Mother, Daughter Graduating Together

There will be plenty of proud parents when their children receive diplomas at the Dakota State University commencement on May 8. However, maybe none will be as proud as Loralie and Sarah Harper, who will both be able to see each other walk across the stage that same day.

Loralie will be receiving a degree in English for information systems, while her daughter, Sarah, 21, will be getting her diploma in business management.

“I’m going to be really proud of seeing mom going across the stage,” Sarah said. “I know that mom has always wanted to graduate and I am glad that I can share that moment.”

Loralie said she will be in tears when seeing her daughter receiving her diploma. “It’s huge. We have moved lots of times,” she said. “This time I have finished something I always wanted to do. I am also proud of my daughter.”

The two made their way to Madison by way of Albuquerque, N. M. They were visiting Loralie’s brother who lived outside of Madison and decided that going to DSU would be just the right for both. They had also considered South Dakota State University in Brookings.

When the two came on the DSU tour, Sarah said the admissions people were very nice and open. “It was a homey atmosphere,” she said. “I was just not another face in the crowd, I was an actual student. They wanted to know me personally.”

Loralie always wanted to go back to school, but it took some convincing from Sarah and her grandmother to get Loralie back to school to finish a degree that she had started after high school.

Both have enjoyed the college atmosphere.

For Loralie, it was the small class sizes, individual attention and “outstanding” professors. Then there was the technology and the freedom that it provided Loralie. “You can go anywhere on campus and access the network,” she said.

Sarah also really enjoyed her experience at DSU, in particular, the one-on-one time with her professors. “Every time I had questions they were willing to help me,” she said.

Both agree that the DSU experience will have an impact on their lives.

Sarah said her four years has better prepared her to enter the job market because of the technology. “I will have that edge over other students,” she said. “With my business management degree, I can set up databases, financials and spread sheets.”

For Loralie, her experience was a bit different. “For someone my age to be returning to the job market, because of the technology on the campus, it gives me a real advantage among other people in my age group because I can build a web site, can help set up networking. I understand that technology,” she said. “It makes me more competitive than other people my age. In some ways it makes me more competitive than people my daughter’s age because I have more experience to go with the technology training.”

Sarah plans on starting a coffee shop some day. But in the meantime, she will be heading back to Albuquerque and finding a job. As for her mother, Loralie is traveling to Longmont, Colo., to go back to work and establish her residency before going back to graduate school.

Last Updated: 1/12/12