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Father and Son Graduate Together

Philip Hurst and Jonathan Hurst both took care a bit of unfinished business during North Carolina State University's Spring 2013 commencement weekend.

Both father and son had started their bachelor's degree programs in business administration at NC State a while back, then "took a few years off" to launch their businesses. For Philip, a few years became more than three decades. For his son Jonathan, it was about three years.

On May 11, 2013, both walked across the stage to pick up their diplomas during the NC State Poole College of Management's commencement ceremony, which followed the university's ceremony in the PNC Arena in Raleigh, N.C.

"I took advantage of the housing decline to do something productive," Philip said. He had completed one year toward his degree before starting his construction business, Hurst Home Company. With the decline in the housing market, he decided to take advantage of the business slowdown to finish what he had started back in 1975.

Since 2011, Philip has been completing the remaining 90 hours of coursework – taking many of the classes online and making the Dean's List each semester – while working part time as a manufacturing consultant. He now is one of Poole College's newest alumni, with a bachelor's in business administration and a concentration in finance. 

Once he decided to return to college, Philip said, "I just walked into the Poole College of Management" and ended up meeting with Erin Dixon, the college's director of undergraduate programs. "She helped me get the ball rolling to get me back on track," he said. After his initial meeting with Dixon, Philip was assigned to one of the college's professional academic advisors who provided ongoing assistance as needed. 

Jonathan got a bit closer to finishing his degree before launching his business, Hurst Landscaping. He had enrolled in the college in 2005, right after high school, and completed all but one humanities course. When his father decided to go back to college, Jonathan said he couldn't let his Dad beat him to degree completion, so he took that final class – postmodernist literature – and walked across the stage, just a few steps ahead of his father. 

Their future plans include working together to continue to grow Hurst Landscaping and Hurst Home Company, Philip said.

Jonathan Hurst lives in Raleigh, N.C., and Philip Hurst, in Apex, N.C.