University Park, IL,
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Lessons Taken from GSU Help Alum Guide University Park

John Pate is a 2009 Governors State University alumnus who earned his bachelor’s degree from GSU and is now working toward his M.B.A. at the university. A long-time law enforcement professional who is now on the forefront of local government, Pate is University Park's Village Manager (Chief Administrative Officer) and Director of Public Safety.  He credits GSU with providing lessons that go beyond the classroom. 

"GSU prepared me to move my academic career forward and it prepared me to be the leader and manager that I am today,'' he said.

Why did you choose GSU?

My first two years of undergrad I did at Chicago State, and I was attracted by Governors State’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program. I felt the school had the rigor, along with the diversity and maturity that I needed in order to take me to the next level.

What did you get from GSU that you couldn’t have gotten anywhere else?

The diversity in instructors, their experience, and the diversity of the student body— international students, and older people who were trying to complete their degree. At the time the university was an upper division university. It was a very focused environment with mature students.

What’s next?

I will complete my M.B.A. in Management in 2020, and I see myself going to another city or municipality in a larger venue with a larger population dealing with more challenging and complex issues. Ultimately, I'd like to be a county manager or the chief of police in a large metropolitan area. I've been in University Park for four years, and am proud to be the youngest individual to have held this office. Additionally, I am the highest ranking non-elected official in the village.  

How did your GSU degree help you advance your career?

GSU provided me the foundation that I need to work on my graduate degree. I went to Lewis University and got my master's in Criminal Social Justice, and now I'm working on my M.B.A. My education has provided me with the tools and resources I need to be effective in my position here at University Park. 

What are you most proud of when you look back at your GSU experience?

I’m proud to be a GSU student, proud to be a Jaguar because of the instructors. They have empathy and heart and work hard to ensure their students are successful. That’s the most significant thing I remember, then and now. The instructors go above and beyond to make sure you know and understand the course material and they create an environment of comfort and support just as if you are a second family.

What advice would you share with current GSU students?

I would tell current students to stay focused, stay entrenched in your academics, utilize the resources that you have through your instructors, the library, the Center for Junior Year, and the various other academic resources the university has. Students should remember to keep their eye on the prize and the finish line because at the end of the day, they will get to it. They just need to stay determined, focused and steadfast to get that degree they’re working so hard to achieve.