When Christine Dunagan carried the University College flag as class marshal at her graduation from Syracuse University, she was finishing what she had started 30 years before. Life had intervened in her college journey back then, but as her 50th birthday approached, she was determined to call herself a college graduate. While working as an administrative assistant at Lockheed Martin, Dunagan discovered that her employer offered tuition assistance to employees who returned to school. “I wanted to do this for myself, and I wanted to set an example for my son,” Christine says.
She embarked on an 8-year journey as an employee by day, and a student by night. “I took advantage of every method of class delivery, including short residency, online, condensed, and traditional classroom,” she recalls. “There were many discussions from class that were immediately applicable to what was going on in my workplace, and being able to immediately use what I was learning helped reinforce it.”
Her hard work paid off in more than a diploma, as her son Kyle followed the example she had set so many years before. One week after Christine graduated from SU, Kyle graduated from U.S. Navy boot camp.