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CHARLOTTE,N.C. -- Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation secretary and former Charlotte mayor, learned to never give up on his goals from his mother, Laura Rose Foxx.

At the 2013 University of Phoenix Charlotte campus commencement ceremony Saturday, he watched his mother get her doctor of management in organizational leadership degree, then emphasized his mother s message in an address to the 720 graduates.

Foxx was born when his mother was about 20 and still in college. Laura Foxx finished her undergraduate degree and went on to get a masters degree.

She worked a variety of jobs to ensure that her son could pursue his goals. She watched her son graduate from West Charlotte High School, Davidson College and New York University Law School.

While Foxx went on to have a career in law and as a political leader, his mother had unfinished business she wanted an advanced degree and decided to get her doctorate from the University of Phoenix.

Foxx said that his mother s story is like the story of many Phoenix graduates. Success doesn t always come right away, he said.

Foxx had other advice for the graduates: Don t stop learning or lose sight of common sense, and don t confuse successfully achieving with achieving success.

He told graduates that they must have common sense in order to use what they have learned in school. He said graduates should continue to learn from life and their careers.

He also told them during his commencement address at Bojangles Coliseum that they should not lose sight of important things while pursuing their dreams.

You ve achieved success, Foxx said. But sometimes people get so caught up in getting across the goal line that they forget a few things.

Family, faith and health are key, he said. There s plenty of time for the extra things in life.

Foxx s final note to graduates was to spread their knowledge on achieving success to the rest of the world.

Keep making this country great, he said.

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