Those were the days! Regina Whittick recalls the story her father told of walking across the Rutgers University commencement stage in 1975 at age 50. Nearly five decades later, Whittick, also 50, has graduated from Rutgers School of Business–Camden with a degree in business management, at the same time that her daughter graduated from Rutgers–New Brunswick with a degree in biology. Like father, like daughter: Whittick defied the odds and challenging circumstances to make sure success in higher education was a family affair.
Whittick didn’t initially set out to become part of the family tradition. Encouraged by loved ones to continue her education after receiving an associate’s degree, she applied to just one university: Rutgers–Camden. “I thought if I got in, I would go; if I didn’t, I was done,’” Whittick said. She was accepted, and the next chapter of her academic career was set to begin on the Rutgers–Camden campus.
With excitement and anticipation, Whittick began classes in the fall of 2019; but just as she was finishing her first full academic year, the pandemic changed everything, and classes switched from in-person to online. While Whittick admitted the change presented an unexpected challenge, she was determined to continue toward her degree. "When I was accepted, I set a goal for myself to graduate at the same time as my daughter, and I wanted to see that through."
That goal kept her motivated despite pandemic-related difficulties and the responsibilities of a full-time job. Connecting with Rutgers–Camden faculty also kept her focused and inspired. She is considering pursuing a master's degree while she looks to apply what she has learned in her current position with a local health care system. Regardless of what comes next, Whittick, like her father, is proud to call herself a Scarlet Raptor.
"Just being able to say I did it—I went back to school at my age and finished my degree in four years—that makes me proud," Whittick said.
Creative Design: Douglas Shelton