by Elizabeth Griffith | July 1, 2015
Richard F. Walke, Jr. began taking classes at Marian College over twenty-five years ago. However, Walke’s plan to earn his degree and continue on with his professional aspirations fell to the wayside before he could finish which left him working odd shifts in manufacturing for the next twenty years.
Then, one day, he decided it was time to change his life; he’d had enough. He was ready to go back to school. He walked out of the factory and, that same day, contacted Marian’s Adult Programs (MAP), at Marian University Indianapolis, to pick up where he left off. Walke knew he needed an adult program that would fit into his schedule and had really enjoyed the culture.
“I enjoyed my time at the school and felt that it was a place that could help me reach my goals. So when I decided to go back to school and finish my education there was not a doubt where I wanted to go. The MAP program was there for me and for that, I am so grateful.”
In May of 2015, Walke was awarded his bachelor of business administration degree from Marian University. The completion of his bachelor’s degree has proven to be inspirational to the students he teaches and coaches, as well as to his own children. They’ve witnessed him working two jobs, balancing family obligations and still managing to complete research papers, projects, and prepare for finals. They know that if he can do it, so can they. He’s able to use his own experiences to motivate them to continue education beyond high school.
When the stress of homework and tests began to feel overwhelming, he would calm himself by keeping the bigger picture in mind. He needed to show his children that education was important. When asked if he had advice for current MAP students, he replied “Even when it seems the process is going to take too long or that you can’t finish, it is possible, and it’s worth it. That feeling of accomplishment that you get in the end is more than worth it. Keep working toward your goal; you can do it.”
While attending MAP, Walke learned to make himself, not only more marketable, but more valuable to his current employer by developing his time management and communication skills. When asked if he looks at the world the same way he did before earning his degree, he replied, “Not at all. I feel that not only did the MAP program instill the pride in myself that I wanted, but it opened me up to other ideas of how to handle situations and how to learn. I have met some wonderful people through this journey. Not only the instructors and other students but the wonderful people who work in the MAP program and give everything to make sure that each student succeeds. I feel that way about all the people at Marian. They are there to make sure everyone is a success story. For the first time in my life, I feel like a success story, and the story is not over yet.”
He’s currently pursuing his masters of arts in teaching degree, also with Marian University. His goal is to become a special education teacher and educate students on the importance of challenging themselves to be their best.
“Even though it took over twenty years for me to complete my first degree, it was worth all the work. Marian University is such a great institution for higher education. My son is attending [Marian University] starting in August of 2015. So not only am I a proud Marian Alum, I am a proud Marian dad, too.”
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