They showed it’s never too late to earn a degree
Editor’s note: Reprinted from the April issue of GCU Magazine. For the digital version of the magazine, click here.
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
At the time, Shawn Boskie’s main goal in life was to throw strikes. He was a pitcher in pro baseball, in the midst of a 15-year career that started when he was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Cubs in 1986.
But Boskie also had a passion for accomplishments that would go far beyond the field, so he joined his wife, Pam, at a biblical seminar, “God’s Plan for Work,” about finding the right job. He remembers writing that he wanted to do something “that had a larger social impact but with eternal significance.”
But he didn’t know what on earth that could be. That’s how it tends to be for highly focused athletes.
“People often will ask you what you’re going to do when you have to get a real job,” he said, “and I had no idea.”
But God did indeed have a plan for Boskie’s work, and it led him to fund-raising for various ventures, first for Alliance Defending Freedom and most recently for Pure Flix Entertainment. There also was a divine plan for his education, and it led him to Grand Canyon University.
Boskie knew the campus from his playing days, when he worked out at GCU during the offseason with his buddy Tim Salmon, the most accomplished pro athlete among the University’s alumni.
Boskie also knew of GCU’s stunning accomplishments since the arrival of President Brian Mueller in 2008. He wanted to be part of it and didn’t stop after earning his bachelor’s degree in Finance and Economics at age 51 – he also became a member of the Colangelo College of Business (CCOB) advisory board and joined the Canyon Angels investment group.
“I am 100% all in behind the mission and vision of GCU,” he said. “The way Brian Mueller has laid that out so clearly in marketing efforts in curriculum, in the personnel, it was such a breath of fresh air to have a biblical worldview in the education curriculum, especially in today’s cultural dynamics.
“The spiritual warfare that’s happening right now is plain to see, and what Grand Canyon is doing is one of the most important things happening around the world. That makes it easy to want to be associated with GCU and help in any way I can.”
Like Boskie, Tyson Hintz found himself without a bachelor’s degree as the years started to pile up. It made him feel sheepish about his role despite his success – he’s Vice President of Human Resources and Employee Development for Knight-Swift Transportation.
“Here’s me – I don’t have my degree and I’m making sure everyone who comes through does have a degree,” he said.
Yes, there were circumstances years earlier, when he had to work to support his family while his wife stayed home with their baby. But he couldn’t wait any longer, and last October he fulfilled a lifetime goal with his Applied Management degree.
And, also like Boskie, Hintz didn’t stop there. He, too, is a member of the CCOB advisory board, and his company actively recruits GCU students.
“Some of our favorite people whom we’ve hired are GCU graduates,” he said. “There’s a difference in the culture that GCU puts out. When you add in the Christian core-based element, that matters. You can really see a difference with the level of integrity and trust that comes with that. They know how to work hard.”
He saw why that happens just by being an online student:
“I love how GCU gives students every opportunity to succeed. If I didn’t get my degree or struggled in a class, there was every opportunity for me to get additional tutoring, guidance or direction. There’s no reason for me to ever get a bad grade or bad position in class unless I chose it. I love that self-accountability.”
And he also sees it when GCU students speak to the advisory board:
“They’re teaching students to be business owners. You’re being placed in front of advisory boards and are presenting your plan, your business idea, your thoughts about how we can go to the next level. GCU provides the opportunity and the funding to support it.”
Board members are asked to do three things: become an advocate for GCU in the community, get involved on campus and create hiring pathways for students. But there’s also a side benefit – they can network with each other.
Boskie and Hintz took it one step further by earning their long-sought bachelor’s degrees.
“That’s college today,” said Dr. Randy Gibb, the CCOB dean. “You can go back and finish it anytime. Here we have two highly successful business professionals doing things in a slightly different sequence … yet just as effective and possibly even more rewarding.”
Many baseball players never earn their degrees. They get caught up in the regimen and the lifestyle. Boskie is thankful God had other plans for him.
“I don’t feel like anyone special – it’s all glory to God,” he said. “People will ask, ‘How do you get from baseball to a nonprofit legal organization and then to Hollywood and movies?’ It’s because God has wired me to round up the kind of capital you need to do those things.”
He also is thankful he found his way back to a university that has grown far beyond what he saw years ago. “GCU is equipping people to think correctly in a highly consequential spiritual battle that we’re in all around us,” he said.
Or, as Hintz put it, “You feel culture. You feel it. You see it, yes, but you feel it.”
Contact Rick Vacek at (602) 639-8203 or [email protected].
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