We Are the Class of 2020 Telling our story, one graduate at a time.

Keri Rickey wearing a UNCW T-shirt while standing outside on a sunny day

May 1, 2020

Keri Rickey ’20 originally enrolled in UNCW in 2013. Her husband, an active duty Marine at the time, was subsequently injured, which resulted in her leaving UNCW one semester short of graduation. 

“I lost all hope of finishing college until one day an email popped into my inbox from Maggie Bannon [the assistant director of academic services]. That one email paved the way to my future and allowed me to accomplish a lifelong dream of becoming a college graduate,” Rickey said.

Launched in fall 2018, the bachelor's of interdisciplinary studies program is designed for students who previously attended UNCW to re-enroll and fully earn their degree. She is a member of its third, and largest, graduating class. 

Looking back at her time at UNCW, Rickey initially feared she would be out of place as a wife, mother and “late bloomer,” but was pleasantly surprised that she quickly found others in her age range with similar backgrounds in her classes. She said she will most miss that rapport and the camaraderie that colored her academic journey.

Like many members of the Class of 2020, the dream of walking in a commencement ceremony has been delayed for her because of the current coronavirus pandemic. Armed with optimism, she recalls the best advice she received as a student, “The line to point ‘A’ and point ‘B’ is not always going to be straight. It may zigzag, go in circles, or even run off the map completely before reappearing…but your comeback is always greater than your setback.”

-- Caroline Cropp