By Elyse Pitkin

Linda Lockett was finally able to walk across the stage to receive her degree at the spring 2022 commencement ceremony. On paper, Lockett graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business management, but because of the pandemic, she was unable to participate in the ceremony.

Lockett was a student with Tri-C, pursuing her associate degree when she was offered a partnership through the community college to obtain her bachelor’s degree with Hiram. “It was very convenient as far as travel and transportation,” she says. Lockett enjoyed the curriculum and it fulfilled what she was trying to accomplish in her life.

Lockett’s inspirations are her children and grandchildren, and by continuing her education, she hoped to set an example for them and let them know the value of an education. “In this day and age, we need all the education we can get so we can excel and become whatever we want to become. If you want to be an executive assistant to a millionaire, you still need the education to get there. Book knowledge is important,” she says.

Nicole Gatrell, a professional advisor for Hiram College, had the pleasure of serving Lockett since September 2020, and values the relationship they developed over the years. She says, “Linda was determined to get her bachelor’s degree. She was able to overcome every challenge in front of her, and we celebrated her successes big or small every time we talked on the phone.”

Lockett feels overwhelmed sometimes when she reminisces about what she has accomplished and when thinking about receiving her degree. She says, “when I was at the graduation ceremony, I felt like I did something in life that I can leave behind as something my children can look at and say, ‘this is what my mom did, and we are proud of her.’”

Sometimes, Lockett pulls out her diploma and says to herself, “I really did it.”

Lockett is originally from Columbus, Georgia but attended school and was raised in Cleveland, Ohio.