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Columbia City EXCEL program presents first degrees

Huntington, Ind.-At the age of 43, Tamara Fearnow decided to go back to school and earn a college degree. She was scared.

"I kept asking myself, 'Am I too old to be doing this?'"

Two years and 22 classes later, Fearnow, a resident of Columbia City, Ind., graduated from the Huntington University EXCEL Program for Adults with a bachelor's degree in organizational management. In July, she was one of the first three students to graduate from the satellite EXCEL site in Columbia City. Jared Krider of Churubusco, Ind., and Amanda Hinen of Columbia City graduated with a bachelor's degrees in organizational management as well.

Fearnow has worked at Our Sunday Visitor, a Catholic publisher and manufacturer of church offering envelopes in Huntington, Ind., for two-and-one-half years. As the human resources consultant, her responsibilities include hiring, recruitment, risk management, payroll, training initiatives, implementing, monitoring and administrating insurance plans, policy development, HR administration duties, chairing the Annual United Way Campaign and heading numerous committees.

Fearnow says her Huntington University education has given her more knowledge of her position. She is currently studying to obtain her Professional Human Resource Certification in January 2008. If it weren't for Managerial Statistics, an EXCEL course, she says she wouldn't have understood some of the questions and known the answers.

Amanda Hinen, another Columbia City EXCEL graduate, currently works at Silgan Plastics in Ligonier, Ind., as a "Jane-of-all-trades," holding the titles of scheduler, customer service representative and purchasing agent. She says the biggest challenges of her job entail making the impossible, possible. To handle situations like this, she finds the best way to get everyone involved and pitching in to make a group effort.

Glad that she waited to attend college, Hinen says she feels a step ahead of others in her field because after graduating from the EXCEL program she was able to immediately apply her newly acquired skills to her job.

Through the EXCEL program, Hinen says she better understands the bigger picture of the manufacturing business.

"I knew bits and pieces from working in various departments throughout my career," she says, "but HU made all the pieces of the manufacturing puzzle connect."

At Huntington, Hinen says each student is more than a number. Students are close with their professors, and professors genuinely care about each student's education and well-being.

"You create relationships, life-long relationships, with other students, teachers and administrators." In addition, discussion is not limited to the textbook. Students often bring in personal experiences as well.

Fearnow echoes Hinen's sentiment, noting that she was treated like a real student, which showed at her graduation. "That day made me feel young again and that I have so much more to do in life, spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and sharing the words of HU's mission."

Hinen says she chose Huntington's EXCEL Program for Adults because it offered classes close to home. The Columbia City satellite campus is only seven minutes from her house, and she had no interruptions with her work schedule.

"I also find that when I get home from school I still have time to get a few things done at home before its time to turn in."

EXCEL is Huntington University's accelerated degree program for busy adults. Classes are offered in Huntington, Columbia City and Wabash, Ind. The EXCEL Program for Adults offers an associate's degree in organizational management and bachelor's degrees in four majors including

Accounting

Business Administration

Human Resource Management

Organizational Leadership

EXCEL also offers the Gateway Program through which adults can take continuing education classes for personal enrichment or toward the completion of a college degree.

For more information on the Huntington University EXCEL program, contact the EXCEL office at (260) 359-4162 or (800) 600-4888, or visit www.huntington.edu/EXCEL.