Skip to Main Content

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.

50 in 50

Join us on Thomas Edison State University’s social media channels and here on this page to celebrate alumni from each year of TESU’s 50-year history. Each Thursday we will feature a graduate from a different year. TESU graduates contribute to their families, their communities, their workplaces and the University. Celebrate them and this remarkable milestone!

Bette Ewing, AA '73

The University has grown considerably in the last 50 years, and I am delighted to be able to give back so that others might have the same wonderful experience as I did. We all want TESU to continue its mission way into the future. We want this kind of learning to continue.”

Bette Ewing, AA ’73
Marvin Brown, AA '74

I was greatly aided in my career in the U.S. Army by Thomas Edison State College (now University). I found out about the school in newspapers discussing a new state college for adults. As a soldier, we were always moving. TESU provided the continuity I needed to continue my education. It provided motivation and opportunity. I then completed my bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. Thanks, TESU!”

Marvin Brown, AA ’74

I started taking computer courses at a night school, but my job sent me to different parts of the country, and I couldn’t finish my degree. I finally found Thomas Edison State University, which gave me much more flexibility. After nine years without a break, I finally finished. My credits not only gave me one degree but two bachelor’s degrees at TESU!”

Craig Gould, BSBA ’75
Dr. Carolyn Houss

TESU was the only school of higher education that listened, advised and supported me. I will always be grateful for TESU helping me achieve my goals while others just scoffed at a woman wanting to be a physician.”

Dr. Carolyn Houss, AA ’76, BA ’78
Warren Huff

Once I earned my BA, I had the opportunity to take better paying and more challenging positions. Not long after, computers started to enter the business world and I was bitten by the ‘computer bug.’ I took more evening and weekend classes and earned a Post Baccalaureate in Computer Science. My degrees opened a whole new career path to the most interesting and fun job I ever had. I have donated to the TESU Foundation since graduation and plan to continue.”

Warren Huff, AA ’77, BA ’79
Charles Moore

Someone mentioned this new, non-traditional college which recognized the value of experience and prior education. I contacted TESU and met with a counselor who designed a degree program for me. I was able to transfer all my earned credits and gain new credits through testing. Earning my degree opened new doors for me and my career culminated in becoming president/CEO of a publicly-traded company. I continue to support TESU for the important role it played in my life.”

Charles Moore, BSBA ’79
Charles Moore

The education I received at TESU supplemented and expanded upon what I already learned from other schooling. I needed to learn more in order to keep my job and get promoted. I now have a CPA, a law degree, an MST in taxation and a PhD in accounting, and am an accounting professor. I have also published more than 60 books, and more than 1000 academic articles, book chapters, working papers and conference papers, as well as a few novels.”

Robert McGee, AA ’80, BA ’82, ASM ’83, BSBA ‘83
Beth Jarett

After TESU, I became a licensed Medical Technologist and then decided to pursue Computer Programming. The greatest impact was the opportunity to afford to pay for my schooling, a second chance in pursuing a career, and maturing to understand that all things come in time and to embrace change.”

Beth Jarett, BSAST ’81
Charles Moore

The impact of TESU has been critical to my personal and professional growth. It served as the catalyst for later earning an MBA, a Juris Doctor, an LL.M. and success professionally, including being the Inspector General for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, being appointed the first Inspector General for the Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission and the founder of my own law firm located in Washington, D.C.

I continue to engage with TESU because the institution delivered on its promise to help me achieve my goals and dreams, and for this, I am grateful.”

Arthur Elkins, BA ’82

To get ahead I needed to learn more about management and was able to utilize TESC’s (college at the time!) willingness to accept credits from other schools. My AS degree in Management helped me to move into management and later become the president of a small bank in Golden, CO. Thank you TESU for helping to pave the way to a successful career in banking where I remained for 31 years.”

Carlton Hamm, ASM ’83
Mark Platt BA ’84

Immediately upon receiving my BA from TESU, I took a management position in nuclear power in Idaho. Since then, I have held various supervisory or management roles in nuclear technology until I retired after 43 years. My BA from TESU added lots of credibility to my long technical resume and I subsequently obtained an MBA. I gained huge knowledge and academic credentials that made my nuclear career more interesting and far more lucrative allowing me to share with my favorite charities including TESU.”

Mark Platt, BA ’84
Lucille Russell, AA '82, BSAST '85

I worked with Susan Freedman to obtain my Technical Science degree with a minor in aviation. I helped create this program at TESC. I worked with her and the FAA to review the courses to become a professional pilot and equate this to a college course of 1, 2 and 3 credits. This helped my career and my future as an instructor pilot and captain for a well know flight department.”

Lucille Russell, AA ’82, BSAST ’85
Scott Pennington, AA ’86

People are often surprised to learn that, although I am an attorney, I am also a high school dropout. It took me approximately two years to complete my degree at Thomas Edison at the suggestion of my Air Force commanding officer. In addition to utilizing CLEP® tests and portfolio assessment, I was able to apply credits from my military training and from course work completed at various colleges.”

Scott Pennington, AA ’86
Eric Pennington, BSBA '87

After I learned about TESU from my brother Scott (AA ’86), I was attracted to Thomas Edison because of its flexibility and the myriad of ways one could earn credit. I earned credit through transferring prior earned credits; CLEP® tests; portfolio assessment; TECEP®; and ongoing course work at other colleges and universities.”

Eric Pennington, BSBA ’87
Patricia Dunn Tatrai, BSN '88

After earning my BSN I continued my education by receiving my Masters of Science in Nursing. These degrees allowed me to advance my career. I retired after 41 years as a nurse from Capital Health as a manger in the cancer program and I am currently returning to work as a part time Nurse Navigator. That would not have been possible without my education.”

Patricia Dunn Tatrai, BSN ’88
Mary Kay Mason, BA '89

Upon graduating at age 48, I started teaching piano and accompanying. Over the last thirty years I’ve taught many students and accompanied for Metro Lyric Opera Company, Monmouth Civic Chorus, Garden State Philharmonic Orchestra and many others. My current position is Musical Director of the Lake Ridge Chorus where I currently live. Getting my degree gave me knowledge and confidence to continue to learn and grow, even now as I approach my 81st birthday!

I continue to engage with TESU because I’m very grateful to have the opportunity to get an education in an unconventional and flexible way and also I’m inspired seeing other’s achievements.”

Mary Kay Mason, BA ’89
George Hartigan, BSAST '90

TESU opened the door for me to launch may career further than I could have imagined! Once I completed my bachelor’s at TESU, I completed my master’s degree and had many professional technical achievements and became an adjunct professor.”

George Hartigan, BSAST ’90
Ibis Roman, BSAST '91

Before attending TESU, I was a math science major at University of Puerto Rico. After I graduated, I started as an IT- Junior Developer in AT&T and during the next 30 years, I performed duties such as IT-Lead project manager. TESU gave me tools and the opportunity to be independent. For the last 24 years, I have been a coordinator at my church and that is my passion along with travel. As of September 2022 I had visited 102 countries, many to visit churches and orphanages. I continue to engage with TESU because I believe in the mission and actions of the institution.”

Ibis Roman, BSAST ’91
Ponzio Oliverio, BA '92

When I started my studies at TESC, I was a married deputy sheriff. Completing my degree enabled me to earn a pay raise and I eventually went to law school and am now a full-time professor at National University.”

Ponzio Oliverio, BA ’92
Patricia Essenwein, AA '93, BSBA '96

When I enrolled at TESU, I was Clinical Assistant Director for a hospital-based Phlebotomy Program. Once I received my degree I became the director of the program and was also the supervisor of the Phlebotomy and Point of Care Departments. I continued on to receive my Master’s in Hospital Services. All my courses were done at home.”

Patricia Essenwein, AA ’93, BSBA ’96
Kathleen Powers, ASM '94, BSBA '94

My TESU education taught me how to advocate for myself, how to think critically and make decisions. My TESU education put me in the driver seat. I set a goal and was determined to become a CPA, which I achieved. Choosing a non-traditional route has served me well as it allowed me to see there is always more than one pathway to get to your goals.”

Kathleen Powers, ASM ’94, BSBA ’94

I wanted to get my BA degree, so I was able to apply all my classes and credits into a BA in Liberal Arts. TESU was the easiest way to get that degree and accomplish what I needed to do for myself. This was the most efficient way for me to get ;my degree and use my previous classes and apply them into a program.”

Sandy Schemelia, BA ’95
K.D. Younger, BA '96

I was thrust into the role of family caregiver at the age of 25. Without TESU, I am not sure I would've ever completed my bachelor's degree. It provided the flexibility I needed to take care of my ailing mom during the end of her life and ultimately take care of my siblings. The school was ahead of its time when I was a student.”

K.D. Younger, BA ’96

TESU allowed me to apply my prior learning to a degree. My AS degree was the start of my education journey. I found I really enjoyed being involved in education and continued to go to school and eventually completed my Ph.D. Since completing my MBA in 2003, I have been teaching college and currently teach at the University of Phoenix in the DBA and DM programs and provide guidance to students as dissertation chair. I also facilitate courses at Cornell in the areas of business and leadership.”

Russ Carfagno, ASAST ’97
Cory McGookin

I give a lot of credit to TESU for my career. I was an enlisted US Air Force person seeking a degree. I was sent on temporary duty several times and a traditional college could not work with me. That degree got me to my dream job, being a Special Agent in the FBI. I had a GREAT career and just retired this January.”

Cory McGookin, BA ’98
Rhonda Beckett, BA '99

Completing my bachelor’s degree at TESU became the catalyst and encouragement I needed to become a lifelong learner. As a result, I completed my master’s degree and a professional certificate program. I enjoy learning new things and taking classes to create the best version of myself.

I have worked at this great institution for the past 15 years, and I believe in the mission and enjoy helping adult learners achieve their academic goals.”

Rhonda Beckett, BA ’99
Sherrilynn Novack, ASM '00, BSBA '02

I was in my forties when I graduated from TESU and it was one of the proudest moments of my life! I began my education journey at TESU with an Associated Degree in Business, followed by as BSBA. I always had jobs in the PR and Marketing fields and these two degrees gave me better insight into the "whys" of PR and Marketing.”

Sherrilynn Novack, ASM ’00, BSBA ’02
Lynne Riggins-Person, MSM '01

TESU was a milestone in my life that helped to shape me into the person I am today.  For that I will be forever grateful. This degree has been instrumental in every aspect of my career, my community life and served as the platform for me to pursue a doctorate in education.”

Lynne Riggins-Person, MSM ’01

Toni M. Terry, BA

"I am 67 years old, soon to be 68, and to be able to say I did this at this day in my life is just gratification for my own self."

Watch Toni »