Prince Robertson

“I wanted the students to feel it was home away from home.”

May 10, 2013

For non-traditional master's student, SIU was 'the best choice'

If the streets seem a bit more crowded and restaurants and shops busier, those are good signs it is commencement weekend at SIU.

We are welcoming families and friends of the members of the Class of 2013, who will earn their degrees during three ceremonies at the SIU Arena on Saturday. Complete details are available at

SIU is one destination for all journeys, attracting students from all 50 states, more than 100 countries, and from all walks of life. Some, such as Prince Robertson, are what we call “non-traditional” students. In Prince’s case, that meant that at the age of 30, he came here from Saginaw, Mich., with his wife Mallory and their two young sons, Jeremiah, now 7, and Isiah, 2. In addition to the challenges of moving away from their support base of family and friends, Jeremiah has autism.

But coming here, Prince says, “was one of the best decisions I’ve made.” On Saturday, he will earn his master’s degree in educational administration and higher education with a specialization in student affairs. And Jeremiah has taken tremendous strides thanks to the dedicated faculty and staff in our Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders. They helped Jeremiah with motor skills and social development, and not only is he in mainstream classes, he is at the top of his class academically.

When he was deciding on graduate schools, Prince had opportunities at the University of Oklahoma and the University of the Pacific. He was attracted to SIU by the quality of the master’s degree program in his field and by the autism center.

“SIU was the best choice,” he says. “Academically, this has been among the most challenging two years of my life. I was pushed by the professors in my program, they helped me to succeed.”

His passion is mentoring and helping students succeed. During his first year of graduate school, Prince was an assistant hall director in West Campus Housing (Thompson Point). He supervised 15 resident assistants, and together with the hall director, they were responsible for about 600 students.

“I wanted the students to feel it was home away from home,” Prince says. “I gave them my cell phone number and told them to call me if they needed to discuss something. I told them to call even if they just wanted to watch a basketball game or somebody to study with. I loved the mentoring and the development of the students.”

He has been heavily involved in the National Association of Student Personnel and Administrators, and since last semester, Prince has been an intern in our Non-Traditional Student Services Office

An internship last summer at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Fla., has led to a full-time position as a residence hall coordinator following his graduation from SIU.

Our students benefitted from Prince’s commitment and drive, as will those he mentors in the coming years. We appreciate the opportunity to help Prince and his 3,600 fellow SIU graduates prepare for success in their careers – and in life.

Congratulations to the Class of 2013!