Mother and son walk together at Loyola’s graduation


Aimee Towne and her son, Cameron Kelley, at their graduation ceremony, Saturday, May 15, 2021. Both received their Bachelor’s degrees this spring. Courtesy of the Loyola University New Orleans Facebook page. Photo credit: Kyle Encar

Madeline Taliancich

When Aimee Towne’s son, Cameron Kelley, began his freshman year at Loyola, she didn’t anticipate that she’d be walking across the stage at graduation with him just four short years later. But when her son was a sophomore, he told Towne about how much he loved Loyola, which prompted her to think about her own education.

Having already received her associate’s degree in 2000, Towne said she began to wonder if she could catch up to Kelley to complete her bachelor’s degree. She applied to the online program in September 2018, but didn’t tell him at first.

“I was accepted on October 8, 2018 which was the two year anniversary of my dad’s passing,” she said. “I took that as a sign.”

When she told her son she’d been accepted to Loyola, she said she thought he was probably more excited than she was “because I don’t often do things for myself.”

Kelley, a business administration major, said he was a little embarrassed at first to learn that his mother would also be attending Loyola, but that the more he thought about it, the more it grew on him.

“It felt really great. I am beyond proud of her and our accomplishments together, as college is no joke and Loyola is even more intense,” he said.

When she submitted her final assignment on Canvas, Towne, a single mother of four who also works full-time, said she got up and danced.

“I have never, in my life, been more proud of myself than I am today,” Towne said.

She credited much of her success to the support of her professors,

“I am overjoyed and almost overwhelmed with the support that I’ve received from some of my professors,” she said, most notably Professor Laura Jayne.

Jayne is the director of student services for the College of Music and Media and has been working with students in the online program since its launch, one of whom was Towne. Throughout Towne’s time as an online student, Jayne said she had her in three of her classes and that she works very hard.

“She’s going to make us so proud at Loyola to be a graduate,” Jayne said.

Every time she would fall a bit behind in any of her classes, Jayne said Towne would always push through it to accomplish her dream of graduating with her son.

On Saturday, May 15, Towne was able to accomplish that dream. That day, the mother and son duo walked across the stage at the UNO Lakefront Arena, received their diplomas, and graduated from Loyola University New Orleans together.

Kelley said it was a blessing to graduate from Loyola, especially with his mom at his side.

“It’s been an up and down journey, but we pushed each other to get through it as best we could,” he said.