2010 Commencement a Family Triumph at University of New Haven
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On Sunday, May 16, at 10:00 a.m., Lorrice, Tyrone and Nikkia Grant will share more than their usual familial bond and an abiding ambition for success. The Hamden, Connecticut, husband, wife and daughter will all don caps and gowns and march during the University of New Haven (UNH) Spring 2010 Commencement, a short walk that will serve as the culmination of a shared domestic expedition and educational odyssey. 

For Lorrice, 41, the journey to a bachelor's degree in nutrition and dietetics began as she watched her daughter Nikkia graduate from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, in 2006. "I watched Nikkia walk to that podium and said to myself, 'I helped her edit some of the papers for her classes; I know I can do this.'" As a child-care worker and cook at the Children's Center of Hamden for several years, Lorrice had worked closely with the center's staff dietician. Combined with an innate talent for cooking, her interest in nutrition became her educational focus, and, while raising four children and working the "graveyard" shift at the Children's Center, Lorrice completed the coursework for her bachelor of science degree in nutrition and dietetics in four years. So how did she manage balancing working full-time, going to college and raising her children? 

"I call it 'mothering by cell phone,'" Lorrice laughs. "I'm constantly checking in with my son, Andrew, who often watches my two youngest, Alexis, 11, and Andrea, 9, to see if homework and chores are being done." She jokes that she was compelled to finish her degree in four years as Andrew, 18, her source for free daycare, is heading off to the Rochester Institute of Technology in the fall to pursue his own educational path. 

Tyrone, 45, took a more circuitous route for his degree, out of necessity; and has only two courses to complete this summer for his business administration major and accounting minor. Tyrone began at Morris College in South Carolina at 17, he had to leave college to help support his family when his father became ill. As an operator for AT&T for nearly 10 years, Tyrone's constantly rotating work schedule added an additional challenge to his completing his college studies but his determination paid off. With dreams of entrepreneurial pursuits, he plans to continue on for an MBA. 

Nikkia, 25, will receive her master's degree in public administration during commencement. Currently a business analyst at the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles, she has her sights set on managing programs that will benefit the community, perhaps in housing or educational programs for the underserved. She is understandably proud of her parents' persistence and hard work, and is grateful for the example they set for her, and for her younger siblings. "In our home, it's just assumed that college is part of your plan." she says. Indeed, Alexis is already considering optometry and Andrea is eying a business degree and career in entrepreneurship.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 22 August 2012 09:00 )