Portland State undergraduate Barbara Reynolds will be one of two student speakers at the June 17 commencement ceremony. Reynolds has taken a long and circuitous path to get her degree, and plans to thank all segments of PSU that were instrumental in helping her achieve her degree.
Reynolds applied for the chance to speak at graduation after a teacher nominated her. In her speech she will thank the ASPSU Child Care Center, the disabilities resource center, the returning women’s mentoring program and several professors in the English department.
“I’ll be thanking the child care center because they took such good care of my child and allowed me to finish my degree,” she said. The English professors will receive accolades because they were “really dedicated professors, and they were willing to provide help outside of class time.”
Reynolds came to PSU as a transfer student from PCC Sylvania and had a relatively hard time adjusting. “I was in absolute shock at PSU, because it was so crowded,” Reynolds said. “The returning women’s mentoring program really helped me connect with people on campus.”
Becoming involved with the Students with Disabilities Union also contributed to helping Reynolds become more at ease with PSU.
Reynolds was co-coordinator of the union for about 15 months. She said she has enjoyed her time spent at PSU.
“My experience at PSU has made my dreams come true. My disability really got in the way of being a leader when I was in high school, and my college years were unproductive in my teens and 20s,” she said. “Being co-coordinator of the Students with Disabilities Union and getting the chance to speak at commencement, I never thought that would happen.”
Reynolds, who has been working on her degree intermittently since 1970, will graduate with a bachelor’s in English. She plans to take a year off before going on to graduate school. Reynolds would like to enter the master’s program in the School of Education in disability rehabilitation counseling and do further work in that field.