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All in the Family: Father and Son to Receive Diplomas at SLPA Graduation

Mom Will Receive Her SLPA Diploma Next Year

It’s not unusual for a student to have his mother or father in attendance at his graduation ceremony, but it is unique when the student’s parent is there to get his diploma too.

Ben White and his father David “Scott” White will each receive a bachelor of science in professional studies at Duquesne University’s School of Leadership and Professional Advancement (SLPA) commencement ceremony this Saturday, Aug. 7, at 1:30 p.m. in the Union Ballroom.

Ben joined his dad as an SLPA student last year after completing four years of active duty in the Air Force following high school. Scott, a manufacturing manager for Joy Mining Machinery, first began taking classes at SLPA in 2006. In addition, Karen White—Scott’s wife and Ben’s Mom—is also enrolled in SLPA and is expected to graduate next year.

“It’s been a race to the finish line,” said Ben, when asked to describe the experience of attending college with his parents. “The big joke in the household is that my dad wants to change his first name to one that begins with an ‘A’ so that he can literally receive his diploma before I do, but I’ll actually be walking ahead of him!”

The Whites, who reside in North Huntingdon, have taken courses both online and on campus at Duquesne. They’ve shared textbooks and even worked on class projects together. Ben and Scott took their Organizational Leadership Capstone Seminar together and worked on the same team presentation on the oil spill in the Gulf.

“That really gave me a whole different view of my father,” explained Ben. “He was always a parental figure to me growing up, but seeing this ‘learning’ side of him was very different. I’ve always been able to see that side of my brother and sister and my friends, but you never get to see that from your parents.”

For Scott, returning to college while working full-time and being a husband and father of three children was an adjustment. “It was a little intimidating at first. The time management that goes with it—that was the big part,” said Scott. “I had to learn what was important in my life.”

A proud mom and wife, Karen said she is thrilled for Ben and Scott’s big day. “I feel that they both really recognize just how much they’ve accomplished,” said Karen. “The graduation ceremony is the reward for all of their hard work. I’m looking very much forward to it.”

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.