Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Father and daughter graduate together

Joe Taylor and his daughter, Caitlin,
at the School of Business graduation ceremony

When Joe Taylor’s youngest daughter, Caitlin, left for college in 2007, he found himself wondering what to do with the free time of having an empty nest. It was almost 30 years since he earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Missouri, and now he was thinking about getting an MBA.

“I knew in five years I’d be five years older,” Joe Taylor said. “It could either be with or without an MBA, so I decided to start on it.”

In 2011, Caitlin Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration with a concentration in human resources management from the University of Kansas School of Business and decided to return for her master’s of accounting degree. The following May, they found themselves graduating together in the same year, in the same building, on the same stage.

“For me it was really more of a celebration for my dad,” Caitlin Taylor said. “He’s been working on his MBA for so long, and he was so dedicated to his school work, that I was happy for him to have finally reached his goal.”

Although they both attended KU at the same time, they didn’t see each other on campus; Caitlin Taylor was on the Lawrence campus and her father was on the Edwards campus in Kansas City.  However, they gave each other advice when choosing classes and had a few of the same professors, which created some funny moments.

“One of our favorite professors wrote on my exam once, ‘Your dad would be proud,’” Caitlin Taylor said. “I definitely enjoyed having my dad in school the same time as me.”

In addition to earning her MAcc degree this year, Caitlin Taylor received the Allen Ford Outstanding MAcc Student Award. The award is voted on by accounting and information systems faculty.

“I’m very proud of Caitlin whether she wins awards or not.” Joe Taylor said. “Being recognized by the faculty is certainly special, particularly given the quality of many of Caitlin’s peers that I have met.”

Joe Taylor works at Sprint in Kansas City, so Rockhurst University and KU are the only two universities that he considered. The decision turned out to be an easy one.

“I talked to three directors at Sprint and asked them which they would choose,” he said. “All three of them replied without hesitation that KU would be the right choice.”

Now that she’s graduated, Caitlin Taylor will work as a tax accountant at Grant Thornton. Joe Taylor plans to continue work at Sprint.

“The last five years have been one of the most rewarding and challenging periods of my life,” Joe Taylor said. “I can honestly say that almost every day some problem or some decision needs to be made where what I learned at KU helps. It’s really been pretty amazing.”