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A family affair: Mother, daughter graduate from BSU on same day

Not often does a mother get the opportunity to graduate with her daughter and walk the walk together, but on Friday, Bemidji State University graduates Rima (left) and Chloe Keprios participated in the 2014 commencement together.

BEMIDJI -- As a mother, Rima Keprios celebrated her daughter's graduation from BSU. As a daughter, Chloe Keprios celebrated her mother's graduation from BSU.

Both took part in BSU's 95th commencement ceremonies Friday at the Sanford Center, making the traditional commencement walk side by side.

"I am proud of her," Chloe said. "She just keeps going, she hasn't stopped, nothing holds her down."

It was never supposed to happen this way and certainly wasn't planned. Rima over the years took classes when she could, as she could, between homelife and jobs. She started -- when Chloe was just four days old -- with one class at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, eventually transitioning to full-time, planning for a degree in landscape architecture.

"Then I took a semester off for 16 years, we moved to Bemidji, I changed degrees, and lo and behold, we're now graduating together," said Rima, who started taking classes at BSU in 2008. "I definitely took the scenic route."

Chloe took the more traditional path, graduating Bemidji High School in 2010, enrolling at the University of Minnesota Duluth for two years before coming back home and transferring to BSU.

Rima now has earned her bachelor's degree in geography with an emphasis on regional planning, land use analysis and parks and recreation and a minor in GIS.

Chloe earned her bachelor's in business administration with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and management.

Rima's courses were mainly in Hagg-Sauer Hall, and Chloe's were in Decker Hall, so they rarely crossed paths on campus.

"I don't think she's ever even been in Hagg-Sauer, except for the other night," Rima said.

"All my classes are always in Decker, the business (hall)," Chloe said. "I don't ever go to the main side of campus."

"Sometimes when we're on our way to the vehicles we'd see each other," Rima offered. "We'd always hug in the street, make a big scene."

Both have landed jobs and start Monday: Rima as a Level II watercraft inspector in Baudette through the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Chloe, a marketing internship with Paul Bunyan Communications.

It will be be a big change, yet one long hoped for by Rima, who throughout the years has worked as a waitress, a vendor representative at a home-improvement store and a personal-care attendant. She's worked for nurseries and floral shops, and mostly recently was a lead cashier at Harmony Foods.

"I got the job there (last fall) after doing an internships with the DNR in its Aquatic Invasive Species program," Rima said, adding that it was her goal to hold a permanent full-time DNR position..

Both agreed they are excited -- and ready -- to move into the next phase of their lives.

"This is how life just turned out," Rima said. "Aways back, I was like, 'Chloe I'm so sorry, we're going to graduate together and I don't want you to feel like I'm stealing your thunder.' She was just like, "Mom, goll, I don't care, just do it, just graduate."

"Just get done already," Chloe agreed, sharing a laugh with her mom.