Carolyn Cannon’s voice cracked when talking about graduating from Augusta University with her son, Chris.
It’s the completion of a dream for her — finally finishing the Bachelor of Arts in History she began 25 years ago. For Chris Cannon, it’s the end of a grueling academic career, the past few years of which were spent working at a local bank and studying hard to maintain his 4.0 GPA. His spare time was spent with his now-fiancée, Shelby Breitmann.
Carolyn Cannon has also been an employee of the university for the past 25 years and is currently the office manager for the Office of the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs.
She first started college right after high school, attending Georgia Southern for two years before moving back to Augusta. She took a long break from school to marry and have a family.
In 2014, with Chris Cannon away at the University of Georgia and her other son, Matthew, graduating high school, “it just seemed like a good time go to back and finish,” she said. She had a lot of support and encouragement along the way from many colleagues and friends at the university, in addition to her family.
“I am so grateful for all of the support I have received,” she said.
Carolyn Cannon said history has always been a passion, especially American history, and completing the degree has been a lifelong goal.
Chris Cannon, who is also graduating from Augusta University with a Master’s in Public Administration, said he is very proud of his mother.
“If you were to tell me that she and I would graduate at the same time, it’s remarkable,” Chris Cannon said. “It’s such a blessing, and I know how hard my mom worked.”
In 2018, Chris Cannon graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of Science in education. During his journey to earn his master’s, he maintained a 4.0 while also working part-time at Queensborough Bank.
Chris Cannon said maintaining a high average during the master’s program was more difficult than undergraduate school, in large part because he didn’t work while earning his bachelor’s degrees. He wanted to work while earning his master’s, but left the bank in January to do an internship with the city of Grovetown.
“It was difficult because I had to balance work and school, and a lot of times I’d go to work about 8:30 a.m., get off at 4 or 5 p.m., and then do all of the homework associated with the classes — researching, writing papers and things like that,” he said. “It was difficult but I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Now he hopes to get an entry-level job in administration at Augusta University.
The day classes ended, a small group of family and friends drove by the Cannon home for a graduation parade.
“That was a lot of fun. We both sat out in the yard and they greeted us; they had signs and flowers. It was quite a moment,” Carolyn Cannon said.
Augusta University has always been a big part of the Cannon family. Carolyn’s husband, also named Chris, is a local real estate broker who earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from Augusta College in 1985. Shelby Breitmann, fiancée of the younger Chris Cannon, is currently a first-year occupational therapy student at Augusta University.
The family will participate in the online ceremony this weekend.
“I’ve worked at the university my son’s whole life. It’s kind of fitting that we’re graduating together,” Carolyn Cannon said. “I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished, and am eager to see what the future holds for him.”