Mom wouldn’t rest until daughter attained her dream
By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Yes, history has a tendency to repeat itself. Beverly Galbreath saw it first hand in her family after noticing a pattern that spanned three generations.
Her mother was young when she started a family and was unable to attend college because she worked multiple jobs to provide for her five children. Galbreath herself was a young mother who didn’t receive her GED until later in life because she was busy raising her children alongside her husband in a marriage that now spans 44 years.
When her only daughter, Dr. Trish Galbreath-Varner, found herself in a similar situation — a young mother questioning her ability to take on higher education — Galbreath was determined to make sure that this time it would be different.
“Neither my mother or my grandmother had the same opportunities as I do,” Galbreath-Varner said. “She really wanted something different for me. She always told me that she never wanted me to depend on anyone else, she wanted me to be college educated so that I could make decisions for my own.”
Galbreath-Varner fulfilled her mother’s dream when she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Central Washington University in 2005, but she didn’t stop there.
In 2011, she graduated with her MBA from Kennesaw State University, shortly before beginning her Ph.D. journey at Grand Canyon University in 2012. Eight years and multiple obstacles later, Galbreath-Varner had become Dr. Galbreath-Varner by May 2020.
It was just as much of a victory for Beverly Galbreath.
“No matter what it took, she made sure she was there for me, supporting me through all of my college journey,” Galbreath-Varner said.
Her mother would care for her kids when Galbreath-Varner needed to work on coursework, sometimes even into the evenings to allow her to take classes on campus. There were times when she would assist with finances when her daughter needed help. Galbreath did whatever it took to make sure her daughter reached her academic dream.
“As much as every degree I’ve obtained is mine, I believe it’s hers, too,” Galbreath-Varner said. “She worked so hard to get me to that point. I am so in awe of her because it was such a selfless act to dedicate pretty much her whole life to ensuring her children are successful.”
And successful she is.
She is the owner and CEO of VFG Finance as well as the founder of A Thousand Generations Inc., a nonprofit that seeks to increase representation of marginalized people in critical organizations. She is also the mother of four, the oldest of whom are also currently working on pursuing higher education themselves. Her son Darion Barrow is following in his mother’s footsteps, just started his undergraduate journey toward his degree in Criminal Justice at GCU in June 2020.
“I believe my mother’s sacrifice helped to break that generational thing that kept repeating,” she said.
Galbreath-Varner’s doctoral journey wasn’t without its share of obstacles, including financial challenges and caring for ill family members. Temporary leaves from her studies became inevitable, but she never lost sight of the prize.
The Georgia native found out about GCU after researching multiple doctoral programs. GCU’s ability to provide Galbreath-Varner with the I/O Psychology program she was looking for, along with its strong reputation as a faith-based institution, ultimately made GCU’s College of Doctoral Studies her primary candidate.
She hopes others who have experienced similar life experiences can find inspiration in her academic journey and realize that anything is possible.
“I think GCU is a great school,” Galbreath-Varner said. “I really liked my time there. … I have nothing but good things to say.
“I would not be who I am if it had not been for the GCU program. I really feel like even the challenges I experienced, they helped to build me and make me into who I am right now for this moment in my destiny to move forward.”
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].