Military family celebrates 7th wedding anniversary at their graduation ceremony
Graduating is such a deeply rewarding moment. You’ve come a long way to reach this point, where you can finally proclaim with pride, “I am a college graduate.” Somehow this simple statement seems to justify all your hard work, affirming that your dedication and sacrifice were worth it in the end. Imagine completing that journey not alone, but with your significant other right by your side, facing and overcoming the very same challenges. Such is the case for a remarkable couple, Michael and Elaine Ross.
On Saturday, April 11, 2015, University of Maryland University College (UMUC) Asia proudly commemorated the achievements of graduates from all over Japan at one of its annual commencement ceremonies, held in Tokyo at the New Sanno Hotel. Represented by those graduating were the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard; active duty servicemembers, DOD civilians, reservists, veterans and military family members all filled the reception space proudly clutching their diplomas. Still, amongst the many beaming faces, Michael and Elaine Ross stood out. Having encouraged each other since the beginning of their personal and academic journey, they had the unique pleasure of not only celebrating their graduation together, but also their 7th wedding anniversary.
The happy couple, based out of Yokosuka Naval Air Station, Japan, shared an inspiring success story, expressing how deeply appreciative they are of each other and how they came to reach such an important goal together.
“Getting this degree with my husband at my side has meant the world to me”, Elaine shares. “We both worked and went to school full-time, and there were times where we barely saw each other. But being able to walk across the stage and get our diplomas together means so much. Earning our degrees has been a goal for both of us since we got married seven years ago. We pushed each other to do our very best and to never settle for mediocrity and we finally made it. I’m proud that I was able to do so well in my classes and complete my degree, and being able to reach this milestone with my husband makes it all the more wonderful.”
PO2 Michael Ross also adds, “This begins with my wife and I, where we met at the first university we attended, at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003. Before either of us completed our degrees, I decided to enlist in the Navy and my wife was selfless enough to move with me to Norfolk. Fast forward to 2012, I received orders to come to Japan for three years. My wife, Elaine, decided it was time for her to finish her degree. She also motivated me to start back with school so that I could finish mine as well. I am so proud of her because she finished her degree and is graduating Magna Cum Laude! I never would have thought that either of us would have been able to complete our degrees while working, much less while I was in the Navy! I also think it’s important to thank the teachers that took interest in their students. While they may not always make the classes easy, I did leave them better educated and with a new respect for communication studies. Although it took us 11 years, we are both now college graduates and are grateful to have been able to complete our education while living in Japan. It has been a long and challenging road, but it feels amazing to have finally reached the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Congratulations to Michael and Elaine, and to all the military community graduates who will receive their higher education degrees this year throughout the Pacific.