A Very Special Mother's Day Gift, Mom and Son Graduate Together from Ashford University
This Mother's Day has a special meaning for retired Sgt. Maj. Jackie McKennie. This year, both she and her son, Master Sgt. James Grady, can add new titles to their already long-list of military career accomplishments: College graduates. Grady and his mother recently participated in commencement ceremonies at Ashford University, completing a journey showcasing the importance of pursuing education and learning through all stages of life.
This mother-son team celebrated their accomplishments along with 1,000 other students from across the United States and several other countries at the Ashford University commencement ceremonies in Clinton, Iowa on Saturday, April 30, 2011. Even though Grady actually completed his coursework last year, he decided to wait to participate in commencement until this year so he and his mom could walk the stage together.
Both mother and son graduated with honors and traveled from the Atlanta area to the ceremony. Like most graduates, the pair completed their education through Ashford's comprehensive online learning program. They had never even met their fellow students in person, but they wanted to attend and enjoy the commencement ceremony – a formal recognition of their significant achievements.
This family story is one of commitment to education, regardless of what roadblocks may stand in one’s way. Being on active duty as a Master Sergeant was not going to stop James Grady from completing his degree. With more than 20 years in the Army and currently stationed at the 148th Brigade Support Battalion in Forsyth, Georgia, he turned to Ashford University to earn his bachelor's degree in organizational management.
Grady's mother proves education is a lifelong endeavor. After 28 ½ years of service, Jackie McKennie retired in 2009 as a Sergeant Major, the highest enlisted rank one can receive in the Army. Moving into a career in the Federal Government, she began working as a Mobilizing Planning and Administrative Specialist at Fort Gillem in Atlanta.
Even though she plans to retire “for good” in a few more years, McKennie was determined to keep learning in order to advance her skills in her new position. She went back to school at Ashford University to receive her bachelor's degree in organizational management, the same major as her son, James. McKennie is excited to be a new graduate at this stage in her life and said that “her Ashford education will be essential when it comes to creating training, team building and policy development activities in her position on base.”
When asked this Mother's Day about his mom's success, Grady proudly states that “her dedication is awesome to watch. She has shown me that no matter your age, you can pursue and accomplish any goal in life.”
Ashford University's online graduates represent the face of non-traditional online learners – working moms, dads, military war veterans, career enhancers, career launchers and scholarship winners who need flexibility in earning their degree.
About Ashford University
Founded in 1918, Ashford University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (www.ncahlc.org). The University offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs online and at its Clinton, Iowa, campus. The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable online and on-campus programs. For more information, please visit www.ashford.edu or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 858.513.9240 x2513.