Archive for Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mother, daughter to mark graduation - side by side

May 21, 2006


Kansas University graduate Toni Argueta will walk down Campanile Hill today with her mother by her side.

"We are going to walk down the hill hand-in-hand," Toni's mother, Pat Argueta, said.

It's not punishment. For the Arguetas, the ceremony marks the completion of a decades-long journey marked by late-night study sessions, the juggling of work and family and school, and the recognition that higher education is within reach for those who put their minds to it.

Pat Argueta, 45, graduates with a bachelor's degree of general studies in psychology. Her daughter receives a doctorate in pharmacy. They will be among 4,500 KU students graduating at 2:30 p.m. today at Memorial Stadium.

"She's shown that you can persevere through a lot of things," Toni Argueta, 24, said of her mother.

It is the end of a journey, but also the beginning of one.

Pat Argueta and her daughter, Toni, are both graduating from Kansas University today. They horsed around on the lawn in front of the Campanile last week.

Pat Argueta and her daughter, Toni, are both graduating from Kansas University today. They horsed around on the lawn in front of the Campanile last week.

Following high school, Pat Argueta opted to focus on work and family. College wasn't a top priority, she said.

When the family moved to Lawrence in 1985, Argueta went to work at KU. Her husband enrolled at KU.

Argueta wondered what college courses were like.

"I was just kind of curious to see how challenging it was," she said.

She took her first course, a sociology class, alongside her husband in 1986.

KU pays for employees' tuition for one course per semester. Argueta, an accountant in the University Registrar's office, took classes sporadically, picking up courses to improve her writing and management skills.

But in 1998, she took on college with a new fervor.

"I said: 'I really want to do this,'" Argueta said. "I enjoyed the challenge."

As a KU staffer, she saw all the students on campus and thought if they could do it, so could she.

Argueta stressed the value of higher education to her own children. And Toni Argueta enrolled in 1999.

Their paths crossed on campus when the two took the same history class.

"It was kind of weird at first," Toni Argueta said.

The mother and daughter pair sat side by side.

They enjoyed the experience and paired up again for popular professor Dennis Dailey's human sexuality course.

Over the years, they've studied together, Pat pushing her daughter at times when Toni felt like taking a break.

When Toni and her friends pulled all-night studying sessions, Pat Argueta brought the group doughnuts and gave them motherly encouragement.

Toni will work at a local pharmacy after graduation. Pat hopes to return to classes in the fall as a graduate student.

And the timing might be good again. Pat's young son, Rio, is a KU student, and he'll be graduating in a few years.

He may have a friend to guide him down Campanile Hill, too.


hockmano 12 years, 1 month ago

Way to go! Congrats to Mother and daughter. I know how hard it can be to raise a family and focus on your own goals!You set an example for every woman who has passed up their own education in order to raise and nurture a family!If you can do it so can the rest of us. You are setting a great example for all!

monkeyhawk 12 years, 1 month ago

Best wished to Pat and Toni. Good luck to both of you in the future.

I have a very close friend who will also be walking down that hill today. At the age of 58, she will finally command the title of "Doctor". Her story is a tribute to perseverance. When her children were quite young, she lost her husband. Her dreams were put on hold while she tended to the needs of her kids.

She never lost sight of her goals, and today all who know her could not be more proud of what she has accomplished.

jayhawks71 12 years, 1 month ago

This is great, but why is it newsworthy; there is a story of this type every year. With nearly 30 thousand people at KU isn't this bound to happen?

Steve Jacob 12 years, 1 month ago

They print the same story every year, just change the names, unless they get lucky one year and get a grandma and granddaughter.

james bush 12 years, 1 month ago

We need uplifting stories like this (congrats to mom and daughter!) to keep readers from complete depression brought on by politics and our pandering leaders.

jayhawks71 12 years, 1 month ago

its not that its not a "heartwarming" story, but its the lead story on the website. I should have been more specific, I suppose I expect the NEW in news to mean something.

Wilbur_Nether 12 years, 1 month ago

It's a human interest story. Perfectly valid and appropriate. And unusual enough--out of all the graduates from KU this year, they know of only one parent-child combination. Seems to me that's worth writing about.

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