University Park, IL,
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Decades after high school, determination and resilience led to his degree

Graduate Profile: Philip Newman

Philip Newman

Resilience and determination played key roles in Philip Newman’s journey at Governors State University (GSU), where he enrolled decades after graduating high school. Now that he's earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Newman recalls how daunting it felt to consider attending college after so many years.

After finishing high school, Newman was encouraged by his parents to go straight into the workforce like they did. So he started working at a processing plant. He held a job within the same company up until 2018, when the company relocated to Mexico and severed his position.

“I was 58 and without a job, money, and career, because similar positions now required a bachelor’s degree, which I did not possess. I was encouraged by my wife to go to college. I hadn’t been in school in 40 years. I was afraid and had anxiety,” said Newman. 

It was difficult to start over after losing the only job he ever had, yet he found that he had an incredible support system in his wife and family, and a new support system waiting for him at GSU in his classmates and professors. 

“I was blessed with scholarships to help pay for my education. I learned that resilience and seeking help when needed are vital to success and will help you get over any obstacle to reaching your goals and aspirations,” said Newman.

The support Newman had helped him get through the challenges he faced during his journey at GSU, including an urgent quintuple heart bypass surgery that made it necessary to  postpone graduation by a semester. Yet, he did not let that deter him and instead came back stronger, ready to take on the next challenge.

As for what’s next after graduation, Newman looks forward to using his degree to advance his family’s business and earning his real estate appraisal license.