From community college to Emory Law School: Student succeeds in GSU’s Dual Degree Program

May 29, 2014

The first group of students from Governors State University’s Dual Degree Program received their diplomas May 17 at the Tinley Park Convention Center.

The group was led by student trustee and commencement speaker Kayla Randolph-Clark, who received her bachelor’s degree in business administration – finance. Ms. Randolph-Clark will attend law school at Emory University in the fall.

The Dual Degree Program (DDP) is a unique partnership between Governors State and 11 Chicago-area colleges, which provides full-time students with a pathway to earn high quality, affordable and accessible associate and bachelor’s degrees. Students who enroll in the program and complete their associate degree at their respective community colleges take advantage of program benefits such as guaranteed admission to GSU and a chance to compete for a GSU Promise Scholarship which supplements their Pell and/or MAP grant so that the student graduates debt free. Students with a 3.5 GPA or higher may compete for the DDP Honors Scholarship, which covers full tuition and fees.

In recognition of this first group of Dual Degree Program graduates, Governors State University began a new tradition. At commencement DDP students wore cords intertwining GSU’s colors (black and white) with the colors of their community colleges. These cords were presented at a special ceremony on May 8.

“The braided cords symbolize the special partnerships between GSU and the 17 community college campuses in the Dual Degree Program,” said GSU President Elaine P. Maimon. “We are grateful to the Kresge Foundation for identifying the DDP as a national model. Kayla’s success is just one example of what students can achieve when community colleges and universities work together.”

Kayla Randolph-Clark said the Dual Degree Program allowed her to take a more focused approach to her studies.

“Before I enrolled in the Dual Degree Program, I took one or two classes every now and then. Thanks to the DDP, I have been guided to make education my top priority. After years of trying, I will now be able to say that I am a college graduate."

“We know full-time students who finish their associate degree before transferring to a university are far more likely to succeed than those students who make another choice,” said Randi Schneider, associate vice president for enrollment management. “Equally as compelling is the evidence that the resources we invest in our relationship with students, through both professional and peer support, encourages them to pursue their goals.”

For more information on Governors State’s Dual Degree Program, visit

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