A master’s journey away from NIU

I would like to write about my experience receiving my master’s degree away from NIU’s DeKalb campus. In 1981, I received a brochure in the mail about a graduate class offered by NIU at a local high school in Palatine. It sounded interesting, and besides, I needed this information for a new position with my employer. It began poorly, but around the fifth week I started to enjoy this class and learned more about the College of Adult Continuing Education (today’s Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education).

By the end of the semester, Professor Tom Scott said I was well organized and had what it took to pursue further classes. So, I took my second NIU class at another high school in Villa Park. After two classes, I was hooked on pursuing my master’s degree from NIU. I applied, and was accepted for that fall. I remember taking the GRE exam the week John Lennon died. One thing was certain—I did not want to make the long commute
from my home in Berkeley to DeKalb.

As luck would have it, two classes were offered at Triton College in River Grove that summer. I remember having classes in the Cernan Space Center among moon rocks! During the fall semester, divine intervention took over, as my next class was at a former seminary in Glen Ellyn. Then, it was back up to Palatine the next
semester. One of my classes met at my place of employment for one evening, while another at a fellow student’s home.

My last class was held at my former high school, Proviso West, in Hillside. You might say it was a “coming home” for me. I enjoyed the likes of Dr. Niemi, Dr. Cunningham, Dr. Ilsley, and others. I remember one of my classes focused around futurism. The class was held in 1982, and one of our discussions centered on the role we thought personal computers would play in our lives in the year 2000. Few of us thought personal computers would amount to much, especially in schools. Besides, our electric typewriters worked just fine in grad school and in every office around the country back then. Boy, how we were wrong!

I want to thank NIU for taking its graduate program to the people and giving the opportunity to those who work during the day and are unable to travel to DeKalb to pursue higher education. Education does not always happen on campus. It can also happen off campus where your office is the trunk of your car and the road ahead is your think tank. Thank you, NIU!

—Jerry P. Hund, M.S.Ed. ’83