out of business. While her Mom, Dolly, was a homemaker, who Susanne describes as sassy and always full of life. She also has an older brother, who is five and a half years older than Sussane, named Randy, who is currently a funeral director.
Her family was passionately involved in their local Huntington Beach Church, where Sussane was first introduced to music. She smiles enthusiastically, " I grew up in a Christian household and one day I was laying down when I was nine years old and decided to accept Christ in my life," she digresses and resumes to talk about music, " My pastor at the time, Pastor Squires, said I needed to help with worship and learn how to play the piano and I would eventually get piano lessons once a week." Sussane's Mom gifted her a brand new piano that cost two hundred dollars, which was expensive for that time in the early 1970s.
After taking piano lessons, Sussane would help lead worship at her church, and apply for college, Cal State Fullerton, in which she graduated with a degree in English. Sussane reflects, " Like many, I was told that I would not be able to find a job if I studied music in college," she continues, " So, I decided to pursue a career in teaching as an elementary English school teacher." Sussane would teach third and fourth graders for two years at Garden Grove Christian School but decided to get another bachelor's and a master's degree in music. She would eventually go back to Oklahoma in a college town located 20 miles from the city to finish a Ph.D. in Music from Oklahoma University.
Sussane perks up in her chair in excitement explaining, " From some point, I knew that I wanted to teach music," she continues, " I think having an education in music helps because it gives you a much bigger context of the artist and what was going on in that time (when the respective album was released)." During college, Sussanne enjoyed visiting different historical sites up and down the California coast where poets and lyricists' original manuscripts could be found.
Upon completing her Ph.D., Sussane often traveled back to her home in Santa Ana. In one of those visits, she planned a trip to Disneyland with some girlfriends where she would invite a friend named, Phillip. Phillip also attended Huntington Beach Church and was studying at the University of Colorado. After hitting it off, they started dating and he would eventually propose in 1993 when Sussane was in her early 30's. Today, Phillip is a rocket scientist for Boeing and also teaches a few lab courses at VU as a Professor.
Phillip and Sussane have a daughter, Jane. She graduated from the University of Mary Harden Baylor in Texas with a degree in nursing last May. She is now working as a registered nurse with transplants, or those who are transitioning out of the intensive care unit, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Today, you can find Susanne listening to anything from pop artist hit Jason Derulo to 90s sensations like Eminem. She enjoys breaking down singer-songwriter lyrics and spending time her with husband where they now reside locally in Orange.
Vanguard University is so thankful for Susanne and her passion for teaching music.
- university news