Tag Archives: Fall 2022

TSU undergrad earns college degree decades later, completing a 30-year journey

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Cynthia Jones will receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration next week from Tennessee State University. It is a milestone of success that started three decades ago for 60-year old Jones, but one she says was well worth the wait. 

“I have always wanted to graduate from TSU,” Jones, a Louisville, Kentucky, native says.

Fall 2022 graduate Cynthia Jones will receive a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concertation in supply chain management.  (Photo by Jonathan’s Photography)

As graduation approaches, Jones says the feeling is amazing. “I am still trying to wrap my mind around this,” she says. The motivation behind her milestone, she says, is her only child Michael Jones, and her faith.

In 1980, Jones graduated from Springfield High School in Robertson County and began her higher education journey at Nashville State Community College. She eventually enrolled at TSU in 1991 but had to drop out due to financial hardships and seek employment. Jones worked in supply chain but was let go after 14 years due to company reorganization. Jones faced a number of difficulties prior to and immediately after losing her job.

“My brother passed (away) six months before they released me, and my mother passed seven days after (losing my job),” Jones says. After taking care of her loved ones’ affairs, she got back into the work force but for a significantly lower pay. Although she had the experience for employment opportunities, Jones didn’t have the degree.

Cynthia Jones. (Photo by Jonathan’s Photography)

“Nobody paid me what I made before,” she says. “My salary was 38 percent less than what I made at my previous job.”

But Jones kept her faith.

Always a Tiger at heart, Jones reflected on a promise she made to herself years before about walking across the stage one day. “Give your battles to God and keep it going,” she says. “It’s never too late.”

Jones son, Michael, 28, said he has always seen his mother work hard, and to see her walk across the stage on Dec. 3, will be something to remember.  

“She has been talking about graduating college since I was a baby,” says Michael. “She has always been a fan of TSU, so I know this is big for her. I am excited and happy that she is finally doing it.”

Cynthia’s son, Michael Jones says he is proud to be able to witness his mother walk across the stage. (Photo submitted)

Jones says there has been many lows throughout her journey with losing majority of her siblings over time, as well as her mother, but she knows her family will be watching over her as she receives her degree. 

“They are still here in spirit.”

Jones will be one of nearly 600 undergraduate and graduate students who will receive their diploma in the Gentry Center Complex. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m.

Those attending the commencement program are encouraged to wear masks as precaution against the COVID-19, flu and RSV viruses going around. For more information on fall commencement, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/records/commencement/ .