Kathy WoodNumber 29, July 21, 2015
As the recipient of the John Hunt Entrepreneurship Scholarship established by College Foundation trustee Greer Brown and his wife Laura in memory of Greer’s uncle, Kathy Wood ’15 (B.B.A.) said she was “completely shocked and blown away” when she received the scholarship notification letter.
“It was more than just helpful. The scholarship not only made my life less stressful, but it actually impacted four people – me, my husband and my two daughters.”
For Wood, it was a long and arduous journey to obtain her diploma.
The 1990 high school graduate completed three semesters of core classes at North Carolina State before moving to Georgia in 1995. She began taking one or two classes every semester at Coastal Georgia when it was Coastal Georgia Community College, earning an A.S. in accounting in 2003 and continuing for an A.S. in business administration. “It was the closest I could come to a B.B.A. at the time,” she said.
Ten years and two daughters later, when CCGA became a baccalaureate college, she returned to secure the four-year degree. But with raising a young family and working full-time to pay for her classes, books and commuting expenses, she could only take night and weekend courses – not unusual for non-traditional students on campus.
One of her favorite business classes was Strategic Management, which met once a month on a Friday night and all day Saturday. “What a wonderful experience the GLO-BUS business simulation was!” she exclaimed. “I learned something new every time I logged in.”
“There are a lot of non-traditional students like me that are here on weeknights for classes,” she said. “I had a good experience at Coastal Georgia. I tell people that you are never too old to go back. Instead of just thinking about it, do it. People here will help you and you never know what doors will open as you go after your goals. I mean, it’s unbelievable – people recognized and helped me just as I am, a middle-aged mom.”
Wood admits that the hardest thing was the time required away from her daughters. “We are a one-car family, so this was a huge family effort. My mother helped us by taking the girls three nights a week. They called it ‘hanging out with Grandma’ on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.”
As a result, the whole family was there for May commencement when Wood walked across the platform to receive her diploma: husband, mother, brother, and her daughters Amanda, 7, and Evie, 4. “The girls were so proud of their mom,” Wood said, “and I absolutely want them to go to college when they graduate from high school.”
Wood works for the Southeast Georgia Health System in patient financial services for the business office, billing insurance companies. “I love working for the health system,” she said. “I want to grow within the health services business and have opportunities to advance.” She hopes her baccalaureate degree will develop opportunities for vertical promotion, but she’s not resting. “I plan to eventually earn my M.B.A. in accounting and finance,” she confessed. “I can take online courses through the Florida Institute of Technology, but I’d switch in a heartbeat if CCGA could offer an M.B.A.”
One of her few regrets is that she didn’t meet Greer and Laura Brown personally. “But thanks to them, I’ll have the opportunity to make the future financially secure for our family.”