Balogun family of four attend UAH together


The Balogun family from left to right: son, Favour; mother, Bridget; father Olu; and daughter, Sharon.

Michael Mercier | UAH

The Balogun family had no intention of attending The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) together. "It just worked out that way," said family matriarch, Bridget Balogun, who is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Nursing. "When my husband started working on his Master's degree at UAH, he encouraged me to transfer from Drake State College.

The Balogun patriarch, Olu, graduates from UAH on Sunday, May 1, with a Master's degree in Accounting. UAH's Spring Commencement Ceremony, begins at 2 p.m., in the Von Braun Center, Propst Arena. The commencement speaker will be U.S. Senator for Alabama, Jefferson "Jeff" Beauregard Sessions III. UAH is expected to award more than 800 diplomas at its spring graduation ceremony - 649 bachelor's degrees, 171 master's degrees and 26 doctoral degrees.

Olu has mastered numbers since elementary school, and for that reason he was nicknamed "the mathematician," by an elementary school teacher. In high school he graduated with honors and distinction in mathematics from Pollyanna Commercial High School in Lagos, Nigeria. He also obtained a bachelor's degree in Finance from The University of Lagos in Nigeria. After settling in the U.S., Olu attended Alabama A & M University, earning a Master's of Business Administration (MBA) degree. But, Olu soon realized that he needed a degree in Accounting to meld with his Finance degree and MBA to better prepare for his professional future. Olu contacted UAH and the family journey began.

"Olu is a diligent student and a very nice guy. He goes out of his way to help others," said Dr. Charles Hickman, UAH Clinical Associate Professor of Accounting. "He is participating in the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program for the second year. This year Olu was chosen as a Campus Fellow, meaning he received a higher level of training and certification, and has much more responsibility," Hickman added. "Olu is working as hard as he can to prepare himself for a career in accounting."

"My business teachers are very passionate about their job, they are friendly and show great interest in student progress," said Olu Balogun, who was recently inducted in the Beta Alpha Psi financial information honor society.

When the Balogun's son, Favour, a Supply Chain Management (UAH College of Business Administration) major realized his dad, mom and sister would be attending UAH at the same time, he said his first thought was, "to change schools."

But daughter Sharon, who is majoring in Industrial and Systems Engineering, was more laid back about the situation. "I didn't really think about it that much until school actually started. "My classes and my mom's started and ended at about the same times, and we would get lunch together. It's better now because she's taking nursing classes and our schedules are different so I think it all worked out well."

While the situation might have been uncool for other traditional aged students, like Favour and Sharon, to attend school with their parents the Balogun family decided to seize the unique opportunity to focus on education, university-led research endeavors, internships and cooperative education options to advance their individual careers.

Bridget's path to nursing began in 1992, when her father was hit by a car and sustained a severe spinal cord injury. "The hospital workers were on strike and I watched my father die because there was no one to help him. I remember wishing that I was a nurse so that I could help save his life," she said. "When we relocated to the U.S., I felt it was an opportunity to start over, so instead of continuing as a teacher, I decided to go into nursing so that I could help touch the lives of others."

She decided to attend UAH because her husband and son had only "good things to say" about the university. Balancing motherhood, marriage, work and school "has been challenging," said Bridget. The Balogun's have two younger children at home, too (fourth and tenth grade students). "Picking up kids, dropping them off and still making it back to UAH for nursing classes and working a 12-hour shift on school nights as a patient care technician is very hard, but I get it done by the grace of God."

Bridget readily admits to having "difficulties" with technology and a few other classes. "I was an English teacher in Nigeria, there my studies focused mostly on the arts. The nursing faculty and fellow students have been awesome and helpful in sharing knowledge. It's been a great learning experience."

"Bridget is a full time nursing student. She engages in active learning in the classroom and she is focused and works hard to accomplish her goals," said Anne C. Dillard, UAH Clinical Instructor of Nursing. "Bridget asks insightful questions and enjoys exploring new nursing concepts that she is learning. She is smart, respectful, and caring. Bridget will make an excellent nurse. It has been a pleasure to watch her renew her back-to-school confidence in the nursing program."

Favour Balogun was a stellar student while at Grissom High School. He took advanced placement Physics, Calculus, Government and Economics. He was impressed with UAH for a number of reasons. The beauty of the campus, it was close to home and his dad had only good things to say about the university. "I really became interested in the university during orientation. After doing some research on academic majors offered by UAH I decided on Supply Chain Management (SCM). It wasn't a major with a large number of students, but there is a good market for SCM jobs in Huntsville."

Favour is using some of his academic skills on the job as a product specialist at Landers McLarty Automotive Group. "My time here at UAH has been pretty good. I've met a lot of people and learned so much."

Favour and his mom will graduate from UAH together in spring 2018. He plans to seek employment with the federal government or a large marketing firm, and Bridget plans a career in oncology nursing.

Sharon Balogun also graduated from Grissom High School. Excelling in advanced placement English, Calculus, Psychology, Physics, Photography, Government, and Economics. "I heard about UAH from my brother. I didn't commit 100 percent until I made it to the admissions process.

"Last summer, I enrolled in a pilot CAD design (3-D) program. I really liked the process. I already knew I wanted to be an engineer, but after taking the program, I decided to major in Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE)," said Sharon Balogun. "I've really enjoyed going to UAH so far. I've learned a lot and had really good teachers, tutors, and friends who've helped me. I'm a freshman taking my basics right now so nothing's been really difficult yet, but I'm up for a bit of a challenge next semester," she added.

If all goes well Sharon will graduate in spring 2019. After obtaining her undergraduate engineering degree she plans to "immediately" pursue Masters and PhD degrees.

Olu Balogun has already begun his employment search. "Ultimately, I plan to open an accounting practice but now I want to get a full-time job, support my family, gain some valuable work experience and begin paying my student loans." Balogun's future goals also include preparing for the Uniform CPA Exam, and teaching accounting.

***EDITOR'S NOTE: A reception for UAH graduates, and their families and friends will immediately follow the ceremony.



Dr. Charles Hickman
UAH College of Business Administration

Anne Dillard
UAH College of Nursing