Early Days at the Regional Campuses
I started in UCF in 1973. I had to commute from Daytona Beach once a week. The Orlando campus was small, only a few buildings, but being there made a big difference in my career. Working on my degree wasn’t only there to get the degree but also to see other people I knew doing it too. I’ll just tell you about one thing that happened to me on campus one day and you’ll see what I mean.
Most of my classes were in the UCF Daytona Beach building and it was easier to network and see coworkers because some of them were right there at the local campus. I worked for the City of Holly Hill at the time and was the Employee Committee Chairman. I was at it “head to head” with the City Manager over the misuse of the Civil Service Board. One day, I bumped into him and his assistant in the Daytona Campus. It was cool to see that people who were ahead of me in their careers were also at the campus and we were all working toward the goal of a bachelor’s degree. I was a parent and a full-time worker but the local campus let me get all of my work done without taking too much time away from my family. I could do both and keep going toward my goal.
They asked me what courses I was taking. I told them the course was labor/management relations. The both looked at each other. They discovered why a City maintenance worker was, actually, ahead of them in their course work. Through my education, they learned that I was more—and would move beyond the position of a maintenance man.
The incident made me feel good about being in UCF.
I ended up getting a bachelor’s degree and got a job as a cop for the city of Holly Hill and that’s where my career got started. I learned that only a couple other people in the department had degrees—later, I moved on to the Daytona Beach Police Department and found out I was still one of the few to have a bachelor’s back then.