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When Gurbhushan Singh, EdD ’16, was 17 years old, his family immigrated to the United States from India. His father worked two jobs in order to offer his children the opportunities he had lacked. Singh, whose father was 44 at the time, wanted to repay his fathers’ sacrifice in the most thoughtful way he could think of: earning his doctoral degree by age 44.

“He came here and held two jobs washing dishes in restaurants to make us successful and educated,” Singh said. “I believe he was very successful in doing so and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today if he hadn’t provided financial help.”

Singh celebrated his 44th birthday in February 2016 and graduated with his Doctor of Education in Leadership in Higher Education from Baker University that December. Although his father passed away before he could celebrate his son’s accomplishment, Singh knows his father would be proud of his accomplishments.

Those accomplishments didn’t come easy. Singh’s ambitious goal required sacrifice, much like his father’s had, but he knew the end result would be worth it.

“It was a business decision,” Singh said. “I wanted to stay in higher education and I knew I needed to earn a doctorate in order to move up.”

When looking at programs, Singh was attracted to Baker’s flexibility, reputation, and location.

“I had heard many great comments from other graduates,” Singh said. “Baker is also known for its academic rigor.”

For the next three years, Singh passed up opportunities for both vacation and “me time.” He fully dedicated himself to the program. Making the commitment wasn’t easy, but he knew that if he really wanted to succeed, perseverance was what it would take.

Singh, who worked at Metropolitan Community College at the time as an associate dean of instruction, saw almost immediate reward from his experience. Very soon after he graduated, Johnson County Community College offered him his current position as associate vice president of academic affairs.

For Singh, the best part of his job is being able to inspire students to transform their lives and strengthen their communities.

“I want to encourage students to achieve their dreams, just like I did,” Singh said.

Baker’s School of Education gave Singh the tools he needed to be successful at JCCC and influence the lives of students like him. In his words, the experience was wonderful, and both professionally and financially rewarding.

“[Baker’s program boasts] very realistic curriculum that incorporates current practices in higher education, focused on teamwork, collaboration, and student success,” Singh said. “I use all of my experiences from Baker each and every day now.”

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