White Plains resident Anita Horace won’t share her age with you, but she will tell you her reason for picking the College of Southern Maryland to further her education after her children were grown was simple: The college celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2018.
“I was researching colleges and I remember finding out when CSM was established and I thought, ‘oh wow, CSM is as old as me!” she laughed. “I figured if CSM has been around that long, they must know what they’re doing and they will surely have the tools for me to succeed.”
Horace was one of a few dozen CSM’s graduates who were – let’s just say born before 1970 – who participated in college’s virtual Winter Commencement ceremony Jan. 13, 2022. She earned her Associate of Arts degree in Arts and Sciences, with high honors, and she also accepted the invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa which is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders.
Horace said her story isn’t different from many other mothers who decided to further their education once their children had grown up and moved on.
“It’s just that the opportunity was finally here,” she explained. “When I got married, I promised myself that when my kids were at a certain age I would go to college. I grew up hearing my mom say ‘you’re never too old to learn.’ And my kids were also so supportive. They were like, ‘Yea Mom! Go for it!’”
She said she “dug up the courage” to call CSM, enrolled and came on campus to attend orientation. “I will never forget it,” she said. “At orientation I received a package containing a guide to being successful. I was asked to write down my goal for the first semester and I wrote I wanted a 4.0 GPA. That was my motivation. I was serious about challenging myself. And I accomplished my goal and kept going, taking a class here and there.”
She said she also made a point to engage in each class and to really get to know her professors.
“I made sure my professors knew who I was,” she explained. “I didn’t want to sit in a class and be invisible. The professors were great about it. Especially History Professor Dr. Cicero Fain, Economics Professor Michael Green, and Statistics Professor Marian Steinbach. Professor Fain nicknamed me Miss Anita and always made me feel good about my work and interactions in class.”
“The thing about CSM,” she continued, “is that everyone at the college really works hard for the students. I made use of all the tools available to me; the advisors, the tutors, office hours and I was successful because I used all the tools.”
Horace said she plans to keep learning journey going and will pursue her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work.
“’I am still learning.’ I like this quote by Michelangelo which he said when he was in his eighties,” Horace said. “Living and learning go hand-in-hand. It keeps us young, our brains active, and we learn new things.
“I am so elated and proud of my accomplishment,” she added. “Being steadfast, determined, hardworking, and focused was essential for me to succeed. I’m grateful for my community of supporters, my beloved family and my CSM family. Thank you CSM for the memories, friends and the people I met along my remarkable journey.”