New alumna overcomes family tragedy to earn degree

Gigi GouraigeGuylaine “GiGi” Gouraige ’18 has persevered. Despite a family tragedy occurring earlier this year, she earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in management on Dec. 12 from the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University.

A native of Roswell, Georgia, and 2012 graduate of Cambridge High School in Milton, Gouraige began her journey in higher education at Berry College. She later transferred to Kennesaw State in the summer of 2014.

“It (KSU) was in the most ideal area for me and everybody on the campus had the same vibes that I did, everyone was more so on their own tract to graduation,” Gouraige said. “I’ve met so many people that were the same as me and had the same goals as me. I felt more at home at Kennesaw State than I did anywhere else.”

As she passed through her classes and was nearing graduation from KSU, Gouraige suffered the unexpected loss of her mother, at age 57, following a surgery in May. It was three days after Gouraige’s 24th birthday and the summer semester at Kennesaw State had just started.

“My mother died out of nowhere so it wasn’t anything my family was expecting,” Gouraige said. “I wanted to give up and drop out after the summer semester had ended because I barely passed the summer semester by the skin of my teeth. I knew my mom would have killed me if I dropped out, so instead of using her as an excuse to quit, I used it as a reason to keep going and finish.”

Gouraige enjoyed being a student and has many fond memories of KSU.

“What I remember most are the late nights in The Commons and studying with friends,” Gouraige said. “I’ll also miss going to the (Campus) Green on the weekends and seeing all the dogs and everybody just chilling and having a good time.”

While a Kennesaw State student, one instructor really influenced Gouraige: Dr. James Herbert, a professor in the Michael A. Leven School of Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality.

“A shout out to Professor Herbert. He literally was the best professor out of every professor I ever had at this school,” Gouraige said. “He forced me to communicate with classmates and forced me to come out of my shell. I was a shy person and he completely shattered that. Now, I’m outgoing and more professional. I will definitely remember him.”

As a new graduate, Gouraige is now looking toward the future and has several interests.

GiGi graduation hat“I’m looking to go into wealth management for a career choice while dabbling in the fashion industry for a hobby,” Gouraige said. “My mom was a fashion designer so I kind of feel like I’ve inherited a little bit of her love for fashion. I definitely want to kind of have her live through me when it comes to fashion because that’s something she truly loved.”

Presently, Gouraige is working as a manager at The UPS Store in Kennesaw for a couple of other KSU alumni, Kyle and Michelle Yeager, who are 1996 graduates.

Whatever Gouraige decides to do down the road, there is little doubt that she will be dedicated to it and succeed. Surely, her mother would be proud of her graduation, the young woman she has become and her bright future.

- KSU -