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A Return to Appian Way

Lola SeckAt 6:00 a.m. – one hour before graduating students were told to be at HGSE – Lola Seck was already on Appian Way.

“I’ve seen all of them on the street at 6:30 this morning,” she says of the graduating students. “I saw all of my babies, and I even got pictures.”

A former security supervisor for Securitas, Seck had spent four years working at HGSE prior to her retirement last June. She traveled from her new home in Florida to attend the 2014 HGSE Commencement and see the doctoral students, whom she loved and supported during her job, graduate.

“I came back for the kids. I wiped tears and hugged them up,” Seck says. “I feel like I adopted all of them.”

The former school teacher and pharmacist technician admitted that she initially wasn’t sure she would take the security position at HGSE. However, when she arrived on Appian Way for the interview, her opinion instantly changed. “I knew it was the place for me to be,” she says, recounting how she felt at home among the students, likely because of her past as a teacher.

Once part of the HGSE community, Seck quickly found herself becoming part of students’ lives -- many of whom she’s kept in touch with on Facebook. When she retired last June, she promised many of those students that she’d return to see everyone graduate. She returned this year, eager to see everyone and meet her “kids’” parents and families.

“She welcomed me in every day,” said Eva Mejia, Ed.L.D.’14. “So, it’s was only fitting she would be here to greet us out.”

Seck already has plans to come back to next year’s Commencement, and says that with another student – whom she got to know as a master’s student – enrolling in the doctoral program, she will be back at HGSE for the next four after that.