Born in the West Oak Lane area of Philadelphia Cathy Arnold finished high school early, at just 16. She applied to the Community College of Philadelphia shortly after but decided instead to pursue a job opportunity with the Internal Revenue Service. Five years later, her son Chris was born, and Cathy put school aside to dedicate her time to motherhood and succeeding in the workforce.
In January 2008, Cathy was sidelined for a bit while recovering from routine surgery. During her time at home, she saw a blurb for Graduate! Philadelphia flash across the screen while Action News was on. “I saw that Graduate! Philadelphia was dedicated to adults that are trying to go back to school. I saw that they will help you research which school is right for you and help with the legwork. Once I began that process, it became clear that Peirce College was the best fit for me. They had the most focus on adult learners and support services geared specifically toward us,” she says of her experience.
Cathy decided to pursue an Accounting degree, but she wasn't alone on her Peirce College journey. Inspired by his mother’s goal of furthering her education, Cathy’s son Chris also decided to attend Peirce College and pursued a Master’s of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management. “I could see from my mom’s interactions with Peirce, the College’s events and her success that it would be a great opportunity for me. I feel like the program really speaks to where I am headed in the future,” Chris says.
"I am so glad that I chose to attend Peirce College"
Cathy and Chris both experienced a transition period as they eased into becoming students again, and the support from the Peirce faculty and community is something they both agree has been instrumental in their success. For Cathy, having her professors spend extra time with her when it came to the more challenging course material gave her the leg up she needed. “I’ve always been able to have my professors work with me if that’s what I needed at the time. They’ve always been very supportive,” she says.
But it wasn’t just her professors who supported her. Cathy says the Peirce faculty, staff and even students helped her persevere though the “life-changing” experience of going back to school. “I am so glad that I chose to attend Peirce College because I now have a multitude of awesome memories and host of remarkable people that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” she says. “I tell everyone that if they’re looking for an exceptional and extraordinary higher-learning institution, to contact Peirce College.”
And of course, the mother and son couldn’t have done it without each other. Chris says, “My mom being the student that she is and being successful throughout her years at Peirce, means that high expectations were certainly set for me. She achieved and maintains high standards, and she looks to me to follow through on those.”
In June 2011, Cathy earned her associate degree in the Business Administration Program with a concentration in Accounting. But, this was not the finish line for Cathy’s educational career. She continued to take classes with Peirce College and graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
Today, Cathy works for the City of Philadelphia, where she has been located for over 20 years. With her new degree, she was able to apply for new positions in different departments that would have otherwise been out of her reach. She was promoted from the Fire Department to the Water Department in July of 2015 where she continues to work with procurement, but is also now given the responsibility of professional services contract management. Her new degree allowed her to grow within an organization she has always enjoyed working for. Now, Cathy is in line for another new promotion as she works to finish her Master’s in Taxation and Financial Planning at Widener University.
We are so happy to hear of Cathy’s successes and wish her nothing but the best on her continued career journey!