Ada — A lifetime of struggles, setbacks, victories and stalemates are nothing new for State Sen. Susan Paddack.
She’s battle-tested and analytical, intelligent and savvy and she was moved to tears May 2 when recalling she is the first in her family to be college educated.
“You’ll have to pardon me if I become a little emotional,” the five-term political leader said choking back tears, “but I was the first person in my family to receive a college education.”
That education, hard work, dedication and self-sacrifice was honored by East Central University with its highest award of service, Distinguished Alumna, as a capacity crowd broke into enthusiastic applause at Paddack’s genuine love for education at the annual ECU Evening of Honors and Recognition Banquet in ECU Foundation Hall of the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.
Paddack continued to say, “I have been blessed to receive other awards in the past and some were amazing, but none has touched my heart more than this.”
Educational opportunities and the ability of education to change lives and futures are at the core of Paddack’s passion for continual learning and growing. Paddack has been a champion for higher education and education in general.
Paddack is the daughter of a telephone lineman and stay-at-home mom who had little post-secondary education in which she described as mind-blowing.
“It really speaks to the power of education to change lives and futures and my family represents that,” said Paddack, addressing her family who sat in the front. “My husband (Gary) was a farm boy who I put through medical school. Our kids graduated from Ada High and went on to college and medical school themselves. Three doctors and a senator – that’s the power that education has to change lives.”