Newly Graduated Doctor Daughter Surprised With Billboard


Jonathan Buscher

When Kristine Smalls met her family and friends for a gathering to celebrate the earning of her doctorate, the last thing she expected to see was a giant image of her face, plastered on a billboard nearby. Recently, Smalls, who is 30 years old, received a doctorate in psychology from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, an achievement that her mother, the 52-year-old Kendra Busbee, wanted to celebrate. With the graduation fulfilling a dream of her daughter since being a 5-year-old, Busbee decided to show her pride by renting a billboard for four months and $1,250 in the family’s hometown of Camden. She also hopes that, outside of her family, the gesture will serve to inspire those who drive by, especially aspiring young black girls. 

Located along Route 130 in New Jersey, right above The Pub, the billboard reads “Let me re-introduce myself… Dr. Kristine S. Smalls (Dr. Smiles)” and, “Look what good came out of Camden!” The first line is a reference to Jay-Z and the last is a rebuttal to an insult Busbee had heard about nothing good coming from her city. Apparently, this type of thing isn’t new either, with Smalls reporting that “She typically goes above and beyond for me and my brother whenever we, like, have any type of accomplishment,” and “she kind of outdoes herself each time,” when discussing her mother.