B. Diane Gibson
B.A., June 2009
Dr. Abby Stein Award
In her own words…
Living near Baruch for a few years, I decided to continue my college education there and was happy to learn the school accepted my twelve or so credits earned in 1965 from the University of Virginia; I became a transfer student. However, I still had to pass math. I love it; I just get the wrong answers. Unfortunately and after three semesters of remedial algebra, I realized a business degree was not for me and shortly thereafter I was accepted into CUNY BA/BS.
After a few semesters I decided to major in Criminology. While working full-time, it was rare I took even six credits a semester. Most of my Area of Concentration courses were taken at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and they were varied and exciting and of course I chose them from different departments. I especially found refuge in John Jay’s ISP courses (Interdisciplinary Studies Program) many times…little did I know how great they would be. At the same time I would always receive an encouraging word or two from my mentor, Professor Andrew Karmen (Sociology), as he was as surprised as I was as to my determination to keep on going and going. So, from Juvenile Delinquency to Deviant Behavior to Fire Safety and Security and Witchcraft, I lumbered my way through the course work.
Each day I would enter one of the buildings for a class I would relish the date “1964” engraved on the foundation, for it is also the year of my Mom’s untimely death at 46. She would be so very proud of me.
During classes it was always fun to watch the students’ expressions on the first days of classes; they would think I was the professor. I was so proud to smile and join them amongst their ranks of the undergraduate and work with them and watch their interaction with me. At times I even felt though they were a bit frightened of me. Listening to their youthful chatter, concerns, and oftentimes bold ideas was not only stimulating and fun but encouraging and gave me hope for the future. Their youthfulness made me smile.
I even encouraged someone I had met in remedial algebra to go into CUNY BA/BS. She did and was able to complete her BA in no time (doing her homework on the job) and now has been working in her field for nearly a decade. I am especially happy for Kathy because-though not quite as old as me-she is also from Massachusetts from a working class family. Sisters Unite!
Although I always worked full-time since I left home at 19, I never had a career to speak of and in the beginning of this new century I fell into even more of a career slump with truly no-end jobs combined with welfare; for three years I did no course work at all. But thanks to good follow up the CUNY BA/BS staff pinched me saying I had better do it or lose it… Kathy was also an encouragement. I started up again the summer of 2007 with a drama course for non-actors.
I have an interest in working as a case worker with young felons, ex-offenders incarcerated within the mental health system, and/or the developmentally disabled. I am presently working with a recruiter specializing in these fields. Although I have chosen to work with young adults (perhaps it has been my wonderful years of studying with them at John Jay), I understand the need is vast for competent employees in this field with my background and I most certainly will work with any group.
I was born in 1944 and today is June 3, 2009; after my first attempt at college 44 years ago, I graduate today with a B.A. I am the only college grad in my family. I am proud to be a New Yorker and a graduate of the CUNY system, and I am appreciative of the fact that I am now able to go on with this fresh face to challenge the many obstacles we have presently in front of us. Thank you very much once again.