Albany State University boasted an impressive class of 2023 graduates. Among them were mother-son duo Roderick and Yolanda Hubbard, who crossed the main stage to receive degrees from their respective graduate programs on May 6.
For the impressive pair, graduating simultaneously may be a first for them, but the family is no stranger to ASU. Their achievement further cements the strong legacy that the Hubbards hold at the university, joining a long history of graduates in the family that includes Roderick’s grandmother, wife, uncle, brother, sister-in-law and several cousins.
View this post on Instagram
ASU is a special place for the Hubbards, but this is especially true for Roderick. Since childhood, he developed a connection with the HBCU by visiting his grandmother, Dorothy Hubbard, who worked at the college, and his mother, Yolanda, who attended as an undergraduate student.
“When I first graduated from Albany State in 1992, he was a little boy. My momma worked at Albany State at that time and he tried to slide down her hip to get to me because he saw me in line ‘There’s my momma,’” Yolanda told WALB News 10.
Now all grown up, Roderick got to cheer his mom on while waiting in the same line. Also cheering them on was former Albany mayor and family matriarch Dorothy Hubbard: Yolanda’s mom and Roderick’s grandmother.
“We are very proud of our daughter and grandson for their achievements. I can’t say enough about the Hubbard family’s belief in lifelong learning and education. They both continue a long legacy within the Hubbard family of obtaining undergraduate and graduate degrees from Albany State University and accomplishing great things,” Dorothy told The Albany Herald.
“It is important to me that our children, their children and their children’s children see these accomplishments so they may earn their degrees from ASU as well,” she continued.
This was Roderick’s third degree from the university: He graduated with a Bachelor’s in Middle Grades Education in 2014, then with a Master’s in Educational Leadership in 2021. This year, he graduated with the highest degree ASU offers: the Educational Specialist degree in Educational Leadership.
His mother, Yolanda, also received her Allied Health Sciences Bachelor’s in 2011. This year, she received a Master’s in Public Administration, with an emphasis in Human Resources.
During their time enrolled, the duo supported one another, just down the hall from each other taking their own college classes. The pair spent many nights encouraging one another even as they wrote papers together. Her son even helped Yolanda adjust to online learning.
“This was an opportunity for us to celebrate our achievements together and reflect on the hard work and dedication that led us to that moment,” Roderick told The Albany Herald. “I do believe I’m prouder of my mom than I am of myself.”
For Yolanda, she dedicates this degree to her grandchildren.
“After graduation, my grandchildren ran up to us, and said, ‘You graduated!’ This degree is all about them for me. When school and life get hard, I can always remind them that GiGi did it much older, so they can do it too,” she said.
Now, the two Hubbards are ready to dive into the workforce with their newly minted degrees. Roderick currently serves as the assistant principal at Morningside Elementary in the Dougherty County School System. Roderick aspires to become a principal, advance to district leadership and eventually teach at ASU. Yolanda works at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital.
The pair may have already left their imprint on Albany State, but their time at their alma mater is far from over. The Hubbards plan to continue supporting the HBCU as alumni throughout the year.
“Albany State University is the best HBCU there is. We must support ASU in every way, not only at Homecoming. Our dear school is truly a union of work and inspiration,” Roderick told the news outlet.
Both graduates hope their story also inspires others to pursue higher education.
“If we can do it, you can do it too. Don’t let anyone stop you. No matter how old you are, how young you are, you can always go back. You can always get that degree,” Roderick said.