Norfolk State University Newsroom  


NSU Professor's Mother To Earn Degree

(NSU NEWSROOM--May 6, 2014)--The upcoming Norfolk State University commencement weekend will hold a special place in the heart of English Professor Dr. Sasha Johnson-Coleman.

While the professor is always happy to see students she has helped to educate walk across the stage at commencement, one of the University’s nearly 800 students expected to graduate on May 10 is the person she credits for teaching her about the importance of education---her mom.

Rosena Johnson, her mother, will be one of hundreds of NSU students who will participate in commencement exercises at the Norfolk Scope Arena when the ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. Levar Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth, will be the commencement’s guest speaker.

The 60-year-old interdisciplinary studies major from Virginia Beach started her studies at Norfolk State University in 1971 and majored in education. In between her studies on campus, she met her husband, Rev. Ronald Johnson Sr., who was in the military at the time. The two later married and began a family, so Johnson put her studies on hold.

Her husband’s military career took their family to several cities in the United States and even as far as Germany. Johnson sporadically took classes at NSU through the years, but she said family took priority.

The mother of three said she focused on doing what was best for her children and emphasized the importance of education. She watched several of her children graduate from college, including earning advanced degrees, and even accepted her husband’s degree when he graduated from college because he was deployed.

But In 2013, Johnson said she decided it was time for her to finish what she started at Norfolk State. She took online courses and changed her major to interdisciplinary studies.

Her daughter, Johnson-Coleman, said her mother’s journey to commencement on Saturday has been an inspiration to her. She says Mother’s Day won’t only be about celebrating the great mother she has, but also about her accomplishment.

“I am so proud of her,” Johnson-Coleman said. “Through the years, I have seen her go back to school and not be able to finish because we were a military family and had to move. She has sacrificed so much for us, now we get to see her earn her degree and that makes me so happy.”

After graduation, Johnson said she hopes to attend seminary school. She said her path has taught her that no matter where a person is in life, it is never too late to learn.

“You have to trust your instincts,” Johnson said. “If you work to complete your goals, you can achieve them. Never give up on your goals.”

For more information about the NSU Commencement, contact 757-823-2987.

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