It was the Summer of 1984; posters of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom hung on theater walls; Wham! was waking people up; kids begged their parents for the first pair of Air Jordan’s; a company called Apple released its first Macintosh personal computer; and Greg Pappas, current BGS student, came to Western Illinois University with a friend to attend Computer Science Camp. “I was a young 16 year old High School Kid. At that time.” back “when the dinosaurs roamed the Earth,” Pappas jokes. “We stayed at WIU for one week on campus in the dorms. It was a lot of fun. I really liked WIU and thought it was a cool place. I remember going to see Ghost Busters at the movie theater.”
His impression and memory of Western prompted Pappas to check in with the university when he was “looking for a school where I could turn my Associates Degree in Business Administration into a Bachelor’s Degree.” Pappas recalls, “After applying and being accepted to some of the local private schools in the Chicagoland area for Business/Management/Organizational Leadership in early 2010. I decided to check out WIU in the Summer of 2010, and see if they offered classes locally or on-line.” Pappas did find what he was looking for in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies, “I contacted the BGS program in August of 2010 and spoke to Kathy who put me in contact with advisor Ronald Pettigrew…[he] and I spoke in detail about my past studies and future academic goals. Ron is [a] class act and a true professional. I heard about the BGS Program from Ronald & checked out the WIU website. From that point I realized the BGS was the way to go for an adult student in his 40’s.”
I asked Mr. Pappas if his experiences with Western and BGS have met his expectations, “My first impression in 2010 was correct. WIU is big enough to be relevant and small enough to provide outstanding service to their students. I was very impressed and decided to pursue enrollment at WIU for classes beginning in January of 2011.” Pappas says of his own educational path, “….I should have attended WIU after receiving my Associates Degree.I decided to attend a local community college after H.S. since I felt at age 17; I still needed to grow up…Life then happened and I did not go back to finish my Bachelor’s Degree until now.”
Greg Pappas is now in his final semester here at Western and will earn his Bachelor of Arts in General Studies in May. He’s now, of course, able to reflect on his experiences here and offer his opinion about both the good and not quite stellar of his Alma Mater. “The class selections for the BGS [Program] are very good” Pappas begins, “[but] I would like to see WIU expand a bit further and offer undergraduate programs such as Business, Finance, Management, Organizational Leadership, Criminal Justice/Homeland Security and maybe a few other subjects for a Bachelors Degree on-line in other areas.”
“The best part of the Program & The University is that the service from WIU has been absolutely fantastic. Brenda, Ronald, Dr. Carter, and almost all of my Professors go out of their way to help on-line/distance learning students. All the advisors have been great and the entire BGS Team has been simply awesome! J I was allowed to do a 3 credit hour internship in the fall of 2012 and was very grateful for that, especially on last moment notice. The on-line discussions with my classmates have been excellent as well.” While it would be great to be able to take all the credit for his success and enjoyment of the Program, we would like to point out that Gregory Pappas works hard towards his goals and has made the most of his experiences here; he recently completed a Univerisity 490 internship with a finance company, a field that he hopes to become a part of following graduation: “My goal is to work in Anti-Money Laundering, Counter Terrorism Financing or Financial Crimes Prevention. I would enjoy working for the FBI, US Marshals, US Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, NSA or another Federal Agency…”
Hearing our students’ success stories is always a joy, and given his long history with Western Illinois University, Mr. Pappas’ story is an especially a happy one. It was a pleasure meeting him and being able to tell a bit of his BGS story. I asked Mr. Pappas if he had words of wisdom, some advice to fellow students just starting on this path. “Take it Page by Page, Chapter by Chapter & Lesson by Lesson. In January of 2011, when I started this journey toward obtaining my Bachelors Degree I needed 17 classes to graduate. Within 10 days of returning….to school…my Mother was hospitalized….I said here we go again, the curse continues…. how am I going to do this today as a Husband, Father, Uncle, God Father & working Full time and very long hours? But there was a side to me that said, no way not this time, you are going to keep going and finish no matter what!! [I finished that first semester] with a 3.417/4.00 GPA…In April of 2012 I became a member of the National Honor Society – Alpha Sigma Lambda Chapter at WIU which recognizes students who balance work, family & school and achieve excellence in academics…Today I need just 5 credit hours (2 classes to finish).”
Thank you, for your inspiring story, Greg!
Need more of Greg’s words of wisdom? More Pappas Here!