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Commencement: A Family Affair at NLU


Husband and wife graduates Samuel Hopps and La Shae Hopps-Davis

National Louis University (NLU) recently recognized graduates at its 2014 commencement ceremonies. With more than 1,750 students earning their degrees this spring from NLU, each has a unique story of goals, struggles and triumphs. For example, former NFL football player Walter Mendenhall celebrated his achievement, and two sets of fathers and daughters received their degrees together. With this in mind, we wanted to share the story of Samuel Hopps and La Shae Hopps-Davis, a married couple who earned their graduate degrees together from NLU.

Samuel and La Shae, both 27, live in Chicago and met at Northern Illinois University (NIU). They married in 2009. Samuel has a B.A. in Sociology from NIU and La Shae has a B.S. in Family and Child Studies from NIU. They have a four-year-old daughter (Samiah) and a five-week-old son (Nehemiah). We asked La Shae a few questions about their higher education journey at NLU.

Why did you return to college?

We both decided to go back to school to create a better future for our children, to set examples for our siblings and to help the youth in our community.

Why NLU?

NLU was our choice for graduate school because we have co-workers and friends who have shared their great experiences about NLU with us.

What were some of the challenges of returning to school?

At times it was very hard because we were working full time jobs, and we still had to be dedicated parents to our children.

What are your post-graduation plans?
With his degree, Samuel plans on teaching high school. I would like to become a director or education coordinator for a child care center. In the future I would like to become a child care owner.

Father and daughter James and Laura Murgell

Father and daughter James and Laura Mergl

Would you recommend going to college with a spouse/partner?
I would recommend this journey to other couples because it keeps you focused. There was always someone who I could vent to about the troubles I was having in class. We helped each other with our homework and
always shared NLU resources with each other.


Father and daughter Derek and Meeka Berry

What was your favorite part about taking your higher education
journey together?

The best time I had at NLU with Samuel is when we had our classes on the same day. My mother would watch Samiah while Sam and I took the train to and from campus with each other. Those rides on the CTA red line helped create a closer bond with each other. It gave us down time and a reason to feel young again.



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