In the past 38 years, TCU has awarded only seven triple degrees and one quadruple degree. It’s easy to see why. Obtaining one degree takes focus; two takes dedication; and graduating with three degrees takes focus, dedication, commitment and perseverance.
Genniffer Williams has all of that.
In 2007, Genniffer graduated with a bachelor of science in psychology, bachelor of arts in sociology and bachelor of fine arts in studio art. “I was told I was the first Black student to get three degrees from TCU,” she said.
When she arrived at TCU in 2003, Genniffer was a smart, driven, determined young woman who had taken many AP courses and graduated valedictorian of the honors program at her high school. Being top of her class brought her numerous college opportunities.
“My mom wanted me to be nearby, so that helped me choose TCU. Growing up, we moved around a lot because my father was in the Air Force, so it was important to be near my family,” she said.
A family member is the reason Genniffer developed an early interest in the psychology. Her cousin, Matthew K. Jackson, a local attorney, was majoring in psychology when Genniffer was in sixth grade. His discussions about his college classes piqued her curiosity about the field.
“I like the idea of helping people,” she said. Today, Genniffer is utilizing her degree as a counselor with Balance Beacon in Euless, Texas, a Black-owned counseling center for individuals, couples and families.
She also loves creating art with sculpture and ceramics, so she combined her loves into two majors at TCU. Out of her many minors, she considered pre-med and education, then ultimately settled on sociology and made it a full major, too.
“It was difficult,” she admits. Three degrees meant three separate colleges, deans and advisors. “I had to run around to different offices to get approvals, plus get approval for taking more credit hours than normal. Advisors helped with each individual degree, but overall, I was basically my own advisor. I had to keep up with what I was taking and make sure I fulfilled the different degree plans. I managed myself.”
As if that wasn’t enough, Genniffer was heavily involved in organizations on campus, including Honors and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a sisterhood focused on public service and social action.
When she graduated with three degrees, Genniffer knew she wanted to be a counselor. She obtained her master’s degree from Texas Wesleyan University, where she took extra classes to obtain licenses as both a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
For students considering more than one major, Genniffer offers this advice: “Know what you want to do. Be determined. Utilize advisors for all they can give you. They may not know about three degrees but they can help you stay on track and on schedule for the individual degrees.”