Graduation a family affair

  • Sat May 19th, 2007 9:00pm
  • News

By Eric Stevick / Herald Writer

Edward and Kristin Erlandson proudly watched their daughter, Elizabeth, graduate from college Saturday.

And Elizabeth got to witness her mom and dad do the same.

For the Erlandson family of Stanwood, graduation was a family affair.

Mom, Dad and 20-year-old daughter donned caps and gowns and crossed the stage to receive diplomas from Columbia College at the Everett Performing Arts Center.

“There are several things in your life you remember being extra special, the day you are married and the day your children are born,” said Edward, a lieutenant with the Arlington Police Department. “I would put this right up with those.”

“I think it’s pretty cool,” his daughter said. “Not many people can say they graduated with their parents.”

The trio earned bachelor’s degrees from the small private college, which offers classes in Everett and Marysville and is one of 30 campuses across the country under the Columbia College umbrella.

Edward received his degree in criminal justice; Kristin in interdisciplinary studies with a minor in management; and Elizabeth in interdisciplinary studies with minors in criminal justice, history and management.

Along the way, the Erlandsons also learned a lot about each other.

Kristin Erlandson, a respiratory therapist, had to be talked into going back to school by her husband.

Edward said he remembers his wife’s reluctance to take a public speaking class.

He, in fact, was nervous for her before she gave her first speech.

Until she opened her mouth in front of the room.

“I think my chin hit the table,” he said. “I never realized I had a natural born public speaker as a wife.”

Kristin said she found plenty of moral support and “a little friendly competition” from her family.

So did her daughter.

“In the end, I don’t remember who would do better, but that healthy competition makes you really do your best,” said Elizabeth, who graduated from Stanwood High School and Skagit Valley (Community) College in 2004 through the state’s Running Start program.

Elizabeth can think of only one drawback to having her mom as a classmate.

“She would tell me I needed to do my homework because she knew exactly what I had to do,” Elizabeth said.

Reporter Eric Stevick: 25-339-3446 or