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Graduation Is A Family Affair for Mom and Son

UC graduate Cheryl Deardorff started college shortly out of high school 30 years ago, but then decided to put her degree on hold. Her advice for her son who’s entering UC this fall: Don’t stop, because it’s hard to go back!

Date: 6/7/2004
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
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Cheryl and Josh at a mother-son prom event at La Salle High School.

Full-time student, full-time worker and full-time mom – University of Cincinnati employee Cheryl Deardorff of North College Hill will be marching at UC’s Commencement to be awarded her bachelor’s degree – a dream she says her mother, now deceased, had always hoped she would achieve. It’s a double celebration for Cheryl after her son, Josh, graduated from La Salle High School this spring and was accepted into UC this fall.

Cheryl, a secretary for Educational Administration and the Urban Educational Leadership Program in the College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, started out on the college track after graduating from high school in the mid 70’s in West Virginia. “My mom got me a job in a doctor’s office as a part-time file clerk, and I attended Marshall University for two-and-a-half years. But then that paycheck just started looking too good, so I dropped out of college and became a medical transcriptionist.”
When Cheryl’s best friend started making plans to move to Cincinnati in 1978, Cheryl joined the adventure for a change of scenery, but says 17 years later, downsizing in the field left her searching for a new career path. She started at University Hospital in 1995, and in 1997 began working at Raymond Walters College.

Along the way, other life matters took priority over her dream of a higher education. Cheryl’s son, Josh, was born in 1986, but this single mom was determined to get back to college. While she worked at Raymond Walters College, she earned an associate’s degree in business technology from the college in 2001 and the same year got her current job in the College of Education, Criminal Justice and Human Services. That fall, she got back into college to earn her bachelor’s degree from UC.

This academic quarter, Cheryl was carrying 15 credit hours and attending class on evenings and Saturdays so that she could march in Commencement this spring. She will be awarded a bachelor’s of applied and general studies with a focus in business management from the UC College of Arts and Sciences. Her son, Josh, will also attend her graduation and begin his own experience as a first-year UC student at orientation June 24-25. Mom and son celebrated Josh’s high school graduation on May 30.

“He’s where I wanted to be at 18,” says Cheryl, as Josh, who graduated with honors from La Salle, looks ahead to earning a degree in accounting. Josh, an avid UC sports fan who says he has rooted for the UC basketball team since he was about eight years old, is looking forward to experiencing college life, with some valuable advice from his mother. “She says, ‘Don’t stop (college) – just keep going – because otherwise, you won’t go back.’

“I know it’s been hard at times for her,” he says. “She couldn’t always go to school full-time. She had to work, so it was a lot tougher on her. I’m happy that she will finally be able to graduate.”




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