First mother and daughter duo to graduate from UNT Dallas

Two women are believed to be the first ever mother and daughter due to graduate from the University of North Texas in Dallas.

Viola Caldwell, a 69-year-old retired nurse, earned her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and graduated last December.

Her daughter Tricia Patterson will be earning the same degree when she graduates on May 17.

They would have walked the stage together but Patterson was hit by a car in 2016 and nearly died. But she resumed her studies in just one semester.

“Initially we were supposed to come out together. I was excited about that,” Caldwell said.

“She was going to try and wait on me and I told her, ‘No mom.’ And actually, I was out a year. ‘Mom, don’t wait on me. You’ve done your thing. Go for it,’” Patterson said.

Patterson plans to form an institute to provide mental health counseling to residents in southern Dallas. Her mother is thinking about possibly getting a Ph.D.