Adult Degree Program Graduates First Students
May 6, 2002-- Among the thousands
of graduates receiving degrees from the University of Virginia on
May 19, three women will be the first recipients of its Bachelor
of Interdisciplinary Studies degree.
C. Burgess of Charlottesville, Carrie Griffin of Springfield and
Vickie Johnson-Williams of Crozet represent the first fruits ofa
new adult-degree effort by U.Va.
remarkable women are shining examples to many who dream of earning
a degree from Mr. Jeffersons University," said Sondra
F. Stallard, dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
by the State Council of Higher Education in 1999, the part-time
degree program began that fall. It offers evening and weekend classes
in six concentrations: business, humanities, information technology,
social sciences, general individualized concentration and education
Jay and Vickie have earned their degrees in an academically rigorous
program designed to satisfy the intellectual curiosity and professional
development needs of working adults," Stallard said.
a former full-time U.Va. student, enrolled in the BIS program in
the fall of 2000 shortly after giving birth to a son. "I heard
about BIS through a TV commercial. Needing about 30 credits to complete
my degree, BIS was a perfect fit for me," she said.
while caring for a 2-year-old has been difficult. But Griffin, 26,
credits support from family, faculty, students and neighbors with
easing the burden. "There is unbelievable commitment by the
folks behind BIS."
plans a career in business. But first, "I plan to enjoy an
evening with my family
no readings, no projects or papers
38, a California native, started college while in the military.
A 15-year Navy veteran, Burgess heard about U.Va.s program
while attending community college in Norfolk. She moved to Charlottesville,
completed prerequisites at Piedmont Virginia Community College and
entered U.Va. in the fall of 2000.
to Charlottesville was difficult for the daughter of an Air Force
officer. Her sons, age 14 and 12, moved to Detroit to be with their
father. Burgess professors have been flexible and supportive,
allowing her time to travel to be with her sons when necessary.
offered me an opportunity to earn a degree from one of the finest
schools in the country," Burgess said. "And as an adult
I fully appreciate the significance of a college education."
plans to pursue a law degree.
Charlottesville High School graduate with a nursing certificate,
Johnson-Williams earned associate degrees in 1997 from PVCC and
Blue Ridge Community College in liberal arts and nursing, respectively.
Johnson-Williams, 40, was among the first to enroll in the BIS program.
family time while attending classes was important to her. "I
never missed my daughters softball games, and often my husband
went along on library trips, sitting for hours as I studied. And
my son was always a tower of support." Her daughter is 16;
her son, 20.
first-generation college graduate, Johnson-Williams has worked hard
toward her goal. "I have been rewarded with a U.Va. degree
that will allow me to provide services to economically depressed
is considering graduate education.
Katherine Jackson, (434) 924-3629