Husband-and-wife grads take stage and move forward, together

Staring into a sea of caps and gowns on Thursday night, Dave Hill focused on one face in the crowd. Kind and familiar, and adorned with the same shimmering black get-up, he saw his wife, Leah. The Hills graduated May 16 with the Inver Hills Community College Class of 2013, earning Associate in Arts degrees and feeling ready to take the next step in their educational journey.
During Dave’s student address at the college’s commencement ceremony, he asked his fellow graduates to do three things as they moved on from Inver Hills: give back, push past excuses and accept challenges. He and Leah have spent their lives doing just that.
Both in their 30s, the Hills moved to Oakdale in June 2011 to be closer to family after having spent more than a decade in south Texas working as ministers. With big aspirations – Dave dreams of teaching, writing a book and becoming a public speaker, while Leah hopes to work in event planning or human resources – the pair felt the need to get an education that would help them turn their dreams into reality.
“We wanted to reinvent ourselves,” Dave said. “We felt that we weren’t living up to our full potential, and knew that this was the right step for us. Even though we were in our 30s, we knew that it was time, and if we waited, we would just feel regret.”
“We have loved going to school together; it has been a time of growth, even in our marriage,” he added. “We also work together, so we are able to keep up with a hectic schedule and still see each other.”
This summer, with associate degrees to their names, Dave and Leah will continue their educational journey when they start taking classes at Metropolitan State University. Dave will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Professional Communication with a minor in Training and Adult Development, and Leah will pursue her bachelor’s in Business Administration with a minor in Human Resource Management.
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