August 2021

August 2021

RCB siblings, one deployed overseas, graduate continents apart

Brett Hopkins receives his diploma overseasStaff Sergeant Brett Hopkins was set to receive his bachelor’s degree in finance magna cum laude in May, but the U.S. military had other plans. As part of the 177th Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard, he was deployed for more than four months in the spring and summer to support U.S. Central Command operations in the Middle East.

But thanks to a creative plan, Brett was able to fulfill his obligation while joining the Rowan ceremony remotely. His sister Ashley, a management and human resources management major, walked during Commencement on the Glassboro campus, accepting both of their Rowan Unversity diploma covers as their family watched from the audience and Brett from the Middle East via his mother’s cell phone.

“Everyone stood up and started cheering,” Ashley said.

After the ceremony, 6ABC Action News interviewed them both, with Brett joining virtually. “He got to witness a little bit of everything,” Ashley said. Brett also participated in a virtual Commencement.

The siblings, first-generation college students from Sicklerville, were pleased with the outcome. “I knew itAshley Hopkins receives two diplomas would be a special moment for my mom to see both of us graduating, but also I know it made her proud and happy to see me participate for both of us,” Ashley said.

Currently a human resources intern, Ashley will finish her remaining credits this fall and explore her career options.

Meanwhile, Brett returned from the Middle East and will begin RCB’s MBA program in September. With his bachelor’s degree complete, he was accepted into officer training school and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force.

“My goal is to take this knowledge in finance as far as I can to help change the education system in the United States,” he said. “In high school, there aren’t enough financial literacy courses and graduates should know (some basics like) how to complete a federal W4 form and understand the impact of car loans, student loans, mortgages and credit cards.”