KENNESAW — A father and son who share a passion for numbers and science joined together on their final academic projects in order to graduate on the same day from Kennesaw State University.
Greg Doss, 53, and his son, Gage Doss, 24, of Cartersville, will each receive diplomas during the evening commencement ceremony Tuesday.
On May 13 and 14, almost 2,200 graduates will walk across the stage at the KSU Convocation Center.
“To be honest, I thought it was a novelty for us to walk together,” Greg Doss said. “Not only do I get to watch (my son) walk across the stage, I get to participate with him.”
Robert S. Godlewski, a spokesperson with the University Relations department at KSU, said although the college cannot confirm this is the first father-son dual graduation from the school on the same day, it is a very rare and unique happening.
“We have not been able to pin down any such occurrence in the last 50 years,” Godlewski said.
Greg Doss, who has been an engineering, drawing and design teacher at Sprayberry High School in Marietta for seven years, said he treats his students like adult engineers, allowing them to explore their own ideas and concepts.
“They never cease to amaze me,” Greg Doss said.
Greg Doss calls the students “amazing” and very “inspirational,” but is providing his own inspiration as an example of a man who has never stopped pursuing higher education.
When he graduates, Greg Doss will become the first doctoral student in the Bagwell College of Education to receive a degree in the educational leadership concentration.
The doctorate will make Greg Doss a triple alumnus, with an undergrad degree in secondary mathematics education and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from KSU.
Although there have been a few breaks in obtaining the degrees, Greg Doss said, “I am the epitome of a lifelong learner.”
After high school, Greg Doss earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Georgia State University with hopes of pursuing a career in the animation field.
After working for AT&T, he attended Southern Polytechnic State University and received an associate degree in engineering.
While taking the engineering courses, Greg Doss found himself doing a lot of peer tutoring.
“It was always in the back of my mind, when I get done with engineering, I would like to go into teaching,” he said.
An example to family, students
Greg Doss was the first person in his family to obtain a master’s and doctorate degrees. After receiving a Bachelor of Science in mathematics education from Berry College in Mt. Berry, Gage Doss followed his father to KSU for graduate studies.
“When I finished my bachelor’s, I wasn’t really satisfied with it,” Gage Doss said about wanting another degree with a specific focus.
Tuesday, Gage Doss will be awarded a Master of Science with a concentration in applied statistics, which will set him up to pursue a career as an actuary, corporate analyst or consultant.
Gage Doss said he has always found working with numbers appealing because the field is logic based and structured. “I had an affinity towards math since I was very little,” he said. “It makes more sense to me than any other subject.”
Although it is easy to say “like father, like son,” Greg Doss said his son is “far more advanced than me.”
“He has already far surpassed my knowledge base in mathematics,” Greg Doss said.
This advanced knowledge was a great help to Greg Doss, who asked his son to “provide the heavy number crunching” for his dissertation. The team used data from local school districts to compare the number of teachers and academic leaders represented from the baby boomer, Generation X and millennial generations.
Greg Doss said he does not have any firm plans to go back to school again.
When asked by his wife, Kim, what he plans to do next, Greg Doss said he responded, “I don’t know, but I am looking for my next learning opportunity.”
Both father and son say it was Kim who has stood behind both of them the whole time. And lucky for her, Greg Doss said, she will only have to attend one graduation ceremony.