After Four Years, Returning Student Completes Degree

After Four Years, Returning Student Completes Degree

December 18, 2020 |

It occurs often in life that we need some encouragement and support to help us.

That was the case for Mercedes Mangrum. East Central College sent her a text, a postcard, a letter, an e-mail, showing her the value of finishing her college degree. And she made up her mind that this 2020 fall semester would be the time to do it.

“My decision to complete this semester was solely to give myself options for future endeavors.”

Mercedes graduated from St. Clair High School in 2012, enrolled at ECC, and took classes off and on until 2016 when she paused for personal reasons.

The 26-year-old spent the last four years working and is currently an administrative assistant at a counseling facility in Creve Coeur. She needed only four classes (12 college credits) to complete the requirements for an Associate of Arts degree. She’ll have the degree at the end of the year, knowing her effort was worth it.

“As an older student, I did feel more focused and ready to complete my degree. ECC classes were affordable for me which made achieving my degree possible.”

She’ll be an ECC graduate, but she’s not stopping her education. She is considering Harris-Stowe State University for a more diverse experience and to learn more about her heritage. Her mother is Cambodian, and her father is African American.

Mercedes is one of the hundreds of students with some college credits hours from East Central College who haven’t completed their degree. Many of them could finish in one or two semesters.

Mercedes has a message to those other ECC students who are so close to completing their degree.

“Keep going, there is no failing. Keep persevering toward your goal and keep learning. I believe knowledge is power.”

East Central College has a dedicated program to help those ECC students complete their degree. Visit or call Melanie Dixon at 636.574.7664.