Celia Hammond already had a lot on her plate when she decided to return to college at the age of 25. A lifelong Chicagoan, she worked full-time at the Illinois Institute of Technology while also juggling her role as wife and mother to two children. Celia was also an active member in her community and congregation, so many would think she was in over her head for trying to obtain a degree.

But Celia didn’t just try. She succeeded and became Daley College’s 2019 salutatorian. That’s not to say it was easy, but Celia credits the college with helping her accomplish her goals.

“I could sign up for classes online,” the busy mom said. “I didn’t have to step foot inside a school to register. I could also take classes at any City College that met my scheduling needs.”

Another factor in her success was the supportive staff at Daley—especially from people who aren’t always in the spotlight.

“The consistent friendliness and welcoming attitudes of public safety officers and custodial staff were great,” she said. “Shout out to the people behind the scenes who do their part to make our experiences extra special!”

Celia’s persevering spirit helped her keep going when the road got tough, and her use of City College’s supportive services helped her get where she is today. As for her post-graduation plans…

“They’re on hold,” she said, explaining that it took her a while to get her associate degree because of her numerous commitments. “My husband couldn’t take classes during that time, so I’m going to continue working while he completes his bachelor’s. After that, I’d like to get mine.”

Since she has so much experience juggling many priorities, Celia knows the path to graduation can be difficult. But her time at Daley has also allowed her to impart some great advice to her student peers.

“Understand the road might be tough, the days might be long,” she began, “but keep at it, do the very best you can, and be gracious with yourself.”

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