All Sections

Mom, son graduate together from SNHU

New Hampshire Union Leader

May 12. 2018 7:05PM
Nate Bisbee graduates with his mother, Wendy, who received her master's in higher education administration during the first of four graduation ceremonies this weekend for Southern New Hampshire University held at SNHU Arena in Manchester on Saturday. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER - Wendy Bisbee and her son, Nate, of Merrimack, saw their academic dreams come true together along with 6,000 other graduates of Southern New Hampshire University this Mother's Day weekend.

Ms. Bisbee, 52, earned online a long-desired master's degree in higher education administration Saturday morning while Nate, 22, received his bachelor's degree in general studies after attending the Hooksett campus in person.

An international student adviser employed at SNHU, Wendy Bisbee said for 30 years she wanted an advanced degree to further her career in higher learning and spent the last three years working toward it.

"We kind of pushed each other and kept saying we have to stay with this if we're going to walk down the aisle and graduate together, that was always the goal," she said.

Meanwhile, Nate admitted during his early college years he thrashed around about his future.

"I never thought I would have ever made it. This would not have been possible without my mother's encouragement," he said.

Then Nate took a videography course from communications instructor David Humphreys.

"It was the fall semester of my junior year that I took a video course, figuring it would help round me out and I was hooked," he recalled. " I took every single video course that was available because I had finally found what I wanted to do with my life."

An avid scuba diver, Nate plans to become a certified underwater videographer, a highly specialized field.

"I've been diving about seven years; it's a passion of mine. I've done about 700 dives," he said.

The pair were among 900 to get their degrees before a near-capacity crowd in Southern New Hampshire University Arena, the first of four ceremonies marking the school's 86th commencement exercises Saturday and today.

There were 6,000 getting diplomas this weekend from a total of 17,000 worldwide who will complete their studies during the 2017-18 school year. They come from all 50 states and 51 countries, said Lauren Keane, SNHU's director of communications.

This year, more than 15 percent of SNHU graduates are affiliated with the military, nearly 30 percent are over the age of 40, and many are working parents and first-generation college students.

This year's winner of the school's prestigious Loeffler Prize for community service was Peter Perich, now-retired, assistant vice principal at Memorial High School in Manchester and a SNHU alumnus who volunteers for many local organizations. Perich got a $2,000 gift he can make to the nonprofit group of his choice.

At the close of their interview, Nate Bisbee had one last question for mom.

"Do you mean I don't have to get you anything for Mother's Day?" he joked.

Mother Wendy Bisbee smiled and said, "Nope, I'm good. This is all that I need."

University General News Manchester