Business Administration Grad Proves Persistence Pays Off
A first-generation college student, Chadwick Wohletz did not have a blueprint for his future, but he was prepared to forge his own path. By the time he came to the KU Edwards Campus (KUEC), he had a decade of post-secondary classes under his belt. Taking a few Johnson County Community College (JCCC) classes a semester and working with an area architectural organization, he reached a point where he was not able to advance any further.
Then came his most powerful motivator yet: his young son, Aiden. School went on the back burner for a few years until Aiden went to kindergarten, when Wohletz was ready to more aggressively pursue his education. Forgoing full-time employment and health benefits for school work was not in the cards for Wohletz, a type 1 diabetic. He was in the process of earning his Associate of Science from JCCC and met with a counselor to set a clear degree and career path. Years after attending an info session, Wohletz knew what to do next.
“I wanted to do more,” Wohletz said. “I needed to do something different, and I wanted to make sure I took courses, which provided relevant skills. When I was 90 percent done with my associate degree, I knew I wanted to apply for the business administration program at the KU Edwards Campus.”
And, that was just the beginning. After a pivotal meeting with a KUEC advisor, Wohletz could see the pieces coming together.
“I was juggling a full-time course schedule along with work at the time when my advisor sat down with me to show me exactly what I needed to do,” he said. “He looked at my transcript, contacted JCCC and helped me come up with a plan to complete my bachelor’s in the most efficient way possible. When I contacted him at the end of the semester – four or five months later – he knew my name, my situation and where I was at in life. This was after only one meeting.”
Wohletz went on to be a stellar student in and outside the classroom, becoming president of KUEC’s Student Advisory Council and the first Bachelor of Business Administration student to win KU’s competitive RESPECT Positive Code of Conduct Award in 2018.
“Chadwick is a great example of what a dedicated and hardworking person can do through KUEC's BBA program,” said Karl Kammerer, program director and lecturer for the Bachelor of Business Administration program at KUEC. “Chadwick put forward the effort, went beyond the classroom, and jumped on every opportunity – from leading KUEC's Student Advisory Council to studying abroad with KU School of Business faculty – these gave Chadwick the chance to broaden and strengthen his skills and gain valuable experiences which, in turn, opened new doors of possibility for him.”
Wohletz joined Cerner, a large health information technology company with headquarters in Kansas City, in February of 2017 and it was during one of Kammerer’s courses when he received a promotion right before his May 2018 graduation.
“I started working with my new team before graduation,” Wohletz said. “Almost every night in class, I would notice that I'm implementing everything I’m learning the next day at work. It was the coolest feeling.”
This feeling didn’t end at graduation. Wohletz said he’s often reminded of the importance of continuing your education, saying “I will take what I learned from my education at KU with me forever.” And it is also the compassion and understanding he gained from working in groups at KUEC he says helps him work well in a large company.
“Like many of us, it was not as if Chadwick's life was perfectly arranged so that he could go back to school,” Kammerer said. “He persevered anyway and is now experiencing the fulfillment that can only come through commitment to something that takes you beyond yourself as you were when you started it."
Top photo: Chadwick Wohletz stands with his son, Aiden, in Lawrence on graduation day in May 2018. (Photo credit: Heather Norris)
Learn more about the Bachelor of Business Administration program at the KU Edwards Campus. KU is one of 112 colleges and universities named to Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll, which identifies those creating dynamic pathways to support community college transfer.
See news surrounding the Degree in 3 Partnership Program and KU’s agreement with Metropolitan Community College for more information on how to accelerate your pathway to a degree.