Nineteen years to graduate

Monday April 30 2012


When Pam Hall took her first Latin class at LC in 1993, she wasn't sure where it would lead, but nearly 20 years later, she is graduating May 12 with a bachelor's degree in history. Her 81-year-old mother plans to come from Ohio for the big event.

For the most part, Hall, 61, has taken one class per semester while working full time at the College.

"It has been a journey," said Hall, who is coordinator of donor stewardship in the Advancement Office. "I really have enjoyed my classes and my professors."

Once Hall has her degree in hand, however, she won't stop taking classes. She will continue with math courses in hopes that she can tutor local students in algebra after she retires.

Hall came to LC after working as a legal secretary for eight years. She had hoped that her two children would take advantage of free tuition at LC, but they didn't. Instead, Hall did. "Carolyn Eubank (then director of Development) encouraged me to start taking classes," she said.

Only eight credits from Central Virginia Community College transferred to LC so Hall knew she had a long way to go. She started out as a math major, with much encouragement from then-professor Judy Smotrel, but she became intimidated by calculus and decided to switch to history after taking a class with Dr. Clifton Potter. "He's a wonderful teacher," she said.

Dr. Dorothy Potter became another favorite as did Dr. Jim Owen. "If you didn't know how to write a paper, by the time you finished with him, you did," she said.

This semester Hall is taking two classes, but she only needed one to graduate. Dr. Potter talked her into taking a course on Queen Elizabeth, just for fun. The second class, in black history, she needs for her emphasis in American history.

Hall said she doesn't mind being older than many of her professors. "It's always so funny when I walk in to a class for the first time," she said. "The students all think I'm the teacher."

Hall's mother plans to come to graduation from Dayton, Ohio, where Hall grew up. Her children, grandson, and husband Tommy will also be there to watch her receive her college degree. She's proud of her accomplishment. "I stuck with it, and I finished it," she said.