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Son urges mom to get a degree; they graduate Friday

12/11/2013

 

Looking back on it, Douglas Landry believes he made the right decision. But there were times, he says laughing now, that inviting his mother to attend college with him was a really bad idea.

 

His mother, Wanda Landry laughs too, and agrees with him. But through it all, they will graduate together on Friday at 10:30 a.m. in the F.G. Clark Activity Center. They both will be getting a Master of Business Administration.

 

"Yeah, sometimes I thought it was a bad idea. You know sometimes you don't get along with your mother, especially in group projects," Douglas Landry said.

 

Both of them started Southern's MBA program in the fall of 2011. Douglas Landry already had a degree in Management Information Systems from Southeastern Louisiana University. Wanda Landry had earned a degree in accounting from Southern University. How they arrived at school together takes some explaining.

 

Douglas Landry, who is 24, said that a few years ago he noticed his mother was devoting all of her time to his ailing grandfather.  "All she would do was take care of him and go to church. I could see it was wearing her down," said Landry.

 

"If my grandfather had to go to the hospital, she would spend day and night at the hospital. I was concerned about her," he said.

 

So, he told her he was going back to school to get an MBA and asked if she wanted to go, too. "I thought it would give her something else to think about...to do," he said.

 

"I laughed," said Wanda Landry, 59, when her son proposed the idea. It had been more than 30 years since she was on a college campus. But, she agreed with her son that she needed an outlet to do something else. 

 

College was a struggle at first for several reasons, they said.

 

"It was a struggle for me," Wanda Landry said. "A lot of things had changed since I had been in school."

 

Adjusting to new technology was the most difficult issue for her. "A lot of my ways of doing things was old fashion," she said.

 

But, Douglas Landry said, there were other issues. "Let's put it like this, it was a journey," he said.

 

There were disagreements about homework, how to do things and "it could be a little difficult taking half of your classes with your mother," he said.

 

"Some of our classmates called it cute," he said. "They thought it was a blessing. Sometimes I thought something else."

Wanda Landry admits she was a bit of a pain at times. "It took a lot out of him to keep me going.  He stayed on me. I got on his nerves, too, sometimes with lesson."

 

She said her other son, Corey, "would look at us and shake his head."

 

Her father died while they were on the journey to get their MBA.  "It was a setback for me. I wanted to give up after that, but D.J. (Landry) kept pushing me."

 

As graduation day nears, Wanda Landry said, "It's overwhelming that I am actually doing this. I thank God for D.J."

 

Douglas Landry, a human resources representative at L'Auberge Casino and Hotel in Baton Rouge, said he and his mother may work together somewhere down the road. Wanda Landry works for a home healthcare company and will probably move into the human resources area after graduation.

 

Looking back on their time in school together, Douglas Landry said, "This has taught me a lot about myself. It has showed me what can be done if you want it bad enough."

 

Wanda Landry said, "This proves that if you have God in your life, you can do anything."