Popular anchor's mother graduates with bachelor's degree in general studies.
Mary Newton '11, who graduated in May with a bachelor's degree in general studies from Columbia College–Fort Worth, says her daughter may have missed her calling.
"She always had something to say, always loved to prove a point," Newton says from her home in Texas. "I told her she should be a lawyer."
Tamron Hall didn't become a lawyer. Instead she studied broadcast journalism at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa., began working as a TV reporter and went on to host "NewsNation" on MSNBC and be a substitute host for NBC's "Today" and "Weekend Today." Additionally, she has served as co-host of the "Dateline" series “You Might Be Rich."
"I am very proud to have a daughter reporting the news daily!" Newton says.
Hall gave the commencement address at her mother's graduation without notes, speaking from the heart about the sacrifices the more than 200 graduates made to get their homework done, get to class on time and still balance all their work and family responsibilities.
"Students were crying in their seats," says Brenda Cole, associate director. The audience gave Hall a standing ovation.
Responsibility and sacrifice aren't just words to Newton. She retired after 26 years as a computer training lab manager and semi-retired from a very successful real estate practice to spend time with her husband and help care for her son and his wife's four children. Her own son didn't do badly either: he's now a banker with Wells Fargo.
"We had a year before he [her husband] passed," says Newton. "Just one year. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. The feeling runs through you just like water. God gave us 27 years together but I could have gone on like Methuselah, for 969 years."
A good friend (Gwendolyn Peyton '10, currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services) from church recommended Columbia College to Newton.
"I said to her, 'Are you serious? At my age? [Newton is now 61.] With all these children and all my responsibilities?' "
Newton nonetheless looked into Columbia College and liked what she saw. She found that she could take classes online and in-seat and still care for her grandchildren.
"I went back to college for me and my brain," she says. "Columbia College let me stay home and continue to babysit when I needed to, and go to the base [Columbia College–Fort Worth is located on a military joint reserve base] too. I liked coming to the base. I am more of a hands-on instructional person, but online worked out okay."
Having her daughter speak at commencement was just the icing on the cake.
"I was very pleased to have my daughter speak at my graduation, to honor the goals I had accomplished with God's help. This was very hard. This was a real challenge. I thank God I stayed with it.
"I am a firm believer that everything is there for a reason, and Columbia College was there for me."