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When Lofton Harrison attended another university's orientation in 1984, the speaker said only one-third of freshman students would actually graduate. Harrison promised himself he would be in that group of graduates and after 27 years, he is completing a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree from UHD.
Harrison left that university to take care of his growing family and began working with the Harris County Sheriff's Office in 1988. Today, he is a Lieutenant with the department, an instructor at the HCSO Academy and number one on the Captain's list for promotions.
But Harrison never forgot the promise he made to himself. When a colleague suggested Harrison return to college part time and take classes online, he jumped at the opportunity and enrolled at Houston Community College. He later transferred to UHD and dove into the criminal justice curriculum.
"I've learned so much," Harrison said. "It all carries over to the real criminal justice field and makes it so much easier to do my job."
While at UHD, Harrison found his studies to be relevant and his professors to be understanding, with world knowledge of their subjects. Several of his instructors worked with Harrison at the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
Harrison dedicated many hours and much hard work to earning his degree. He said he couldn't have succeeded without the support of his wife of 24 years, Ola, and his three children, Cortney, Pierre and Jasmine. Cortney and Pierre are following in Harrison's footsteps and are employed at the HCSO, while Jasmine is a junior at Texas A&M University.
Harrison said he hopes his story inspires other to realize that it is possible to get an education while meeting work and family commitments and handling other responsibilities.
"I've broadened my horizons and really achieved something that enhances my knowledge of the world and ensure my continued professional success," he said. "I'm going to continue taking classes because I want to keep learning and growing. Opportunities never stop and I want to be prepared."
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Last updated or reviewed on 2/24/12