Carson Blackwood and his mother, Lori Blackwood
Carson Blackwood and his mother, Lori Blackwood

When Longwood University senior Ashley Truluck and her mother, Karen Crowe, talk about college, they can share similar stories. Mother and daughter both attend Longwood.

The same is true with Katie Webb and her stepfather, Joseph Key, and with Carson Blackwood and his mother, Lori Blackwood. Crowe, Key and Lori Blackwood are students in Longwood’s online MBA program. Their children are undergraduates at Longwood.

“If I’m stressed out about something, Mom is able to understand because she says, ‘I’m doing that, too,’” said Truluck, a liberal studies major from Leesburg. “I think it’s cool that she goes here. It’s something I get to tell people about.”

Fellow senior Webb is equally enthused about her stepfather’s being a Longwood student. “We can talk about our professors. One of us will ask the other, ‘Have you had so-and-so?,” said Webb, from Amherst, who is double-majoring in marketing and management.

Lori Blackwood and her son, an animation major from Meherrin who expects to graduate in 2018, also compare notes about courses and faculty members. Lori works at Longwood, so Carson sometimes drops by her office to chat.

“Carson and I talk about our classes, and we stress together,” Lori, space and real estate manager for Campus Planning and Construction, said with a laugh. “We share a lot of the same stories about exams or papers or citations or references.”

Crowe and Key also work full time. Crowe is controller for Compusearch Software Systems, and Key is an electrical engineer for Central Virginia Electric Cooperative. The MBA program’s online format is designed to provide flexibility for working adults, many of whom have families, which attracted Crowe.

“I was wondering how I could balance it with my work,” Crowe said. “It’s been challenging, but I can do it. Fortunately, the professors will work with you. The program has tons of flexibility.”

Her decision to choose Longwood’s MBA program also was influenced by her positive view of her daughter’s college experience.

Longwood has done so much for Ashley—it’s given her more self-confidence—and has been the perfect fit for her. It’s cool that she has relationships with her professors. I have enjoyed my Longwood experience both as a mom and as a student. I have only positive things to say about this university.


Karen Crowe, former member of the Parents Council

Similarly, Webb thinks her experience contributed to her father’s decision to pursue an MBA at her school. “He sees how much I love Longwood, so maybe that influenced him a little,” she said.

Key and Crowe earned their bachelor’s degrees right after high school. Key majored in engineering at North Carolina State University, and Crowe earned an accounting degree at James Madison University. For Blackwood, there was a 22-year lag between when she earned a two-year degree from a community college, following high school, and when she began her undergraduate studies. She picked up her bachelor’s degree from the University of Phoenix in 2012.

While Crowe and Key are in the MBA program’s general business track, Blackwood opted for the real estate track, due to working in a real estate-oriented job. One reason she chose the Longwood program is its national rankings. For the last three years, it has been ranked in U.S. News & World Report’s top 100 online MBA programs, and, a watchdog organization for online degree programs, ranked Longwood’s program in its top 50.

“I’ve always liked being in a learning environment,” said Blackwood, whose daughter Heather is a 2009 Longwood graduate.

Crowe’s career experiences have benefited her younger classmates, who in turn have shared their skills with her. “I have work experience that I’ve applied to the program, and the younger students, being tech-savvy, have been able to help me—for example, on how to do citations for papers ,” she said. “At first I was thinking, ‘Am I going to remember how to do these things?’ The discussion boards have been helpful.”

Not only Crowe’s fellow students but also some faculty members have learned a thing or two from her. “Her professors know their content areas, but some might not have as much practical experience as she does,” said Truluck, her daughter. “Some of them have told her, ‘Gosh, I’m learning from you.’”

Even though Truluck is fine with her mother’s being a fellow Longwood student, the daughter initially had one reservation. “She was a little worried because she thought I would graduate one day ahead of her, which is when the graduate commencement ceremony is held, and she’d have to share the spotlight with me,” said Crowe with a laugh. “But then I found out that I won’t be ‘walking’ until May 2018, so she was relieved.”

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