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Fulfilling a promise

Fulfilling a promise

Mary Kate Newman '23 June 07, 2022

Kenosha Robinson-Washington ’20 waited more than two years to celebrate her graduation from the University of Dayton as a first-generation student. On Saturday, May 14, she joined more than 400 other 2020 graduates in celebrating her achievement.

But that wasn’t the only thing to make her heart full that day.

As Robinson was returning from Dayton, driving back to her home in Chicago from celebrating over the weekend, her GPS rerouted her a way she had never been before, down a road she was unfamiliar with.

“It literally has never taken me down that road before; out of the 100 times that we’ve been to Dayton,” Robinson said. “But I realized where I was.”

The GPS had brought her to the cemetery where her grandmother was laid to rest several years ago. It was a sign, Robinson said.

As she shed a tear, Robinson recalled an early conversation she had with her grandmother when she was a little girl.

“I told her I had a passion to do hair, but she said, ‘No, you can do hair as a side job. Make sure you go to school, get your education, and hair will always be there,’” she said.

Sitting in the car near her grandmother’s gravesite, she said she felt peaceful knowing she had fulfilled her promise to her grandmother to earn her degree. At UD, she graduated with a sociology degree and was an active student leader with roles supporting the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center, with UD’s National Pan-Hellenic Council and as president of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.

Robinson was also one of the four students who first proposed the National Pan-Hellenic Council monument that was installed October 2021.

She is working on her master’s degree in social work at Governors State University in Chicago with the hopes of working with adolescents as a high school mentor.

“Grandma, I went to school, and I didn’t stop at the first degree.”

“Grandma, I went to school, and I didn’t stop at the first degree,” Robinson recalled saying to her grandmother while standing over her headstone. “I went back for another one. You said to get my education, and I’m doing it twice over.”

Robinson also started her own beauty brand, K Beauty by Kenosha, during the pandemic as a special side project she wants to pass on to her children.

She said that she knows her grandmother has been watching over her and is beaming with pride.

“I got your signs, and I know you’re proud of me,” she said to her grandmother. “I think about you all of the time, and I appreciate the lessons you taught me.”

From a mile away