A legacy of learners

The Mall family lives by the motto, “Trust the process.”

That is just what they did when all four members of the family decided to attend Union at the encouragement of matriarch Dr. Harriet Mall, Ph.D. (1999).

“I trace my career back to Union,” said Harriet, now a clinical psychologist and trauma specialist focusing on holistic, integrative health and wellness. “I was at Vermont College in its low-residency program working on my master’s and I had an amazing job. I could not quit working and a professor advised me to attend Union for my doctorate. Union met me where I was in my career and studies. I was so impacted by Union’s dedication to high standards, respect for the learner, inclusion and diversity, and the requirement of interdisciplinary studies.

Harriet and Sandy Mall

During my studies at Union I was appointed as the learner representative on the psychology committee and admission committees. I served several years and upon graduating, they kept me on as an alumni representative. During that time, I suggested they connect with Vermont College because Union didn’t have a master’s program. I watched as the merger occurred in 2001 [when Union purchased Vermont College’s programs and campus]. It truly felt like my academic parents got married!”

Harriet remembers her professors fondly.

“One of my favorite memories was at the doctoral colloquium. Dr. Joe Meeker instructed us to understand that achieving the doctoral degree is the highest form of scholarship, but just the beginning of our scholarship, the introduction to lifelong learning! Also, Dr. Ross Speck, my faculty advisor, was incredibly supportive and encouraging. Dr. Argentine Craig, of Vermont College, served as advisor and I was thankful for the support of Dr. George Frank, as reader and to Dr. Betty Bishop, adjunct, who saw my potential.”

Union was also a definitive step to law school and a flourishing legal career for husband Sanford “Sandy” Mall.

“I was in my mid 30s with our two children, ages 6 and 9.  I needed exactly what Union offered – the chance to attend remotely, obtain credits for life experience, expedite the process, and earn an accredited undergraduate degree that would allow me to be accepted to law school,” said Sandy founder and senior partner of Mall Malisow & Cooney, P.C., a holistic law firm specializing in elder care, special needs and estate planning where he also practices as a disability rights lawyer and teaches Law and Bioethics at the Wm. Beaumont School of Medicine.

How did Union impact Sandy?

“It was the entire process, the fertile ground of possibility that was encouraged, nurtured and allowed to take form,” he says. “The experience was like being the music created by a flawless symphony – the conductor was process. My family gave me the gift of freedom and the opportunity to take hold of the responsibility to shape my future in such a profound and atypical way. It all added up to make the process sacred.”

As Harriet and Sandy’s children grew, they encouraged their two children to “Trust the Process” and follow in their footsteps and attend their alma mater.  Both son Zachary (Zak) and daughter Kayla Hazan took their parents’ advice. Zak earned his B.A. from Union in 2006, attending the Liberal Studies while it was still housed at the former Vermont College campus. He has had an interesting career, including working in the mortgage industry and banking, and is now a serial entrepreneur in cannabis and real estate. Daughter Kayla Hazan is a current student in the Bachelor of Science Business Management degree program.

Zak and his family

Zak credits his time at Union for his success today. “Being able to get my degree while continuing my career was the building block for who I am now. I discovered my ability to take on multiple things at once and have success at all of them. I am now a husband, father of three young kids, and I run three of my own businesses.”

The rigor of the classes remains with him today.

“Our work load: read 20 books and write 40 pages of finished writing within a six month time period. Every few weeks we would submit a progress report and correspond with our professors. This was a 20-hour a week commitment to do it right. I learned how to manage my time between work and school to get the work done. While reading and writing on subjects I’d chosen, I gained the skills to research and write my own ideas about the information. This skill is fundamental in my life and businesses today. I am constantly researching and testing ideas. My experience at Union has been integral to my growth and development.”

Kayla Hazan and her family

Kayla, a wife and mother of two young children, works for her father’s law firm and may follow him into the legal profession. She recalls fondly he read her case studies instead of fairy tales as a child.

“In my professional career, I have found that taking business management and leadership classes, especially those taught by Dr. Rich Chaffee, are helping to spark ideas for the law firm. My studies give me a boost of confidence in my day-to-day work experience,” said Kayla.

The family remains true to Union’s commitment to service and social responsibility.

Through her psychology practice, Harriet helps individuals and groups in their recovery from trauma. In these pandemic times she is practicing tele-health with her patients. She also serves in various capacities on committees to promote ethics, maintain standards, improve lives, and facilitate learning. Sandy uses his education, life experience, and expertise to help relieve discomfort in others at his law firm that takes a holistic approach to provide comprehensive elder law and estate planning services that consider the whole person, including their values, wishes, and unique family dynamics.

Kayla works to continue the law firm’s commitment as a source of advocacy and assistance to the community.

Zak is helping people realize that some pharmaceutical medicines are detrimental to their health. He provides information and education about cannabis alternatives and has seen people’s life change for the better. As a mortgage broker, he assists in home ownership and works with small business owners to buy buildings and enhance their businesses. “I’ve been a consistent resource for guidance in both my fields. Everything I do is with the utmost integrity and I work to set a good example for how people in my industries should be.”

The Mall family has  advice for the busy working adult who needs to complete an undergraduate degree or enhance a career with a graduate degree.

“Trust the Process.”

Union Institute & University will meet you where you are with a degree to fit your lifestyle at this link.