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The Last Word

Realized Dreams

Lancaster DCP gradsIstruggled for a long time under the assumption that I was not smart enough to attend, let alone complete, college. My high school guidance counselor told me I was “not cut out for college” and that I would “more than likely flunk out within the first year.” Consequently, I joined the U.S. Air Force because, according to that same counselor, “the military was really the only option aside from a trade school.”

After the Air Force breached and voided their contract with me, I found myself back at home and left with what I thought was the only other option — trade school.

Still believing that I would not succeed at a four-year college, I applied to community college and their newly formed culinary apprenticeship program. Three years later I graduated from the program and was certified as a journeyman cook by the State of Pennsylvania. But after 11 years in the food service industry, doing everything from dishwasher to assistant food & beverage director, I decided I wanted a career that would leave me with more time for my family and friends.

Trying my hand at retail sales, I soon found I was not only good at sales but that I also possessed the organization and management skills necessary to quickly advance in my new career. However, I also soon discovered that I could go no farther because I did not possess the one thing that employers required for corporate positions — a college degree. So I decided to take a stab at it.

I started with a few English courses at Harrisburg Area Community College, after which I enrolled in Lebanon Valley’s (LVC) continuing education program held at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster. But it was a very slow process. With 14-week classes I was only able to take two or three courses a semester. Chipping away at it slowly but surely, I finally completed my associate’s degree at LVC in 2000. It was then that I found Albright’s Degree Completion Program.

I had been searching for another college because it had become more and more difficult to fulfill my course requirements at LVC. I tried several colleges in the local area but it was not until I spoke to Jenny Green at Albright that I was treated well. Albright was the first college to treat me the way I treat my customers — with respect and courtesy. As a consumer shopping for a college, that was important.

Thank you Albright for helping me to recognize that education is more than a degree. It’s about how you get and apply that education; how you touch the lives of others and how deeply you allow them to touch you.

- Adrian Hennessy '03

It was apparent that Albright’s program was designed for adults who were already balancing family obligations with work. I was placed with two groups of students, known as cohorts, which I would stay with throughout the program. We were all older, some more than others, with family and work obligations. The design of the cohort system served as a tremendous support and helped each of us through the program, first by helping to build our comfort level with each other and later by supporting each other through study groups, mutual projects, and at times, commiserating about the amount of work that needed to get accomplished in such a short period of time. This program took all of the course requirements of a traditional 14-week class and condensed it into five weeks. Support of one another was essential to the success of each of us, and the only way that I was able to succeed at Albright.

Having recently graduated, I am exceedingly thankful for the creation of the Degree Completion Program, a program that has allowed me and many others to complete a degree in order to advance a career, fulfill a dream, or simply realize that we are more than what others tell us we are.

Thank you Albright for helping me to recognize that education is more than a degree. It’s about how you get and apply that education; how you touch the lives of others and how deeply you allow them to touch you.

Through the cohort system, Albright provided the perfect environment allowing me to help and support others when it was needed, as well as ask for help for myself. I feel a great sense of accomplishment having completed what I had set out to do so many years ago. However, I also feel a bit of sadness, as one does when saying goodbye to an old friend. I love this school and I shall miss it. But I am anxious to move forward and tackle the challenges that lie ahead.

I wonder what my high school guidance counselor would say to me now?

Adrian Scott Hennessy

Adrian Scott Hennessy
graduated summa cum laude from Albright’s Degree Completion Program in 2003 with a triple major — applied psychology, business administration and German. He is employed as manager of the Waterford Wedgwood outlet in Rockvale Square, Lancaster.

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