When he graduated from high school, Greg Bowden made a choice he would end up regretting for decades: he did not attend Penn State. But World Campus helped him to achieve his dream from youth, and he is now part of the Penn State family.
Growing up in Maryland, a short drive from Penn State University Park, Greg visited Penn State on occasion and fell in love with the university at a young age. He also developed a passion for architecture, but he was not accepted into Penn State’s architecture program. Instead, he was admitted to Penn State’s engineering program, so he decided to pursue architecture elsewhere.
Architecture did not pan out for Greg, who did not complete his degree. He eventually began working in the field of development and fundraising. Still, his dream of being part of Penn State remained with him.
A Time Machine to Right His One Great Wrong
In his own words, when he found out that Penn State offered online courses, “It was like I discovered a time machine that let me right my one great wrong.” The draw of World Campus was not a specific degree program it offered, but the fact that it offered a way for Greg to connect with Penn State.
He enrolled in the Organizational Leadership program because he thought it would help him professionally, and it worked out very well. He says the skills he learned in management complemented the knowledge he’d accumulated through his work as a fundraiser. After graduating in 2009, today he is the director of development for Johns Hopkins University’s Berman Institute of Bioethics.
“I credit World Campus with providing a Penn State educational opportunity beyond the walls of the campus. For a university with very good recognition, it’s an opportunity to draw in students who couldn’t otherwise attend Penn State,” he says.
Advice: Make a Graduate Plan, and Stick to It
Greg says that getting a graduation plan together — and sticking to it — helped him see the “goal posts” of graduation, as he puts it.
“It was a long time before I finally settled down and had a plan to get to graduation. If I could do one thing differently, I would have sat down and mapped out the whole thing,” he says.
Together with his wife and family, as well as with his academic adviser Richard Brungard, he put together goals and milestones for himself for his time at Penn State.
“I decided, ‘I’m going to blast through this. What can I do to make sure I’m done in two years?’ Then it was three courses a semester — I spent every waking moment that I wasn’t at work doing school work.”
Greg also recommends going to commencement, if you can. “I met 2 people who lived near me, both of whom graduated from OLEAD,” he says.
Penn State Pride at the Bowden Bowl Bash
Greg lives in Maryland today, so he is able to make it to campus occasionally, just to “walk around and soak it up,” he says, and he also attends women’s volleyball games with his wife and children. (His daughter, Emily, hopes to play for the Lady Lions.)
His Penn State pride is evident at home, too. He has Penn State paraphernalia everywhere, including a framed picture of Old Main. And, for the past several years, he and his family have been throwing a party — the Bowden Bowl Bash — for whichever college football bowl game Penn State is in. They create personalized t-shirts for attendees and order Creamery ice cream to celebrate the event!
Thanks for sharing, Greg!