All photos via: Tennessee State University Newsroom
Over the weekend, Theresa Lyles and her granddaughter, Zuri Lyles, experienced an incredible milestone together: their college graduation from Tennessee State University (TSU).
The 68-year-old grandmother and 22-year-old granddaughter duo walked across the stage in Hale Stadium on Saturday to receive their degree in sociology and health information management respectively. Zuri also obtained a minor in business.
“I never contemplated this,” Theresa, a grandmother of 15, told the Tennessee State University Newsroom. “Who knew that when I started back then that I would be graduating at the same time as she did. Nobody but God.”
Theresa began her collegiate studies at TSU back in 1967; however, by 1970, dropped out of school to raise her family. Over a year ago, she decided to come back to TSU and finish. Little did she know, because of her credits she earned when she first attended, she was closer to graduation than expected. Unfortunately, after her first few months back, her middle daughter, Zuri’s mother, passed away.
“That hit us so hard that I almost dropped out because I was struggling and my grandmother went through a depression,” said Zuri. “But we kept encouraging each other. Through it all, we started working harder and did everything we needed to get the job done.”
On May 5, they not only got the job done together, but, according to TSU, may have made history as the university’s first grandmother and a granddaughter to graduate at the same time.
Zuri has a job offer from St. Thomas General as an information systems analyst. She hopes to attend graduate school to earn a degree in physical therapy. As for Theresa, she plans to continue help raise her grandchildren.
“I always wanted to come back, but just never had the chance to do it,” Theresa said. “I am glad I did, and it’s even better that I am doing it with my granddaughter. We encouraged each other. It was tough, but we had to tunnel through.”
This goes to show that never it’s too late to follow your dreams and with support, anything is possible. Congratulations to the both of you!