It was a long road before Benjamin Carrier not only achieved his BA degree, but also attained a career he long aspired for. At the age of 42, Carrier graduated in 2014 from the Upper Iowa University Blackhawk-Janesville, Wis., Center with a degree in health services administration. He now serves as a branch manager of Home Health United, a durable medical equipment supplier in Janesville.
“I started college in 1991, so it only took me 23 years to complete my degree,” laughed Carrier, before adding, “I am so thankful for my recent experience with UIU. It has truly changed my life. It showed me that if you truly want your degree, which I did, and if you put in the necessary work, it can happen.”
The Oostburg, Wis., native explained that he initially attended a Wisconsin college for one year before “life got in the way for a while.” More recently, he began exploring his educational options after being informed in 2011 that he would be laid off from the 13-year career he had built and loved as a distribution manager for a durable medical equipment company.
Carrier noted he first spoke with UIU Blackhawk Center director Mavis Wait when he considered returning to college in 2005. Although he eventually decided to delay those plans, he did not forget the insight provided by the UIU administrator.
“Mavis was very nice and understanding of my situation at that time,” said Carrier. “When the time came to go back to college, UIU was the obvious choice. I really did not even consider another school.
“The online option offered by the University was also the best fit for me,” he admitted. “My daytime hours were filled with other obligations and working a second shift at the time made it impossible for me to attend evening classes.”
In addition to the support provided by UIU’s highly-skilled and personable professors, faculty, and advisory staff members, Carrier enjoyed sharing experiences with other students.
“I quickly learned that many of the other students were in the same situation as I was, a non-traditional student with a full-time job and a family to support,” he added. “There were challenges, but my family was very supportive. Getting my degree started out being my goal, but before I finished, it became ‘our’ goal.”
Benjamin and his wife, Elena, live in Janesville, Wis. The couple have two children Alexandra, 14, and Gabrielle, 25.