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Father, son earn degrees together
James (left) and Jim Kidd will graduate together in exercises for the College of Education at 8 p.m. on Friday, May 6.

Father, son earn degrees together

Fathers and sons do a lot of things together – ball games, fishing, hunting, and the like. But for Jim Kidd and his son James, of Columbus, the activity that’s brought them together most over the past five years has been going to class.

Fathers and sons do a lot of things together – ball games, fishing, hunting, and the like. But for Jim Kidd and his son James, of Columbus, the activity that’s brought them together most over the past five years has been going to class.

Jim and James will be among the approximately 1,200 Pittsburg State University students eligible to participate in commencement exercises on May 6 & 7.

PSU officials say that although it is not unusual for parents and children to be enrolled or even graduate at the same time, the Kidds stand out because they have taken every single class together.

“We started together and we wanted to finish together,” James said.

“We thought it would be awesome to walk across the stage and get our diplomas together,” Jim added.

The father-son duo, who are exercise science and therapeutic recreation double majors, began their journey serendipitously.

“James had gone to another college and he just felt he wasn’t getting the kind of education he wanted,” Jim recalled. “I was working for a company and one of the interns at that company said they had started a new program at PSU in exercise science.”

It was the type of program that Jim thought would fit both he and his son, so he told James about it.

I said, “Dad, if you go back to school, I’ll go back with you,” James said.

“Not thinking that I would,” Jim quickly added, laughing.

Not every student might welcome having a parent with them in class, but James said his dad fit right in.

“We all got along great,” James said, “especially in our rec classes. He was just one of the guys. Even my fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, treated Dad like he was in the fraternity.”

The only time Jim and James went separate ways was to do internships this spring. Jim, because he had a full-time job, stayed local, working with youngsters with behavior problems through Crawford County Mental Health. James worked with Alzheimer’s patients at a rehabilitation center and nursing home in Olathe.

Now, with their degrees in hand, Jim’s and James’s paths will diverge, but they both say the past five years have been a special time and an experience that they are glad to have shared together.

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