Delita Johnson enrolled at Jackson State Community College right after graduating from North Side High School in 1988.
Like many adults, however, she dropped out of college before she earned her associate degree in business administration to get married and raise a family (she has three sons). “My parents and my religious background encouraged a woman towards marriage and a family more so than education,” said Johnson, who works for the City of Jackson Police Department in the domestic violence unit.
Nearly 15 years later, Johnson returned to Jackson State to complete that degree and continue her education because she wanted to advance her career. After graduating from Jackson State, she continued her education at Union University where she earned a bachelor of science degree in organizational leadership in 2013 and a master’s degree in business administration from Bethel University in 2015. Her final step was a doctorate in business administration from Walden University, specializing in social impact management in 2018.
Her “educational roots,” as she calls them, began at Jackson State. “When I think about Jackson State Community College, I think about the beginning of my educational journey,” Johnson said. “I chose Jackson State because it was affordable and close to home. I also appreciated the personal attention. The teachers were always great.”
When she returned to college, she continued to work full time and raise her children. It was difficult to fit it all in, she said, but she had the support of her mom, husband, and children.
“I wanted to be the best example I could for my children.”
She encourages others in her situation to not give up if they return to college as an adult. She remembers failing algebra three times at Jackson State, but with support from faculty and cohorts, she finally passed the course.
When she finished her coursework and dissertation for her doctorate on Sept. 18, 2018 – her husband, Anthony’s, birthday – Johnson said she had a great feeling of accomplishment. “I did it.” Her degree was conferred on Oct. 28, and she attended her hooding ceremony in Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 19, 2019.
“My educational journey has been phenomenal. I’m so glad I did this,” said Johnson. “My life is so much richer. I thank God for it first, and am grateful for the new career I will be able to pursue.”
With her degrees in place, she would like to teach business at a college. “I’ve always wanted to teach on the collegiate level,” Johnson said. “This is my way of giving back. In fact, I would love to teach at Jackson State. That’s where it all started.”