A goal 20 years in the making

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree has been 20 years in the making for Katrice Larkins-Sanders. 

She completed her course requirements to earn a communication degree in the fall of 2021, but she’ll make it official when she walks across the stage at the Breslin Center during this spring’s commencement ceremonies. 

It was the 2020-21 school year when Larkin-Sanders returned to MSU to finish her degree. She had 6 classes and 19 credits left. 

“I knew my time was now or never especially with the pandemic and restrictions upon us,” she said. 

But there were more expectations in place: she had to obtain a 3.5 or a 4.0 GPA in each of the classes to graduate. That, coupled with raising a family of three and working a full-time job was “discouraging,” Larkins-Sanders said. 

“I immediately thought about my children and how our lives will improve financially with this accomplishment, therefore I accepted the challenge not turning back," she said.

While she pushed head, she encountered two major setbacks during the summer of 2020: her grandmother died of lung cancer and her mother died of COVID-19. 

“I was devastated,” she said. “Attending two funerals less than a month from each other and all I could think about was I couldn't maintain a 3.5 -4.0, as my heart was ripped and shattered.” 

But she kept going in pursuit of her goals. 

“Determined to make my mom and grandmother proud of my graduation accomplishment, I kept going and received a 3.5 GPA from the summer and fall semester, meeting all graduation expectations,” she said. 

With her degree in communication, she said she hopes to continue developing her skills within her career of supply chain management. She also plans to attend graduate school. 

“The more I get to know Katrice, I trust more in her ability and determination to complete her journey,” said Samuel Cho, communication academic advisor. “I’m simply honored to work with Katrice and very proud of her achievements.” 

Larkins-Sanders hopes her journey will inspire her children. 

“I want my children to graduate from college with degrees also and realize no matter what they go through in life, it's never too late to finish what was started,” she said. “I want them to know that perseverance is the key, and to never give up on their goals and accomplishments.” 

By Jennifer Trenkamp