Alex McCord is part of the class of 2020!
The Real Housewives of New York City alumna revealed on social media on Tuesday that she has received her master in professional psychology from the University of New England in Armidale, Australia.
"Call me master (not mistress)," McCord wrote, captioning photos of her diploma, issued on May 2, and a certificate that stated she was named the Vice-Chancellor's Scholar "in recognition of outstanding endeavor and excellence in academic performance."
Her photo also revealed that her legal first name is, surprisingly, "Sara."
McCord, 46, was one of the original stars of RHONY when the Bravo series premiered on March 4, 2008. Along with her husband, Simon Van Kempen, 56, and their two teenage sons (Francois, 16, and Johan, 14), she moved from Brooklyn to New South Wales Australia in 2014. The move to Van Kempen's native country was inspired by his desire to pursue a law degree at the time.
While McCord has a lot to celebrate about now, the coronavirus pandemic made it so that she couldn't accept her degree in person. Van Kempen tweeted: "The boys and I wanted to celebrate this amazing achievement of Alex’s by watching her walk across the stage to be conferred her Masters degree but like so many others have experienced 2020 graduations are not what any of us expected."
"What I do know is that nothing will stop her from accepting her PhD in person," he added, hinting that McCord's studies are far from over. "We are so proud!"
"I could not have achieved this without your incredible support!!!" she wrote, on Instagram, adding on Twitter, "Could not have done it without you in my corner."
Prior to her move overseas, McCord spent four seasons on RHONY. Moving abroad wasn't an easy decision, but it was something McCord said she felt was necessary.
"After 18 years in New York for Alex, and 28 years outside Australia for Simon, we've made the decision to move to Australia to be with family," she said in a statement in 2014 to BravoTV.com. "Over the last few years, all of Simon's family have reconvened from as far as Europe to all live within 20 minutes of each other on a collection of beautiful beaches on the north coast of New South Wales. We are the last of the family to move back, and it's time."
"Our children have never had the opportunity to live within walking distance of grandparents and cousins," she added. "It's the perfect time for the extended family to enjoy each other. We both love New York City, and Brooklyn specifically, almost as much as each other; however, we've been there, done that and written the book — literally — on raising Little Kids in the Big City. It's now time for a new adventure."
McCord added: "We both firmly believe that change is necessary in order to grow, and to do that, we need to get out of our comfort zone. When we realized that we'd quit traveling because New York was so comfortable and had everything we need, when we realized our [youngest] had only ever lived in one house — we realized it was time."
She told BravoTV.com in 2017 that raising her kids out of the spotlight — and in a new country — has been beneficial for them.
"I think it's really great for them to have another experience," McCord said. "Francois and Johan were born in New York, raised in New York. Although they had traveled, they had never lived outside of New York until we moved to Australia."
"I think it's really important to see the rest of the world," she continued. "Even if they wind up coming back to New York, which is completely fine and I would imagine Francois probably will, if you live your entire life in New York and that's all you know, you're in a bubble. So you need to see the rest of the world, because the rest of the world is not like New York."
That doesn't mean it's always been easy.
"I think Francois and Johan have their ups and downs," McCord explained. "They love New York. I think a part of them misses New York. But also, Australia is pretty amazing. There is a different sort of level of freedom there. They're not being watched all the time. They can go through adolescence and puberty without having a microscope on them. They get to do awesome things like snorkel and be in the ocean and be outside a lot more than they were here. I think it's an exciting thing."
And while she's on the other side of the world. Alex told the outlet that she still keeps up with her old castmates.
"I'm a really terrible correspondent, but a lot of them are pretty good, so they'll email me once or twice a year and we'll have a little back-and-forth," she said. "Jill [Zarin]'s a great pen pal. I've talked to Sonja [Morgan], Ramona [Singer], and even Andy [Cohen]."
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