Lifelong Learning Journeys for Non-Traditional Students Reach Pinnacle Moments at Peirce College Graduation

Jun 24, 2019, 14:48 PM by Amanda Hill

PHILADELPHIA, June 11, 2018 — The Peirce College, Class of 2018 truly showcases the ideals of lifelong learning.

For many of the 285 graduates graduating on June 11 from Peirce, a Center City institution specializing in the education of working adults for more than 153 years, earning a college degree was part of their continued quest for career advancement. For others, their goal was self-improvement and personal fulfillment. For graduates like William Blackman, the motivation was inspiration itself.

A retired Philadelphia police offer and military veteran, Blackman, 72, is graduating with a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership & Management. He is one of eight members of the class older than 60, one of Peirce’s largest-ever contingents of graduates of that age.

After graduating from high school in 1964, Blackman joined the military and then the Philadelphia Police Department. He took a few college courses at that time, but realized that the timing wasn’t quite right. After retiring from law enforcement, he rejoined the military and served for an additional 18 years.

Blackman first attended Peirce in 2012, completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in 2014.

“I enjoyed my undergraduate experience so much, I decided to continue my journey in the master’s program,” he said. “I joined the Peirce College community to accomplish my personal goal of obtaining my college degree and to inspire my grandson to value the importance of education.”

More than 77 percent of this year’s graduating class are students over the age of 28.

“Peirce College offers a supportive educational environment for adults with the tenacity and drive to complete their degrees,” said President and CEO Dr. Mary Ellen Caro. “We work hard to ensure that we’re providing the knowledge and skills most in demand from employers and that we empower students to achieve their goals. Commencement is the pinnacle moment for this work and we look forward to what our graduates do next.”

Attending college as an adult is challenging, especially the balance of school with other work, family and community responsibilities. Still, Tara Broadie, 45, knew she would have to face these challenges head-on if she wanted to advance in her career. She enjoyed a good job in the healthcare information management industry, but there was no room for promotion without a college degree. After earning her associate degree in healthcare information technology in 2016, Broadie secured a better position in her field. Upon completing her bachelor’s degree in December, she advanced even further, landing a management job overseeing the coding department at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. She is continuing her lifelong pursuit of learning in the Executive Masters of Healthcare Administration program at George Washington University.

“When I started to pursue my education, I realized for the first time that I was in control of my destiny. I didn’t have to worry anymore about someone telling me what I couldn’t do because I didn’t have a degree,” she said.

Broadie’s story reveals that completing college is an achievable goal for those who set their minds to it, but two other graduates say it’s a little easier when your spouse is on the same journey.

Husband and wife team Anthony, 45, and Natasha Williams, 39, will each graduate with a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership & Management this year, having gone through their Peirce associate and bachelor’s programs together as well.

The Williamses encourage anyone who is contemplating going back to college later in life to do it and look to your loved ones for support along the way.

“It’s been a challenge, but we have had each other to rely on,” Anthony Williams said. “And if you can’t attend school together, support one another when the time comes for one of you to go back to earn your degree.”

In total, Peirce will confer 26 master’s degrees, the largest class of graduate-level students since its inception. The College will also confer 162 bachelor’s degrees, 91 associate degrees and six certificates. Philadelphia Director of Commerce Harold T. Epps will deliver the commencement address. The ceremony begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts on Broad Street in Center City Philadelphia.

About Peirce College

Founded in 1865, Peirce College has been providing working adults with affordable education, flexible classes, and personalized support for more than 150 years. Peirce offers bachelor and associate degree programs in the areas of Business, Healthcare, Information Technology, and Legal Studies, and Master of Science degrees in Healthcare Administration and Organizational Leadership & Management. Located in the heart of Philadelphia, Peirce is a non-profit institution that specializes in serving the unique needs of working adults through both online and on campus education. In 2015, Peirce took life-friendly learning and degree attainment to the next level with the creation of Peirce Fit®, a revolutionary learning format that allows students to choose each week whether to attend class in person or online. Through competency-based education in Peirce’s IT program, students may also choose a faster, more affordable path to a degree. Peirce College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market St. Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000). Additionally, select programs are accredited by The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, the American Bar Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

For more information about Peirce College, call 888.467.3472, or visit Visit Peirce’s blog, Peirce Connections, at Become a fan of Peirce College on Facebook. Follow @PeirceCollege on Twitter. View the Peirce College YouTube Channel.


Peirce College
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Amanda Hill, Director
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