ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. – On Saturday, May 4, Alethia Raycrow-Simpson, 61, will close a chapter of her life that began more than three decades ago when she joins approximately 240 of her fellow graduates to become the newest Viking Alumni.

“My higher education journey started in 1993 when I enrolled at the University of the District of Columbia with a full course load. Although I finished that first semester with a B-average, it was extremely arduous. I found it unmanageable to continue my journey juggling school as a single mother working full-time,” said Raycrow-Simpson.

The years following her first attempt at a degree, she began her career with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) where she worked for 28 years until retirement in 2013.

“In 2016, I relocated to Elizabeth City, NC. I learned of the NC Promise program the following year,” she said.

As an adult learner, Raycrow-Simpson’s journey to graduation has been marked by perseverance, dedication, and a relentless pursuit of her academic and career goals. Despite the demands of her busy schedule, she remained determined to succeed and never wavered in her commitment to achieving her dreams.

“Although unable to have reached the 24 credit hours required to transfer to ECSU, I enrolled in the College of the Albemarle. I earned my associate in arts degree in May 2020, with a 3.73 GPA. In the summer of 2021, I enrolled in ECSU to pursue a degree in Homeland Security,” she said.

“I was drawn to Homeland Security because I figured I could draw on my 28 years in the field of transportation to ease the transition. Within three weeks of my first fall semester, I switched my major to emergency management (EM). This decision changed my life.”

Throughout her time at ECSU, Raycrow-Simpson has distinguished herself as a hardworking and driven student, earning the respect and admiration of her professors and peers alike.

“What I had not expected was the vast array of experiences I would encounter. These were complimented by my involvement with the ECSU’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT),” she said. “The activities of CERT dovetailed nicely with many of the subjects covered in my EM classes.”

Her passion for emergency management and her desire to positively impact her community have been driving her academic pursuits.

ECSU commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 4 at 9 a.m., in the R.L. Vaughan Center. This is a ticketed event, and it is available to view via YouTube.