My daughter, Laura Moore, just graduated from Colorado State at 31. I am posting this to encourage all the parents whose children are following a non-traditional path in life. Laura gave the student response at her graduation and she briefly mentioned her struggle with mental illness and addiction as a teenager. It was not a small battle, as many of my friends and colleagues know. Just finishing high school was a challenge, despite her intellectual abilities.

She was unsure of her path forward and spent 3 years volunteering on organic farms in the U.S. and abroad –- “Woofing” as they call it. It was hard manual labor, but rewarding. During that time, she developed a passion for soil science that lead her to go to college in her late 20’s. Her volunteer experience actually enhanced her resume, and she won numerous scholarships as a result. I appreciate Colorado State for having a fantastic “adult learner” program that makes older students and returning veterans feel at home on campus, and for incredibly supportive faculty — both of which kept her from feeling out of place among students who were both younger and less mature.

I want to encourage all the parents whose children are not following a traditional educational path. Laura went to college when she was ready, and brought to it the maturity and focus of an adult. She will be starting work on her PhD in 2023 at 32 -– which for her is just the right time to do it.  Below is her graduation speech, which represents a victory over many obstacles. However, the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.

(Here she is, giving the student response at Commencement.)