CHARLESTON — For Charleston native Rose Myers-Bradley, Eastern Illinois University holds a special place in her heart and her family's.
Myers-Bradley, an academic adviser in the Family and Consumer Sciences Department at Eastern for 18 years, has earned and will pick up her third degree from the university on Saturday.
"I'm proud of myself," Myers-Bradley said. "I think this degree has been my favorite one, since it has impacted my career and how I advise."
In 1977, Myers-Bradley received her bachelor of science in home economics; in 1989 she earned a master's of science in home economics; and on Saturday she will have a master's of science in college student affairs.
Pursuing the latter while working full-time at Eastern was something Myers-Bradley said she felt she needed to achieve after her youngest daughter went off to college.
"I was an empty nester and I needed something to fill the void," she said. "I just fell in love with the program and realized that it was helping me become a better academic adviser."
Even though Myers-Bradley had already achieved her degree goal of being an academic adviser, she said the program helped renew her love for her profession.
"All of the professors in the CSA (College of Student Affairs) program are so caring and compassionate about the field of CSA," she said. "I have learned so much in the past four years.
"Since I already work in the CSA field as an academic adviser, the classes I have taken have strengthened my skills and knowledge in working with college students. The CSA program has helped me to fall back in love with my job."
Myers-Bradley isn't the only person in her family who has sported the Panther blue graduation cap and gown. The tradition started in 1914, some 100 years ago in June, with her grandmother, Helen Moffett-Myers.
Moffett-Myers graduated from the university when it was known as Eastern Illinois State Normal School and went on to a successful career as a teacher.
"She instilled in me how important education was and she influenced me to have a good work ethic," Myers-Bradley said.
Although her grandmother died when Myers-Bradley was 14 years old, she was still a strong role model and helped pave the way for future generations.
"She was one of the greatest influences on my life," Myers-Bradley said.
On Saturday, Myers-Bradley will be proudly sporting her grandmother's gold pin that was given to her by former Eastern President Livingston C. Lord.
"It's a neat legacy that she started," Myers-Bradley said. "So many of her descendents have gone on and finished degrees at Eastern."
The other family members who have graduated from Eastern include: Myers-Bradley's oldest daughter, Callie Bradley; her two aunts; her husband, Ron Bradley; and her cousin. And in the fall, Myers-Bradley's youngest daughter, Elizabeth Bradley, will also earn a degree from the university.
After graduation on Saturday, Myers-Bradley said she doesn't have any plans to switch careers. Myers-Bradley said she loves her job as an academic adviser at Eastern and plans on continuing to advise around 400 undergraduate students in the Consumer and Family Sciences Department for many years to come.
"I love being on a college campus, interacting with college students and helping them get to graduation," she said. "I really like helping students figure out their passion in life."