MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Graduation for many parents is a time to watch proudly as their children walk across the stage to receive their degree. But for Lauren Salter, the experience was quite different.
Lauren walked the stage and received her diploma during the same graduation weekend as her son, Courtney.
Sharing a graduation celebration on the same weekend was unforeseen. The Salters chose Alabama State University at separate times, without anticipating that they would receive their undergraduate degrees during the same graduation weekend, but providence prevailed.
Both of the university’s 2020 spring and fall commencement ceremony’s were held on the same weekend this year. COVID-19 postponed the spring ceremony until the fall, and that meant Lauren and Courtney would be unexpectedly graduating on the same weekend.
“This has been something we’ve talked about since I’ve been a small child and to actually see it come to fruition is definitely amazing,” said Spring 2020 graduate Courtney Salter. “It couldn’t have happened any other way. I’m a spring ’20 graduate, but because of COVID, it was postponed until now. So I think everything happens for a reason, and I’m just glad I’m able to share the spotlight with my mom.”
“This is a blessing,” said Fall 2020 graduate Lauren Salter. “I feel so overjoyed. This is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.”
The Salters said their choice of ASU was part of a family tradition, following in the foot steps of other several other family members who attended the university. As Lauren put it, “We bleed black and gold.”
Courtney said a degree from ASU was long anticipated.
“Even before college, I attended Zelia Stevens Early Childhood Center from kindergarten to 3rd grade. So I’ve always, just from a personal standpoint, been centered around ASU,” Salter said. “The tradition of family is pretty much centered around ASU.”
Courtney graduated from Brewbaker Technical Magnet School in 2016 and immediately entered his freshman year at ASU.
Lauren is a 1984 graduate of Robert E. Lee High School. She initially went to Auburn University Montgomery (AUM) in the fall of 1984, but she left there to embark upon a course of studies at Trenholm State Technical College.
She received several degrees from Trenholm and tried out several professions until she received her dental assistant’s degree. She worked as a practicing dental assistant for 28 years before deciding to return to college. A decision she said her son encouraged.
“What made me come back was actually my son,” Salter said. “I was hoping to finish before he did, so I could still be that encourager. But he finished before I did, and he was my encourager.”
Lauren walked the stage on Nov. 20, which also happened to be her 55th birthday. She graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, while Courtney’s degree is in finance.
Both Lauren and Courtney said they are so happy they attended school at Alabama State University because of the warmth and love they felt from ASU’s faculty and staff and because of its excellent curriculum.
“The things that I have learned as a student in COBA (ASU’s College of Business Administration) from Dean Kamal Hingorani and his faculty have taught me the life and career skills to be both a good and a successful employee anywhere,” Courtney said.
His mother echoed many of her son’s sentiments and thanked Dr. Parichart Thornton for helping her develop her “educational wings” that she will use to pursue her desire to become a teacher with hopes of one day joining the faculty at Trenholm State.
“In addition to earning a college degree, ASU has helped me with a sense of pride, confidence and a hope for a better future,” Lauren said.
“All of that aside, graduating from college on my birthday with my son also graduating on the same weekend is the second best thing to ever happen to me...the first one being having given birth to him.”
The mother and son are both natives of Montgomery.