May 9—Mother's Day was a special one for Lorie Hansen.
As she watched her son, Dylan Hansen, walk across the Corn Palace stage to receive his college degree from Dakota Wesleyan University on Sunday, Lorie joined him in earning a degree of her own. The longtime Mitchell Republic advertising manager earned her Master of Business Administration on Sunday, capping off a unique college journey while holding down a career and supporting her son's collegiate experience at the same time.
"This was just an awesome experience. I'm really proud of my son, and he's worked really hard to get this," Lorie said following the DWU commencement ceremony at the Corn Palace.
While Lorie pursued a master's in business administration, her son chose a different route in the health care field. On Sunday, Dylan earned his bachelor's degree in nursing, which he plans to put to use soon in Florida, where he recently accepted a job.
Considering it's been 30 years since Lorie walked across the stage to receive her first college degree from DWU in Mitchell, she had a tough task ahead. Jumping back into college as a 48-year-old mother of three kids wasn't easy, but Lorie said it was "well worth it."
"It was challenging, and I am so proud that we both made it to the finish line today," Lorie said.
When Lorie completed her bachelor's degree at DWU in 1991, college looked a lot different than it is today. With the online-centered learning environment that's been implemented on college campuses across the country, Lorie had to quickly adapt to the changes.
"It's just a lot different now. You have people in your class that are from Georgia and Ohio who you are talking with through a computer screen," she said. "It was weird at first, but I had fun learning in that environment."
Despite the obstacles she had to overcome in the past several years while completing her master's degree online, Lorie said there were some fun times along the way.
"It was kind of neat to talk about our homework that we had going on at the same time," Lorie said.
As the advertising manager at Mitchell's local newspaper, Lorie said the master's program is already helping her work performance reach new heights. After all, that's one of the main reasons she decided to take the leap into graduate school.
"I've already been implementing new things I learned from the program into my job, which has helped my advertising team that I oversee," Lorie said. "While I am happy to have done this, I couldn't be more proud of my son and family for supporting each other through this all."