Dean Beth Rubin welcomed Adult & Online Education graduates to Gore Arena with an invitation to take a deep breath.
“Many of you are parents, and you might be feeling ‘I need to do this,’ or ‘I have to take care of that’ but you don’t,” Rubin said. “Not today.”
As adult learners, many of Thursday evening’s graduates have pursued higher education while raising children, working full time, serving in the military or a combination of the three.
President J. Bradley Creed expressed his appreciation for the graduates’ hard work and dedication. He remembered watching his mother make countless sacrifices in order to graduate from college 20 years after receiving her high school diploma.
“My mother was an adult and online student before there was such a thing. She had a dream in her heart, and she graduated at the top of her class,” Creed said. “All of you have taken the road less traveled. You chose the difficult path, but now, you’re poised to celebrate an amazing accomplishment.”
More than 140 Adult & Online students received their degrees on Thursday. They come from 28 states and several countries and represent the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and Lundy-Fetterman School of Business. In addition, eight ROTC students were commissioned as Army officers at the ceremony.
Both the ceremony’s speakers and the vast majority of the graduating Adult & Online students have military experience in their backgrounds. Speaker Nicole Moore pointed out the great deal of life experience in the room, considering the students seated before her. A first generation college student and Army veteran, Moore reminded the students that taking a non-traditional or military path to a degree could be a great strength.
“I might be able to come up with advice for young students of 21 years, but I would not deign to stand up and give these distinguised graduates advice like that,” Moore said. “If you’re graduating today, you already know how to trust yourself, how to learn from failure, embrace changes, work hard and take risks.”
“The coursework I’ve taken at Campbell University has refined my interests. I never thought I would be interested in trust development and I want to use what I’ve learned in educational psychology.” she continued. “It’s a lofty goal that will take many years of further education, practical experience and long nights filled with research and coffee. But attending college as an adult is all about figuring out the grand balancing act that is life.”
Commencement speaker Crystal Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps when she graduated high school and went on to graduate from Campbell and obtain three Masters degrees in IT fields. She summed up the ceremony with words of encouragement for the graduates:
“You have given yourselves a great gift. You have created a path for advanced opportunities to present themselves,” she said. “So take the detours that inevitably pop up, be diligent and never miss an opportunity to smell the roses.”