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A Degree 20 Years in the Making

“If you want it, fight for it and achieve it. Give it your all.”

Jodie Richardson first came to Millersville University in 1994 as the office secretary for Alumni Services. Many years and promotions later, she now serves as the Interim Director of Student Success and Retention Programs. Once a new director is hired, she will return to her role as the Business Operations Manager for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management.

However, Richardson is not only a full-time employee at Millersville University, she is a student, set to secure a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminology on Dec. 18; and she is not just any student. After enrolling in her first class in the summer of 1996, Richardson has been working on her degree for 20 years.

“The emotions that I currently have are surreal. For many years I did not see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now today, the light is beautifully blinding to me,” explains Richardson.

While the finish line is within reach, the journey has not been easy. Richardson is a single mother of two boys. In addition to maintaining a household, she works full-time and attends school part-time. Car accidents, medical procedures, the passing of loved ones and other life challenges have tested Richardson’s willpower. She regularly has to sacrifice late nights, weekends, family and friend gatherings and some work days in order to complete school assignments, but this part of her journey is finally coming to an end.

“I made a commitment to my parents, my children and my family that I would earn a college degree, and through my determination and persistence that promise is being fulfilled,” says Richardson.

While life after graduation may be a little less of a balancing act, Richardson is not planning to slow down the pace. She is currently a candidate running for Magisterial District Judge in the southeast sector of Lancaster City. If she wins the primary and general elections, Richardson will have to resign from her position at MU, but will remain a resident of Lancaster City.

Even as she moves on to a new stage of life, Richardson will not soon forget her years at Millersville University, saying, “Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to the knowledge and development of my employment, and especially to those who supported, encouraged and mentored me through my grueling 20-year college career journey.”

After such an untraditional route, Richardson’s time at MU has produced not only a degree, but valuable life lessons, as well: “Nothing is impossible. If you want it, fight for it and achieve it. Give it your all. Keep dreaming, keep believing and keep working. Through prayer, hard work and determination, you will be delighted with the rewards of your labor.”

Graduation will be held on Sunday, December 18 in Pucillo Gym at 2 p.m.  For more information go to http://www.millersville.edu/commencement/. 

8 replies on “A Degree 20 Years in the Making”

Jodie
I am so proud of you, good on you and what an awesome role model you are. Very happy for your success. Congratulations !

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