ANDERSON — Rob Gossage was fighting his way back from homelessness.
John Zahrt had struggled with addiction.
Steven Schuyler had just returned from serving in the Navy.
Bridgette Hudson knew she had to get a degree or she’d never progress in her job.
And Dixie Mullins wanted to accomplish a goal she’d set for herself decades ago.
Each has their own story, and each took to the task of receiving a degree at Anderson University.
”People think of AU as a traditional brick-and-mortar college,” Adult Studies Director Ellen Daniels said. But, she added, the university wants to help adults get a higher education, too.
The Department of Adult Studies added seven concentrations to its Integrative Leadership major this year: criminal justice, education, exercise science, human resources, information systems, psychology and Web development. Previously, the department had only business and Christian ministry concentrations.
The added degrees “just open up the door to more possibilities,” Daniels said, as the university sees people from all walks of life.
Students who are 25 and older (or nearing their 25th birthday) can take classes in a traditional classroom setting or online. Tuition is two-thirds less than what traditional students pay. AU’s adult studies department has about 200 students currently enrolled.
Gossage, 50, had taken a year of college after high school, debated going back, but thought he’d gotten too old.
”It seemed like such an uphill climb not worth the effort,” he said.
But he accompanied a friend to check out AU’s program and decided to give it a try because he “knew education was an important step to getting where I need to go.”
Gossage had been staying in a shelter and got back on his feet by starting his own landscaping and home improvement company, God’s Truck, with a donated truck. Now he wants to help others and is majoring in Christian ministry.