Father and Daughter Graduate Together

Father and Daughter Graduate Together

Andrea Byerly
Thursday, May 18, 2023 12:00 AM
Press Releases, All, Students


Pictured above: Scott and Heather Flaherty at Cleveland State commencement.

CLEVELAND, TN - Although Scott Flaherty has an associate degree and a bachelor’s degree, he had never participated in a graduation ceremony until Friday, May 5 at Cleveland State. Flaherty wanted to graduate with his daughter, Heather. This father and daughter duo started together at Cleveland State in fall 2021 and graduated together last week. Heather earned an associate degree in pre-health, and Scott earned a certificate in manufacturing essentials.

Heather graduated from Cleveland High School in 2021. A Tennessee Promise student, she hopes to be a physician’s assistant one day. Scott retired in 2021 and decided to return to college.

Originally from Michigan, Scott served in the United States Air Force for five and a half years in Texas, Alaska and New Mexico. After the service, he earned an associate of science and math from Schoolcraft College and a bachelor of science in biology from Eastern Michigan University.

“I have been enjoying my retirement and the Cleveland State campus,” said Scott. “I’ve met a lot of good people here - students, faculty, staff. This is a beautiful campus and a great location with paths in the woods. I did a lot of walking here – almost four miles before the end of the day.“

Art has been a pastime for Scott; he enjoyed taking art history, 3D design, ceramics and other art classes. He participates in Cleveland Creative, a local group that meets at the Museum Center to relax and create art.

When asked why he chose Cleveland State, Scott said, “I am a big supporter of community colleges. I think they are one of the greatest things that this nation created. They are an equalizer. As long as you have a GED or high school diploma, you can go to a community college and get a good start in life.”

Heather plans to apply to Middle Tennessee State University in 2024 to pursue a health profession after taking a gap year to gain work experience. Scott plans to continue studying art and enjoying his retirement. 


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