In a letter to the editor of The Collegian, Sarah Petty, president of the School of Professional & Continuing Studes (SPCS) Student Government Association, responded to the unacknowledged presence of hundreds of nontraditional studets in a recent article about nontraditional student experience at the University of Richmond.

The article to which Petty responded, Balancing Fatherhood and Classes: A Nontraditional Student's Experience at UR, highlights the inspiring story of Matthew Franklin, a 35-year-old Richmond College junior juggling coursework while raising his two sons.

Petty’s response applauds Franklin’s tenacity while taking to task the article’s writer for not acknowledging the experience of hundreds of nontraditional students enrolled in the School of Professional & Continuing Studies who work full time, have families, and pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates.

“Mr. Franklin is doing a great thing,” Petty writes. “He is teaching his children the value of education and ensuring a successful and happy future for his family.”

But she continues: “I would like to point out that all of us at SPCS are doing the same thing.”

Petty highlights the experiences of many SPCS students: “Many of us at SPCS have families. We sacrifice dinners with them and miss out on tucking our little ones into bed. We work long hours and then spend three-plus hours in a classroom, sometimes until close to 10 p.m. Some SPCS students take care of our elderly parents, or go to class sometimes four nights a week after chemo treatments — all because we, like Mr. Franklin, have that one clear goal, to earn our degree (or certificate, etc.).”

Petty’s letter to the editor, There are Many “Non-traditional” Students at UR, was posted December 9, 2018. The original article featuring Franklin was posted on November 21.