Class of 2022: Grad proves it’s never too late for education

This December, Omega Hedgepeth became a two-time graduate of Georgia College & State University. She's worked as a university accountant for the past 11 years, most recently in Accounting Services. Interestingly enough, that’s not what she’s getting a master’s in.
“I started my Master of Public Administration some time ago—and I took two breaks—so I’m excited to be at the end of that journey,” Hedgepeth said. “I fell into the public administration program and it’s been very different from what I do.”

Q: You didn’t intend to complete this program at first, so what did you like about it?

A: Dr. Roger Coate’s national security policy class was a very interesting class. Probably for me, the experience was different than most people because I lived through a lot of what we discussed, and it was interesting to go back and look at it from a historical perspective. The class also familiarized me with threats like cybersecurity, which many of us deal with daily.

Q: What made you decide to pursue graduate school at this point in life?

A: I always had it in the back of my mind, as soon as I finished my bachelor’s degree. I took a master’s class a long time ago, but life went in different directions. But really, I like the thought of being a lifelong learner. I hope this will be my last degree, but I also hope to continue being a lifelong learner. Over the years, I’ve taken different classes and opportunities to learn other things.

Omega Hedgepeth with Cathy Cox at December Commencement.
Omega Hedgepeth with Cathy Cox at December Commencement.

Q: Why do you find it important to continue learning?

A: The world changes constantly. You have to realize, when I was first a student here, there were very few computers. They all fit in the bottom of Beeson Hall. When Atkinson opened, we had a computer lab with desktops, which was a world of change. During my lifetime of constantly learning things and constant change or changing regulations, it’s just something I think everybody has to do to keep up with what’s going on in the world.

Q: What motivated you to complete your graduate degree?

A: I was watching graduation and I thought, ‘I’m so close, I just need a few more classes.’ So, I thought ‘I’m going to do this.’ At that point I started again and that motivated me to finish. In the meantime, my daughter got her master’s at Georgia College—she beat me across the stage.

Q: How does it feel to be graduating?

A: I’m very elated. My husband is even more elated, and my kids are happy for me to finally be at this point. I’m just glad I did it. Even with my grandmother, she thought it was important to get a master’s way back when I was getting my bachelor’s. This is kind of an homage to her, and she also got her master’s as an older adult. Her kids were grown. I’m glad that I’ve done it, and, I hope, for anybody that can do it, I wish that for them too.