MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (May 11, 2019) — For Milligan graduate JoDee Dotson, Saturday’s commencement marked a personal milestone, in addition to a proud moment as a mother.
While Dotson looked forward to walking across the stage in Seeger Chapel to receive her doctorate degree, she was most excited to celebrate with her daughter, Taylor Dotson, as she crossed the same stage.
“It is very special to celebrate this culminating event with my daughter,” said Dotson. “While the commencement ceremony marks the completion of my doctoral journey, it also signals a beginning. I look forward to seeing what God has in store for my future as an educator and Taylor’s future as she pursues her master’s degree.”
JoDee Dotson was one of eight inaugural graduates in Milligan’s Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program. The Ed.D. in educational leadership prepares practicing elementary and secondary school teachers for certification as school administrators, primarily as principals or assistant principals.
“I am proud of be a part of Milligan’s inaugural class, and I’m grateful for the lifelong friends and mentors I’ve made in the program,” said Dotson. “I appreciate working with knowledgeable faculty, as well as a top-notch dissertation chair and committee. The knowledge I’ve gained in this program has helped me continue to grow as a servant-leader in my school district and community, where I can encourage others to grow and become leaders themselves.”
The Ed.D. requires students to complete coursework, clinical experiences and a dissertation while working full-time. Dotson completed her degree while remaining in her current position as a district literacy coach for Johnson City Schools.
“I have been impressed with our first cohort’s work ethic and commitment to the profession,” said Dr. Angela Hilton-Prillhart, area chair of education. “Most importantly, candidates have formed lasting relationships with their cohort members and have supported each other in their studies from their very first semester together.”
Dotson acknowledged that Milligan creates lasting bonds.
“Milligan holds such a special place in my heart,” said Dotson. “My parents, Joe and Dee Ann Whitaker, met and attended Milligan in the 1960s. My husband and I attended Milligan from 1989 to 1993, and our two daughters presently attend Milligan. It was only natural that I would choose to complete my educational journey here.”
Dotson’s father served as the vice president for business at Milligan for over 21 years, and her husband, Kit Dotson, currently serves as Milligan’s director of church relations.
For Dotson’s daughter, Taylor, graduating with her mother only emphasized the importance of the day.
“I think it is really neat to be celebrating graduation with my mom. She has worked so hard and seeing her excel in her program has inspired me,” she shared. “Milligan has given me a great experience, both educationally and spiritually. The faculty and staff truly care and have had my best interest at heart. I have loved making many friends and I can’t wait to see where life takes us.”
Taylor Dotson’s next steps include getting married next weekend and pursuing occupational therapy at Milligan in the fall. For this weekend, she enjoyed celebrating a moment with her mother that she will always remember.