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 Sam and Sam, Jr. crossed the stage within moments of each other on May 12 at the graduate commencement ceremony on Loyola Marymount University’s Westchester campus.

 Now the Torres’ not only share the same name, but they’ve graduated from the same program, and with the same degree from LMU’s School of Education – a doctorate in educational leadership for social justice.

 Sam is a first-generation college graduate who followed a nontraditional path into Catholic education, having first earned a business degree and worked as a small business owner before returning to school to earn a master’s degree in education, curriculum and instruction. The married father of three (Samuel Jr., 32, is his oldest) taught all of his children at one time or another and was their principal at the time they graduated from a Catholic high school in Maryland. 

 Sam, Jr., a Lawndale resident, is a triple LMU alum; he holds a bachelor’s degree in natural science and master’s in secondary education, in addition to his doctorate degree. He has worked in education for 11 years as a classroom teacher, administrator, and coach.

 When they once landed in the same class at LMU, they didn’t reveal they were father and son right away (at least not until someone made the connection). Sam said he remembered thinking what a privilege it was for him to share the classroom with his son as equals – both students of learning.