Two SC college graduates share more than commencement. They’re father and son

A father and son graduated from the 2019 class of South Carolina State together.
A father and son graduated from the 2019 class of South Carolina State together. Courtesy SC State website.

Antonio and Brandon Gathers have a memory that afather and son don’t typically share — the day they both graduated from the same college.

The two walked across the stage at South Carolina State on Friday, WIS and others reported. Antonio, 49, received a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling and Brandon, 23, graduated with a bachelor’s in business management. Antonio entered S.C. State two years after his son and took online classes while his son took day classes.

Antonio first graduated college in 2010 with a bachelor’s in criminal justice from nearby Claflin University, WCSC reported.

The two are separated by 26 years, but a couple fateful steps brought them together for their commencement. Brandon transferred from another college and changed his major. He would have graduated earlier if it wasn’t for the move. His father heard about a special degree program at SC State from someone while he was at a store.

“The way it happened was miraculous,” Brandon told WCSC.

The father and son said they were an inspiration to each other.

“What inspires me about Brandon is his tenacity, his perseverance,” Antonio told WLTX. “He doesn’t let obstacles stop him and I’ve seen a lot in him that you don’t see a lot in our community with young men. He’s driven by his own goals and his own desires and he doesn’t let anything sway him.”

South Carolina State University held a commemorative ceremony for the 50th anniversary of the Orangeburg Massacre at Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center on February 8, 2018, in Orangeburg, SC.

On February 8, 1968, police opened fire on a group of civil rights protesters outside of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg. Three people died and many more were injured, making the event one of the deadliest in the SC Civil Rights Move

David Travis Bland won the South Carolina Press Association’s 2017 Judson Chapman Award for community journalism. As The State’s crime, police and public safety reporter, he strives to inform communities about crimes that affect them and give deeper insight into victims, the accused and law enforcement. He studied history with a focus on the American South at the University of South Carolina.