Vicki Dawson '11, graduated in May – after 10 years.
Vicki Dawson '11 is a mom, grandmother and very hard worker. She celebrated 20 years of service with State Farm in mid-May.
College always intimidated her, but a special Columbia College associate dean persuaded her to try it, and she began taking classes the same day as her son, Cole.
Nearly 10 years later, she walked across the stage to accept her bachelor's degree in business administration with a major in management.
Vicki is 53.
Here is her story, in her own words.
- Where are you from?
- Tell us about your family.
- How long have you been at State Farm?
- What positions have you held in those 20 years?
I stayed with that job until recently when the company decided to perform departmental studies, and I had a feeling that my position would not stay. So I took control of my career and accepted a position in administrative services loss prevention. That’s where I am today.
- What prompted you to take classes with us?
So when Eric Cunningham (associate dean, Division of Adult Higher Education) showed up at State Farm in 2001 to solicit interest in bringing classes to State Farm, I was very interested, but again very intimidated. Cunningham took all the intimidation out of starting my college career by allowing us to register at work and choosing the classes to be offered each session. That assistance combined with the fact that State Farm has a tuition reimbursement program that pays 100 percent [for A’s and B’s] made my decision to start taking classes a much easier one. So, on Aug. 20, 2001, the same day that my son started college, I took the first step of my college career. I only hoped that I could make the required grade to get at least half my money reimbursed. I’m happy to say that I haven’t paid a dime for my education, I was inducted into Sigma Beta Delta, I was awarded the Carol Frobish Scholarship and I graduated summa cum laude, debt free, on May 7.
- How on earth did you stick with it for 10 years?
I did step away from taking a class when my granddaughter was born in August of 2007. That was the same time Columbia College made the decision to terminate classes at State Farm. I was devastated, but after visiting with Eric Cunningham about my options, I started taking online classes. I did that throughout the remainder of my classes until the last one.
- What do you hope to accomplish with your degree?
For more of Dawson's story, go to http://www.statefarm.com/_pdf/red.pdf