For many, there’s nothing like having family around while getting a diploma at college graduation.
But how about having your family join you on stage during the special occasion?
That’s what it will be like for brother and sister Cory and Ashley Schultz of Westchester, who will not only share the experience with each other, but with their mother Julie, who will also receive a diploma at the Loyola Marymount University (LMU) graduation ceremony Saturday, May 10th.
As a pure coincidence, the three Schultz family members are finishing their undergraduate experiences at LMU at the same time and are each expected to earn their bachelor’s degrees on the same day.
Cory, 24, is receiving his degree in finance, Ashley, 22, will get hers in English, and their mother, 47, is earning her degree in sociology. The mother and daughter will pick up their diplomas as part of the liberal arts college ceremony, while Cory will walk in the ceremony for the business administration college.
“Hopefully she’ll sit next to me,” said Julie Schultz, joking about her daughter sharing the commencement experience with her.
The three insist that the unique occasion was not planned, but was rather just the way it turned out with their undergraduate studies officially coming to a close at the same time.
“This just happened — it wasn’t planned,” Julie said of the occasion.
“It just worked out that we were all going to walk together,” Cory said.
Both Cory and Ashley note that receiving their college degrees will be a true feeling of accomplishment. While they have completed their studies in the more standard time frame, it has taken their mother ten years to get to graduation.
Julie, who also works at LMU as the executive assistant to the chief financial officer, said she was limited in the number of courses she could take per semester but is thrilled to finally receive her degree.
“I’ve always wanted my degree,” said Julie, noting that the dream was postponed as she got married and had children at a young age. “It started out like a hobby and turned into a goal. It’s an honor to be able to graduate with my kids.”
Ernie Rose, LMU senior vice president for academic affairs, noted how having children and a parent graduate together is “more unusual” at a private university than a public institution. The situation for the Schultz family has allowed them to receive a tuition remission from the school, Rose said.
“It points out what a good program we have at LMU where employees and their children get tuition remission to attend LMU,” Rose said.
“It’s a terrific family story and I think they will be having a lot of fun on Saturday.”
LMU seems to be a fitting place for the three Westchester family members to have shared their college experiences. Cory and Ashley are lifelong Westchester residents who attended local community schools, and when it came time to choose a college, they decided to stay local.
Although Julie grew up in Culver City, she has lived with her husband Bruce in Westchester for over 25 years and already had ties to LMU as an employee.
Cory joked that his younger sister followed him to LMU, but said that once they were at the same school again, the experience was “pretty natural.” The two have lived at home throughout their time at LMU.
They have never had a class together, but Ashley did have the opportunity of sharing an acting class with her mother, something she says their fellow students “got a kick out of.”
Having relatives around on campus certainly had its perks for the Schultz family, such as carpooling to school and having lunches together, but attending college parties with each other was asking too much.
“We really depended on each other,” Ashley said of the closeness of the family.
Some mothers might get a little curious being on the same college campus as their children, but Julie said she let hers do their own thing.
“I tried to sit in the back seat,” she said.
As someone who was much older than most of her classmates, Julie pointed out that she was sometimes mistaken for a professor, but the experience only ended up giving her many college-age friends.
“The students treated me like I was one of them,” she said.
Following graduation, Cory and Ashley Schultz each have plans to attend graduate school, and Julie will continue with her job at the university. Cory has expressed an interest in owning a business one day and Ashley is considering becoming an English professor.
With three members of the Schultz family all donning their graduation gowns at once, their Westchester home is set to host about 25 relatives and friends for a celebration following the ceremony.
The soon-to-be LMU graduates expect the event to be a “little overwhelming” for their relatives, but note that at least the family has to visit only one school for one day.
“It’s kind of a one-shot deal,” said Ashley, referring to the family in attendance. “I think it’ll be a lot of fun,” her brother added.