Mr. & Mrs. become Dr. & Dr. at graduation

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Reprinted from The Times and Democrat

Drs. Lemuel and Patricia Patterson, '07Lemuel and Patricia Patterson were among Friday’s recipients of doctoral degrees in educational administration awarded at South Carolina State University. They share more than the same last name.

They met in 1999 in McCormick, where they both were employed for the McCormick County School District, he as a science teacher and she as a curriculum coordinator. In 2000, Lemuel moved to Denmark to work at Denmark-Olar Middle School as a science specialist, and, in 2001, he took advantage of being close to South Carolina State University by enrolling in its Educational Leadership program.

As their courtship intensified, Pat began to consider enrolling in the program after Lemuel shared information on some of the interesting topics being discussed in his classes. In January 2002, she entered the university. In June 2002, they were married on St. Helena’s Island one day after the end of a summer course they took together.

Initially, Pat didn’t change her name, and the professors were taken by surprise when they realized they had become husband and wife. Pat took evening and summer courses so that she and Lem could finish together.

“It’s been a whirlwind experience for us. Five years later with a blended family of five adult children and 10 grandchildren, this tops it all off,” Pat said.

Pat is employed as the English language arts specialist in Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 and consults part-time for Educational Resources Group, and Lem has served as a science consultant at Denmark-Olar, North and Alcorn middle schools. Lem will be the second person in his family to earn a doctorate.?His cousin, a pharmacist in Philadelphia, was the first. Pat is the first in her family.

“I am passing the torch to our three daughters, Jennifer, a water treatment specialist, Kimya, a social worker, and Kamaria, a fourth-grade teacher,” she said.

According to Lem, working on this degree together enabled him to stay on task. “Rarely did we agree on controversial issues surrounding education.?When the time came to write our dissertation, like boxers, we had to retreat to different corners. We worked in separate rooms and used separate laptops.”

“Lem’s books and notes spilled out of his work space onto the couch.?For two months there was no room for me to sit on the couch. When Lem asked me what I wanted for a graduation gift, I gave him a ’honey do list.’ Now it’s time to catch up on all of the projects around the house that have gone undone.”