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Mom, Dad, & Daughter Set to Graduate Together

Karina Garner

Graduation is the ultimate culmination of the college experience. It’s a day filled with pride, emotions, and an immense sense of accomplishment. For Ashley Adams, the day will be just a bit more special—she will graduate alongside her parents Robyn and Greg. On Saturday, May 13, the trio from Cibolo, Texas, will receive their degrees at TLU’s Spring Commencement Ceremony.

This is the first time in the university’s history that a student will graduate with both of their parents. Ashley, an Education (Math 7-12) major, says she’s often asked just what it’s like going to college with her mom and dad.

“This is my fun fact when I meet people,” she said. “Who else can say that they went to college with both of their parents and will be walking the stage with them? My parents didn’t get to finish their education because they wanted to start a family and there were better opportunities at the time to obtain that goal. I remember how proud I was when they decided to go back to school at a local community college.”

She distinctly remembers the day they asked if she would be comfortable with them transferring to TLU. Her immediate reaction: Go for it!

“I can’t express how proud I am of my parents for not only going back to school, but making the most out of their time here,” she said. “My mom has taken on a mother-like role and was always helping her classmates in various ways. My dad got to be a college athlete by joining the golf team. I think that they have had such a presence on campus, and I am so lucky and proud to call them my parents. Graduating with my family is by far going to be one of the most special moments of my life.”

Robyn, an Master of Accountancy major, said the family visited TLU multiple times during the admissions process with Ashley where they fell in love with the campus. When she and Greg–a retired Army veteran with 22 years of service–began thinking about transferring from Northeast Lakeview College (NLC) to TLU, they wanted to make sure Ashley was ok with it. After receiving her blessing, the two officially enrolled.

“I knew I wanted to do accounting and be a CPA, but I never thought about a graduate degree,” she said. Not only do I love the beautiful campus, but I also really like the smaller classes and how I know everyone in my program. You’re not going to get that from the surrounding bigger state universities.”

Robyn, Greg, and Ashley Adams.

Robyn, who also served as a supplemental instructor (SI) for Principles of Accounting, said she connected more with students at TLU than NLC despite the much higher number of non-traditional degree seekers there.

“The students were so accepting of us, and everyone was always so welcoming,” she said. “The faculty, like Professor Sally Cook, genuinely care about you and want to know you as a person rather than a number in their classroom. We’ve had so many things happen during our time here and they have been so wonderful. From losing both of Greg’s parents to having our son get in a really bad car wreck during finals, they always told us to take care of our family first and we could figure school out later.”

As for the big day, Robyn, in true mom fashion, says she probably won’t be thinking about herself.

“I’m going to be watching my husband and daughter and it’s going to be surreal,” she said. “I’m so very proud of Ashley, but to get to watch from a behind-the-scenes perspective is really neat and something I would never give up.”

Greg, a Business major, member of the TLU Golf team and a volunteer with VITA tax clinic, says going back to school later in life made him realize how much he enjoyed learning the process of what it means to be an involved college student.

“I feel like I also know so many people who work on campus," he said. "While the Accounting program drew us to TLU, we wouldn’t be here without Elliott Powell who serves as the Director for Transfer and Graduate Students. Elliott was awesome the entire time and told us exactly what we needed to do and how to do it. He was always so quick to respond, and he made the whole experience great because he was always willing to just even send you an email to see how you were doing. It was a seamless transition. Robyn followed me for 22 years, so I wanted to follow her.”

As a first-generation student, Greg was able to join the golf team thanks to Professor Cook and Coach Hung Tran. He says it was the efforts of many people that really enhanced his experience and encourages anyone who is thinking about going back to school to strongly consider TLU.

“The transfer process and education you get is top-notch,” he said. “Don’t be afraid; just do it. You might have to change your mindset a bit, but just go for it because it’s worth it.”

Greg also says that being a military family is one of the most important things for them and to graduate with his wife and daughter is something he never dreamt possible.

“I want to say I won’t get emotional, but I probably will,” he said. “I’m so very proud of all of Ashley’s accomplishments and the woman she is becoming. I thank her for allowing us the opportunity to attend TLU and for allowing us to watch her develop into the person she is.”

The Adams’ all cherish the sense of community they’ve experienced as students. While they are sad to leave, they are looking forward to their next chapter. First though, they are going on a family vacation in Hawaii to celebrate.

Ashley has plans to be a math teacher and track and field coach, while both Greg and Robyn have accepted jobs. Greg will be working in human resources at Randolph Air Force Base and Robyn is going on to be an associate auditor for the CPA firm Forvis, formerly known as BKD.

“It’s amazing to see them turning yet another page to start a new chapter of their lives,” Ashley said. “Going back to school and getting a degree after 22 years in the Army. Taking the time to be a supplemental instructor and help your classmates while getting your bachelor’s and master’s degrees. I just can’t express how proud and impressed I am.”