Chesapeake Navy Vet Achieves Bachelor’s Degree Goal on Mother’s Day

A Chesapeake woman celebrated not only being a mother today, but also earned her degree. It took Melissa Gillespie 17 years to walk across the stage because in addition to being a student, she was a mother, veteran, and Navy wife.

She says it took her 15 years just to earn her associates degree in nursing because her family never lived in one place long enough to finish it. Her husband is currently stationed on the USS Gravely at Naval Station Norfolk.

When her family moved to Hampton Roads, she stayed behind in Washington state for 19 months to finish her associates program. When she moved to Virginia, she started taking online classes, and then finally achieved her lifelong dream of earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Gillespie is the first person in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree. She says now that’s she’s achieved the goal, she’s looking forward to spending more time with her family, but has plans for graduate school at some point.


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