Graduation was a family affair for the Ngwudikes. Three members of the clan – mother, son and daughter – all received bachelor’s degrees during Jackson State University’s recent commencement.
The mother, Rose Ngwudike, is the wife of Dr. Benjamin Ngwudike, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development. She received a bachelor’s in interdisciplinary studies. For years, she taught K-12 students in Nigeria after receiving training at a junior college.
“When I came to this country, I saw education was a priority over here. I didn’t want to be left behind,” she said.
Rose Ngwudike said she received encouragement from friends and family to pursue a bachelor’s degree. It just so happens, her children also were matriculating at JSU. Her daughter, Chiamaka Ngwudike, earned a bachelor’s in biology. Her son, Uchechukwu Ngwudike, earned a degree in computer science.
Rose Ngwudike said going back to school, particularly with her children, has been a blessing.
“I could ask them questions concerning my school work. I got a lot of information from them,” she said. “No matter your age, you have the potential to go to school, if you’re determined to do that. You will do it and be successful.”
Chiamaka Ngwudike said having a mom on campus has its benefits.
“You have someone who understands what you’re going through as a student. She would give me advice on how to deal with issues. She’s my mom so she helped me get through,” said Chiamaka Ngwudike, who plans to attend Meharry Medical College this summer to prepare for the Medical College Admission Test.
“I’m just excited to be moving on the next chapter in my life,” said Chiamaka Ngwudike.
Uchechukwu Ngwudike said his mother’s presence at JSU – and at home – had an influence on him as a college student.
“She did a good job raising us. Whether she was on campus or not, I was going to focus on my grades, be a good boy and do what I’m supposed to do,” he said.
Both mother and son said they were planning to go to graduate school to earn higher degrees. The matriarch said she’d like to become a college president one day.