Cassandra Dean, a mother of six, is set to graduate with her bachelor’s degree in sociology May 14, marking the fourth degree she’s earned from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.
Dean has a tried-and-true history with the university. A native of Little Rock, Dean first enrolled at UA Little Rock in 1998 after graduating from high school.
“I started out fresh out of high school and life happened,” Dean said. “The big picture is that I am leading by example. My children are watching me, and it’s good that they see me going to college. My children are my biggest motivation to pursue my education.”
Dean returned to UA Little Rock in 2014 to continue her education. She graduated in 2016 with an associate degree in general studies, an associate degree in law enforcement, and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
In 2017, Dean moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she is a property manager for a senior community. When she decided to earn a second bachelor’s degree in sociology to help with her work with seniors, Dean was determined to earn her degree from her beloved alma mater and became an online student.
“I love UA Little Rock,” Dean said. “That’s the best school. This is the only school I want my name to be on any degree.”
Dean’s return to college also created an interesting family dynamic. She started her sociology degree during the pandemic in 2020, when all six of her children were also taking online classes at home.
Dean thanked her oldest child, Rose, now 19 and a college student herself, for being “my biggest support system while helping me to help her siblings.” Dean insists that this is indeed her last foray into college.
“I have a daughter in college now, so it’s time to be done, but I am excited for my children to see me graduate,” Dean said. “My mom was also big on education, and I know she will be there in spirit. I would tell new college students to remember your purpose for going to college. That is what got me through, remembering my children. If I can do it with six children, I think anybody can.”