Amanda Schwengel and Polina Saran

May 08, 2024

University News

VIDEO: Father-son bond strengthened by shared graduation

When Alan and Everett Williams walk across the Commencement stage at the same time, they’ll celebrate a unique relationship that extends beyond academics.

Amanda Schwengel and Polina Saran

May 08, 2024

“Like father, like son,” the saying goes. But Alan Williams and Everett Williams have never been much for normalcy. So they turned the tables, with Alan following in the footsteps of his son Everett.

The pair shared a remarkable academic journey at Metropolitan State University of Denver, one that will culminate in them graduating together this spring. Each pursued his distinct passion: Everett in Exercise Science and Alan in Linguistics. Their paths aligned unexpectedly when Alan transferred credits to MSU Denver, where his son had already been studying for a couple of years.

Alan found himself back in school after a chance encounter with an MSU Denver recruiter. He transitioned from his job as a night supervisor at a high school in Aurora to a full-time student, transferring in credits from another institution. “I was encouraged by one of my professors to join the Honors Program,” he said. “So I quit my job and went full-time (as a student) and never looked back.”

Meanwhile, Everett had been attending classes at MSU Denver, a path that led him to discover his passion for Exercise Science and Nursing. He and Alan ended up completing the credit hours required for graduation simultaneously, though it wasn’t intentional. “We didn’t plan to be (graduating) at the exact same time,” Alan said. “But we both kind of went back and forth, and we ended up graduating together.”

RELATED: Quadruplets to graduate together from MSU Denver

Everett described the experience as surreal. “I’m graduating with my dad,” he said. “It feels surreal because he kind of inspires me. And to be graduating with somebody I care about is really nice.” Everett plans to pursue a career in nursing and is grateful for his father’s support along the way.

Likewise, Alan appreciates his son’s youthful energy, which inspired him to get involved with many of the clubs and events that MSU Denver has to offer. “I started with honors and then joined the philosophy club and linguistics club,” he said. He also takes advantage of the King Center’s free shows and other campus activities.

The father and son have a close relationship that extends beyond academics. They live in adjacent units of a duplex, with Alan often providing meals and support for Everett. “I open the fridge and see a plate with tinfoil on it, and I’m like, ‘OK, I’m set,’” Everett said.

As graduation approaches, Alan and Everett are looking forward to the next chapter of their lives. Alan plans to take the LSAT soon and apply to multiple law schools, while Everett will continue his path toward nursing. But nothing can compare to the bond they’ve forged along the way.

“He tells me he loves me or he’s proud of me,” Everett said. “That helps more than a lot of people have.”


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