Casey Thompson Cecile is a graduate of Syracuse University, a small business owner, and a committed advocate for the environment. Before attending Syracuse University through University College, Casey was working 60 hours a week at three minimum-wage jobs. Casey realized the only way to avoid the trap of low-paying jobs was to get an education. She learned about the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at University College of Syracuse University. The opportunity to obtain a college education seemed almost surreal, but Casey looked into it anyway.
“I never saw myself as being able to attend a community college, never mind graduate from SU,” Casey recalls. “I came to UC with no idea how I was going to make ends meet. I couldn’t even afford cable TV, let alone books.” But she earned a G.E.D., enrolled in the Bachelor of Professional Studies (BPS) degree program, and began a journey of discovery – about herself, the world, and the possibilities that came into focus as she surmounted obstacles and inched toward a college degree and renewed self-esteem.
“I was able to keep taking classes, thanks to UC’s great flexible course formats. I took weekend, condensed, and online classes,” she recalls. She also gives much of the credit to the assistance and support of UC’s advising and financial aid staff. “I managed to graduate with a BPS degree with a concentration in legal studies in five years.”