DANBURY, Conn. — Western Connecticut State University will hold its 121st Commencement exercises at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 19, 2019, at the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport.
Among the approximately 1,250 degree recipients will be Carole and Chauncey Allers, a mother and son from Wilton. Cheering them on as they receive their bachelor’s degrees will be a sizable entourage that includes Carole’s mother and sister, her husband Andrew, daughter Emily and son Harrison. Also in the Allers’ cheering section will be several of Carole’s closest friends.
As Carole says, Commencement will be “a family affair” for the Allers. It has been that way since she and Chauncey enrolled at WCSU. Harrison is following in the family footsteps as a WCSU student-athlete. He is a sophomore who plays soccer and is studying Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences.
Chauncey, 23, was recruited by WCSU’s soccer program to help turn the team around. Up until that point, college hadn’t been high on his priority list.
“When WCSU Soccer Coach Joseph Mingachos contacted me, I realized the true potential I had in the classroom, too,” he said.
An elective class in criminology set Chauncey on a course to pursue of Bachelor of Science in Justice and Law Administration.
Along the way, he was captain of both the Men’s Soccer (2017-19) and Men’s Tennis (2018-19) teams and accumulated an impressive number of athletic awards. Those awards included 2016-18 Little East Conference All-Conference First Team (Men’s Soccer), 2017-18 LEC Offensive Player of the Year (Men’s Soccer) and 2018 LEC All-Conference Doubles First Team (Men’s Tennis). He also is the WCSU record holder for goals in a season (24), goals in a career (59), points in a season (57), points in a career (131) and tied the school record for most goals in a single game (4) for soccer.
Carole, who took a number of community college classes for several years, said the harsh realities of life ultimately brought her to pursue a bachelor’s degree at WCSU.
“After my husband had cancer, I realized that I needed to prepare for having my own career,” she said. “At the same time, Chauncey was enrolled at WCSU and I began talking to him about his experiences — and making sure that he would be OK going to the same school as his mom. I had met Psychology Department Chair Dr. Shane Murphy, and his background, along with my original plan to study sports psychology, was another big factor in choosing the school.”
Carole’s interest in sports psychology stems from her role with U.S. Soccer, where she “officiated games up to NCAA level and was actively involved in identifying, training, assessing and mentoring young referees — especially females. I thought that a degree in sports psychology would help me with the tools to better help young referees reach their potential. As I took more classes across the department, I was drawn to psychology itself, particularly as it relates to the local community base.”
It took Carole 2 1/2 years to complete her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Community Health, and she is currently finishing a semester at WCSU as a non-matriculated graduate student.
Juggling being a wife, mother and college student would leave many feeling overwhelmed, but that was not the case for Carole. She joined the WCSU Women’s Tennis team and found herself defeating opponents half her age on the court. She is graduating Cum Laude with 3.66 GPA, was initiated in 2018 into the Chi Alpha Sigma Connecticut Eta Chapter, was captain of the Women’s Tennis team (2017-19) and was named 2018 Colonial of the Year. She also was on the LEC Fall All-Academic Team, LEC All-Conference First Team (Doubles) and LEC All-Conference Second Team (Singles) from 2016-18.
When asked about attending WCSU with his mom, Chauncey said, “Sadly, we have never had any classes together. Every now and then, we would meet for a bite in the Westside campus cafeteria and chat. Whenever I would see her walking on campus or vice versa, we would make it publicly known she was my mother and people around us would laugh.”
Why the laughter?
“It has happened several times where people think I’m my sons’ (Chauncey and Harrison’s) sister instead of their mother,” 47-year-old Carole explained.
Next fall, Carole and Chauncey finally will have the opportunity to take classes together, since both have been accepted into WCSU’s new Master of Science in Addiction Studies program. They plan to continue their athletic endeavors as well — Chauncey on the WCSU Football and Men’s Tennis teams, and Carole on the Women’s Tennis team.
“With the program being brand new, we will definitely be in classes together — most likely all of them,” Carole said.
And while mother and son are extremely competitive in their respective sports, Carole said she doesn’t anticipate that in the classroom. “As for being competitive, I want both of us to do our very best and succeed in the program. That will push us to try and raise the bar for each other as well.
“The thing we have talked about the most is helping each other during our sports seasons,” she added. “Time management becomes the number one strategy during our school and team demands. Having someone helping you be more efficient during those times is important.”
As has been the case throughout the course of their time at WCSU, Carole said, “I have tried to make all of my sons’ games and they try to make mine as well. As a family, we have always cheered each other on.”
At WCSU’s May 19 Commencement ceremony, the “family affair” will continue.
Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.