Perfect student and mother of three walks across commencement stage

Interview by W. Scott Giglio

Melissa Lene Freeman will walk in commencement at MetLife Stadium on May 16 and graduate with a nearly-perfect GPA of 3.955. She is also the first graduate to come from the University’s partnership with Paychex, Freeman’s employer.

The partnership offers the opportunity for Paychex employees to earn a bachelor of arts in individualized studies (BAIS) or a master of business administration (MBA) from FDU. Freeman earned her BAIS in business. She is a business analyst at Paychex.

freemanFreeman took classes online and began her FDU education while she lived in New Jersey, then continued after she moved to Maryland.

FDU: What was it like to go to school while working full time?

Melissa Lene Freeman: If I had it all to do over again, I would have made it my mission to finish school on time, while I was still young. However, I do see the numerous benefits of completing a degree which coincides with your current vocation. As I was learning, I was able to relate the material to real life experiences. Moreover, I found that I could apply the curriculum right away in both my business and personal life. I don’t believe that the information would have been as powerful had I learned it earlier. Being an adult learner has its own challenges. It was important to me that I made time to self-improve: managing my other full-time responsibilities of being a mother of three, a wife, and a full-time employee.

FDU: What does earning this degree mean to you?

MLF: I take much satisfaction in finally achieving a goal that I started over 20 years ago. I can also, with pride, continue to support higher education to my children, especially my 19-year-old who herself is a sophomore in college. Now that this chapter is over, I will press on to the next and earn a graduate degree.

freeman fam crop

Melissa Lene Freeman and her husband, Charles W Freeman III, will travel to commencement with their three children, from their home in Maryland.


FDU: You and your family are driving quite a distance to come to commencent. What are you looking forward to?

MLF: It’s an honor to walk and participate in such an event. I’m looking forward to having my parents and my children there to see it!

FDU: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out to earn a degree?

MLF: Continuing your education is not easy. Find your motivation, hold on tight, and don’t let go. It doesn’t have to be a 100-yard dash. Finish your course at your own rate, at your own speed. “The Tassel is worth the Hassle!”