The Christian Brothers University (CBU) Graduate School is excited to announce the Buc-to-Buc Initiative, a new program that pioneers additional pathways for celebrating, inspiring, and supporting current CBU students who are approaching graduation as they embark on their next chapter. Through the Buc-to-Buc initiative, more senior undergraduate students will gain the opportunity to continue their education at CBU’s Graduate School and join a growing community of over 500 alumni who have earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from CBU.

CBU has taken several measures recently to expand educational access and enrich its student community. In early 2022, the CBU Graduate School joined other colleges and universities nationwide in waiving the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) from its admission process in order to reduce structural barriers in student recruitment and to ensure that all students have access to high-quality education programs. Leadership of the CBU Graduate School have continued to explore additional ways to eliminate barriers and ensure that graduate programs are more accessible. The university has already addressed one significant barrier, affordability, through a pre-existing program known as the Alumni Lifelong Learning Initiative, which provides CBU graduates the opportunity to receive a 25% discount on graduate school tuition and ensures that alumni can earn a graduate degree for under $20,000.

Kirbi Tucker, director of graduate recruiting at CBU, proposed the Buc-to-Buc Initiative to supplement the Alumni Lifelong Learning Initiative and to increase access and reduce the barriers to graduate school. The Buc-to-Buc Initiative ensures that CBU continues providing affordable and accessible education through waiving admission requirements for CBU undergraduates who have at least 90 credit hours and a GPA of 3.0 or above. The Graduate School and program directors have identified about 200 CBU seniors who currently meet the qualifications. Buc-to-Buc candidates will receive a conditional admission letter from the Graduate School in late March.

“It is evident that our educational and career landscape has changed since the global pandemic, and these changes have caused us to reflect and respond to the transforming landscape,” Tucker explained. “Therefore, Buc-to-Buc is beyond a recruitment strategy; it is an avenue for us to simplify the overwhelming application process by waiving admission requirements for high-performing CBU students, ensuring accessibility, and making it easier for our students to continue their educational journey at CBU.” 

Erica Mitchell, director of graduate admissions at CBU, is a two-time alumna who believes that the Buc-to-Buc Initiative “will allow alums to remain active members of the CBU community while advancing their education – which will ultimately ensure their success in an ever-changing, competitive job market.”

The CBU Graduate School will utilize these initiatives, among other campaigns and strategies, to ensure that its students understand the value of joining a robust alumni network of two-time graduates whose exceptional accomplishments attest to the benefits of furthering their education with CBU. 

Dr. Dan Harper, dean of the CBU Graduate School, is among the proponents of the new initiative. “I can see Buc-to-Buc students bringing their knowledge of CBU’s campus culture and values into our graduate programs,” he said. “They enrich the classroom experience and mentor students who have just joined CBU.”

The CBU Graduate School will host an Inaugural Buc-to-Buc Reception in Spain Auditorium on Tuesday, April 25 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Current seniors who qualify will be invited, and four two-time alumni will serve as panelists, sharing their stories about the CBU graduate school experience. Among these outstanding alumni are Rory T. Thomas, president of the Memphis Medical District Collaborative and an MBJ “Top 40 Under 40” honoree; Debora Molina, a distinguished science educator for Memphis-Shelby County Schools; and Lindsey Alexander, a senior accounting consultant and adjunct professor at both CBU and Rhodes College. These two-time alumni are excited to share their significant accomplishments, impact on the community, and incredible life after graduating. They also look forward to reconnecting with the CBU community and answering students’ questions. 

The CBU Graduate School team strongly desires to create and cultivate an expansive CBU Buc-to-Buc alumni community living out the university’s Lasallian values of faith, service, and community with a platform ensuring that its students who “enter to learn” also “leave to serve” as they all work together to build better communities and a better society.