GSU Provided Right Track for Busy Alumnus
Marc Magliari is a 2017 Governors State University alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies who says GSU had the best program for his busy lifestyle. A former award-winning journalist who once worked in print and broadcast media throughout Illinois, Magliari is now a Public Relations Manager for Amtrak, representing 23 states to the news media, along with private and public organizations.
Before starting his 17-year career at Amtrak, Magliari worked in public radio for more than 10 years. He spent time at the Champaign-Urbana and Springfield bureaus for United Press International. While in Springfield, he was the Statehouse Correspondent WBBM Radio Chicago. He was hired as Media Relations Manager for Amtrak in 1995, but took a brief hiatus and returned in 2003.
“After looking at Chicago State, Northeastern, and UIC, Governors State had a combination of online and night and weekend courses, and it was where you could get credit for life experiences and life work,” Magliari said.
Why did you choose GSU?
I was riding a CTA bus in my old neighborhood of Bridgeport and there was an ad inside the bus for a program called “completethedegree.org,” which offered a place for me to complete my abandoned bachelor’s degree. I started shopping among the state universities in town to see who had a program that would accept my credits and had a largely available online program. GSU had the best program available that was a combination of online and workshop classes that would take place one or two weekends. Best of all, there was a willingness, in fact, an openness to us who were returning students.
What did you get from GSU that you couldn’t have gotten anywhere else?
For many of us returning students, an online program is the best way to achieve our academic goals. The mix of online classes and one- to-three-day workshop classes that were enriching and conveniently located is what we are seeking. This and credit for experience-based learning through portfolio development is what led me from a 1979 unearned bachelor’s degree to success at GSU.
What’s next for you professionally?
I’m very much challenged by my job daily. Every day is interesting. I’m not thinking about retirement now, but when I do stop working full-time, I may go back to journalism on a part-time basis or keeping doing public relations part-time. I don’t have many hobbies. In fact, my golf game is limited to one club, an artificial surface, and usually a windmill or clown face to putt through.
How did your GSU degree help you advance your career?
For years, all I had was my associate degree. All three of my kids, my significant other, her four kids—as well as my father—all earned advanced degrees. My dad was in his 60s when he earned his doctorate. So, my bachelor's degree was a personal goal that Amtrak helped me achieve through our Tuition Assistance Program. I’m grateful my dad was still alive to see me enroll at GSU to earn my bachelor’s degree at nearly the same age he was when he got his doctorate. He was pleased I picked up the degree I had dropped nearly 35 years earlier.
What are you most proud of when you look back at your GSU experience?
Given my workload at Amtrak, I’m amazed I was able to complete the coursework and make reasonable progress and not short change either my job or my family. I think that goes to the online nature of so many of the classes. Where I could carve out a few hours on a weeknight and a few hours on a weekend and make good progress.
What advice would you share with current GSU students?
It might seem like a tall mountain to climb, you can do it if you have adequate personal and professional support. Keep your eye on the prize and the prize is to be walking across that stage getting your tassel and sheepskin.