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Mother, Daughter Graduate Together

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. —A mother and daughter who teamed up to go back to college helped one another into their graduation gowns on Saturday.

Karen Baker, 58, and daughter Latisha Robinson, 38, graduated from Edward Waters College in Jacksonville with business administration degrees.

Baker told the Florida Times-Union she had some trouble getting used to “all that college stuff” after so many years. Robinson also found it difficult to finish the mostly online coursework with her already busy schedule at home and work.

The two made it work, though, by encouraging each other to finish their assignments on time. They also competed for the best grade, but Baker ended up finishing as the salutatorian of the college’s entire 2013 class.

Edward Waters College was founded in 1866 specifically to educate newly freed slaves, the college said on its website, and is the oldest historically Black institution of higher education in Florida.

Baker and Robinson attended the college’s accelerated bachelor’s degree program called CLIMB, or Credentials for Leadership in Management and Business, designed for students who already had some college experience and were looking to increase their job skills or switch careers.

Baker had a two-year business degree before entering Edward Waters College, owned a bookkeeping business with her daughter and was ordained as a minister. Robinson never finished college her first time around and said she wanted to finish to show her children that it could be done.

Both mother and daughter said they spent thousands of dollars on their education and when Baker came up short, Robinson loaned her mother the rest.

“I wasn’t going to walk until she walked,” Robinson said. “We started this together, and we were going to finish this together.”

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