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Terry Masters

“I wanted to set an example for my kids and grandkids.”

Vietnam Veteran Marches the Long Road to Education

Terry Masters has done quite a bit of traveling over the last 50 years. He’s been across the globe and back giving service to his country, down the aisle with his wife, to and from soccer practice with his three children, and through cancer treatment and radiation twice. He and his brother own and operate the family electrical distribution business, Bernie Electric in Kansas City, Kan.

Still, in the midst of his hectic life, Terry decided in 2003 to travel back to school and pursue his degree.

“I wanted to set an example for my kids and my grandkids.”

Terry enlisted in the Navy as an Aviation Electronics Technician on May 8, 1970 – the day of his senior prom. After training in California, he and his squadron boarded the USS Constellation and shipped out to Vietnam, where he spent 11 months.

“Upon my return home, my wife was still pursuing her nursing degree so I went to work at the family business, which I now own with my brother.”

Terry originally enrolled at Johnson County Community College in 1974 and stopped and restarted three times. Eventually, the timing on his G.I. Bill ran out, but in 2003 he returned to school again intent on finishing.

In 2008, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, providing its own set of challenges. After surgery he was declared cancer-free, until a recurrence in the fall of 2014. 

“I had to undergo 39 weeks of radiation from August until October, which zapped my energy and made it difficult to focus on my studies. I was blessed with great instructors here at the KU Edwards Campus who helped me work through my illness and continue with their classes.” 

Terry attributes part of his success to the accommodations made by the KU Edwards Campus faculty and his advisor. His advisor uncovered overlooked college credits Terry received through the Navy, allowing him to graduate, and achieve his goals, a semester earlier than anticipated.

“Their help and understanding through that time speaks volumes to me about the commitment of the KU staff to their students.” 

In 2015, 41 years after returning home from the Vietnam War, Terry graduated with his Bachelor of Business Administration from the KU Edwards Campus.

“I highly recommend to anyone seeking to further their education to enroll at this diamond in the middle of Johnson County.”