MAY 20, 2009

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Father, Daughter Fulfill Promise to Earn College Degrees at ECU

Photo of D'Lisa and Frank Fox at ECU graduation.
D’Lisa Fox (left) and her father, Frank Fox, try on their caps and gowns before ECU’s commencement ceremony
for spring and summer graduates. Their graduation fulfills a promise he made to her – if she would go to college and complete her degree, he would go back to college himself. Both also worked full time but managed to graduate together.

It started out as an earnest promise: if his daughter would stay single, stay in school and earn a college degree, her father would go back to college himself.

It was not a promise made lightly, however.

“I had trouble just helping her with her homework. I thought I was too old to go back to college, or not smart enough,” said Frank Fox of Ada. “I used whatever excuse I could think of.”

His daughter, D’Lisa Fox, took him up on that promise, though, and on May 9 they walked across the stage together at East Central University.

When she graduated from Roff High School, “I told her I would go back to college and I would try,” her father remembered.

What followed was a bumpy few years with each juggling full-time class schedules with full-time jobs at the Ada Police Department. He was a police officer and she is a dispatcher.

“I worked a lot of shift work,” he said. “I would work from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., go to school from 8 a.m. to 1 or 2 p.m., go home and sleep and go back to work. Or work from 3:30 to 11:30 at night and go to class in the morning. Whatever it took to get it done.”

Meanwhile, D’Lisa Fox joked with co-workers that she had to go help her dad with his homework.

“It felt awkward at first that my dad was going back to school,” she said. “Now, I’m so proud of him. He’s been my rock. If
it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. There were times when I wanted to quit, when it really got hard, and just work. But
he pushed me, and I’m so glad he did.”

Frank Fox majored in criminal justice and was just named ECU’s Criminal Justice Student of the Year with a grade point
average of 3.968.

D’Lisa Fox majored in mass communications (electronic/print media) and plans to move to Dallas in several months to work in film and video production.

Frank Fox left the police department last year to concentrate on finishing his degree and works for the Chickasaw Nation.
He is considering new options, maybe working for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

“I’m seriously considering going to law school,” he said. “I have over 20 years in law enforcement. I might either teach or
go to law school.

“I wouldn’t have considered that four years ago,” he added. “When I saw I was able to graduate and my grade point average was high enough, I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this.’”

He had “maybe one semester” of college when he started at ECU. “I honestly tried to think of every excuse I could think of to not go back to school. There is no excuse,” he said, “to justify not getting a college degree. Education in today’s world is the key. You can’t go anywhere without an education.”