Friday, January 17, 2020

Back to Peirce College 47 Years Later: Meet Carolyn Wharton

At 75 years young, Carolyn Wharton is not only one of Peirce College’s most “experienced” students, but she may also have one of the most interesting stories about her enrollment at the College.

Scratch that – she may have TWO of the most interesting stories about her enrollment at the College.

Carolyn graduated from Camden High School in 1962 and wasn’t exactly sure what she wanted to do. She wrestled with thoughts of going to college and joining the work force, but after seeing an ad in the paper for Peirce Business College (Peirce College’s name back then) she enrolled in a seven-week program in 1963 to become certified as a key-punch operator for computer systems – a very popular program back in those days.

With this certification, Carolyn worked as a key-punch operator at a Veterans Center for six years before she took a break to raise her children. When she was ready to re-enter the work force, she again found employment as a key-punch operator, this time with Camden County’s city offices. It was while Carolyn was employed at Camden County’s offices in 1975 when she realized she worked just a few blocks from one of Peirce College’s partner schools, Camden County College.

“I had a great experience at Camden County College,” Carolyn explained. “It was right down the road from my office, and I figured I would enroll as a Computer Information Systems major so I could learn more about my industry.”

Carolyn only took one class per semester since she worked full time and took care of her children, so she graduated with her associate degree from Camden County College in 1985, a full ten years after she originally enrolled. Rather than view the duration of time as a setback, Carolyn sees it as a testament to never giving up on her goals.

“I was never in a hurry,” Carolyn said. “I knew all along that nothing would get in the way of my degree, and I took my time and saw it through.”

After 28 years working with Camden County, Carolyn finally retired to spend more time with her family and church groups. Although her professional career was over, her educational journey was far from complete. As Carolyn explained, Peirce College had left a lasting impression when she was first a student in 1963, and though it took many years, it was only a matter of time before she returned.

“It took me 47 years, but I had always known that I wanted to return to Peirce College to get my bachelor’s degree. The college just had a special place in my heart and it originally opened the doors for my professional career, so I wanted to return to the place where it all started. In 2010, I enrolled in Peirce’s Business Administration program with a concentration in Management.”

Just like she did at Camden County, Carolyn takes one class per session at Peirce College, so she is once again on the non-traditional “ten-year” plan for her next degree. She currently has an excellent 3.75 GPA and intends to graduate next year, which she says will be a very special year because it will not only be her graduation year, but also three of her grandchildren’s graduation year.

“I can’t tell you how special it will be to earn my bachelor’s degree around the same time as three of my grandchildren. It’s just a really wonderful thing for me and my family,” Carolyn beamed.

When she’s not in school, Carolyn can almost always be found spending time at her church or active in ministry. She’s the Superintendent of Sunday School and she also teaches youth classes. She loves bowling, sewing, and arts and crafts, especially when she’s working on them with the children at her church.

Peirce College thanks Camden County College for providing Carolyn an excellent educational foundation, and wishes Carolyn the best in all of her future endeavors!

If you or someone you know is looking to transfer to Peirce College, please contact me, Tom Tschop, Director, Strategic Partnerships & Institutional Enrollment, at 215.670.9203 or ttschop@peirce.edu.