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New York, NY – May 30, 2007--Neither mother nor son took a direct route to a college degree.  For Dulce Ryan, 46, it was the culmination of years of struggle first in the Dominican Republic and then in New York. “I didn’t want to work in a factory,” she says. Instead, she began the slow, difficult climb toward a college degree.  She learned a smattering of English in a free language course for new immigrants.  She got her GED. For Jose, 24, his mother’s example became crucial. “She always said education was the most important thing,” he recalls.

Jose Ryan and his mother will both receive a BA degree at Baruch’s May 30th Commencement, Dulce in psychology, Jose in graphic communication.  Dulce, who works in the payroll department of Hostos Community College, began her academic journey in 1997 at DeVry Institute before transferring to Baruch.  Jose floundered at first, trying accounting and computer information systems before finding a major that satisfied him. Now he can see himself as an educator He is currently teaching adults at Hostos’s extension program as part of a project funded by the Building Services Union, local 32 BJ, which represents janitors and office cleaners. He relates well to the students, who are mainly Hispanic. (The family’s surname comes via a grandfather from Monserrat, a Caribbean island where Irish names are commonplace.)

Mother and son live together in the Farragut Houses in Brooklyn’s Highbridge section. When she first arrived in U.S. in 1994, Dulce found it hard to adjust to life in New York. “I cried for three months,” she says. Over the years the family has also lived on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in the Bronx.  Now that she has her bachelor’s degree, Dulce plans to go on for a master’s in psychology.  She would like to be a counselor.  She knows this is a goal that will take some time but says she’s in no hurry. Dulce believes in patience and in “doing everything with love.”

Dulce Ryan’s dream is “to see my kids doing what they want.”  Her daughter, Beatrix, is well on her way. A pre-med student at Brown University, she is also graduating this spring.  Jose, she thinks, may not yet have found his true calling. Her son, it turns out, is a passionate fisherman and has fished every waterway around New York.  “I’ve caught fish in Jamaica Bay, in Coney Island, the Hudson River, Sheepshead Bay, in Prospect Park and in Central Park,” he says with pride.  His mother thinks he may eventually find his way into marine biology.

Contact: Zane Berzins, News Director, Baruch College, (646)-660-6113.

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