This will be the first year that the University of Cincinnati will graduate a class from UC East, a new addition to the campus which formerly housed the now-defunct Ford Plant.
But for two nursing students, UC East is a familiar place. Two of the UC East nursing students Tammy Cook and Brenda Hewitt, were ex-ford employees, both of whom have an emotional connection with the former Ford Plant site. Imagine having a class in the room where you were interviewed, or the room where you turned your stuff in and lost your career; these are both realities of some current UC East students.
“Here I am today, where I turned in my bag, and because of this place I’m about to graduate from a four-year college with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing… It’s amazing,” said Tammy Cook, a former Ford CVT machinist, and soon to be UC Alumni.
Tammy and Brenda were given the choice of a $100,000 buyout, or a package that would pay for a four year college degree and give them a living stipend throughout those four years.
They both agreed that returning to school was the right decision, and the hard work and dedication they devoted toward education made it the most rewarding.
“I honestly can’t imagine another program better than ours. We have this new building and it’s given our program new life and energy,” Tammy said when asked about the Nursing program on east campus.
Tammy and Brenda both were very enthusiastic about the UC East campus staff: “Now it’s my senior year, and looking back, I remember I thought my professors expectations were so high. And now I know those same professors were out for my best intentions,” Brenda said.
The last time Tammy left the Ford Plant as a worker, she felt devastated, discarded, and dead. Now in the coming month, they will both graduate with a brighter future than ever before and in a sense be born again.