Stephen W. Paterson
2018 Graduate, Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies
Stephen Paterson says that by getting his degree he is achieving one of the two major goals he set for himself back in 1959, when he graduated from El Paso High. He has already achieved his other big life goal: to enter the priesthood.
As a high school graduate, Stephen attended UTEP (then Texas Western College) as a freshman, but did not do well academically and left college before completing his degree. By that time, he had married his wife, Susie, and started work at a large food company, where he worked his way up and became one of only five zone managers in the country. After retiring young at age 54, Stephen opened a successful convenience store in downtown Dallas. He sold the store in 1999 and moved to Arizona with his wife to be closer to Southern California where his son and his family lived.
It was in Arizona that he was able to realize his dream of priesthood – after three years of study, Stephen was ordained as a deacon in the Episcopal Church and has since traveled and lived in Mexico, carrying out ministry work.
Stephen and Susie have been married for 57 years and are now in the process of moving to the hill country of Texas. Stephen graduated in December 2018.
Why he enrolled in the program:
I always felt that I had not completed my education due to dropping out of college. One day about three years ago, I was working on the computer when I noticed a message about continuing education online. I was very pleased to find that UTEP offered an online program. So I enrolled with the objective of earning a degree.
His experience with online learning:
I had done some online studies before through the Episcopal Church at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. It was an equally rewarding experience. The work was challenging and fast-paced. That is a good way to describe the online work at UTEP. I must say that the methods at UTEP were very organized and gave one the path of work via the syllabus.
What he would say to prospective online students:
For students just starting online studies it is important to understand all the instructions on the syllabus. The benefit of online study is that one can devote time to studies that can be somewhat flexible. That is a positive but can also be a danger in that putting off until tomorrow can be a huge mistake. Completion deadlines are firm. However, if one is attentive to the instructions, online studies can be very rewarding.
I am graduating with a college degree!! Without this online program I would not be able to reach this life-long objective. Thank you, UTEP!