Attending college as an adult learner presents unique challenges, but David Overton ’22 never let them get in the way of his goals.
Overton holds an associate degree from Butler Community College and recently graduated from Newman University with a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies — a degree program that enabled him to combine two majors. He chose business and sociology in part because he wanted to develop stronger leadership skills.
“I want to learn about people,” Overton added. “That’s where the sociology comes in. The business aspect, I get it. I think it comes naturally. But I want to understand what it is that I can bring different to my job that other managers are failing at.”
His inspiration to pursue a bachelor’s degree in general is an extension of this desire for career growth.
“I was already blessed with everything else — house, family, nice job — and the one thing that was lacking was me getting my degree, plus being passed by experiences that other people have experienced because I didn’t have a degree,” Overton said. “So, one day I woke up and said, I’m going to try to do this. And here I am.”
While a student, Overton worked three jobs, including one at USD 259 with Wichita Public Schools, while also taking care of his family. Two of his children were college students at the same time as him, one at Kansas State University and another at Wichita State University, which he felt brought them closer.
“It was the best thing ever,” he said.
Impressed by Newman’s support system
For Overton, while the last few years have been exhausting, the experience of being an adult student has been worth it. He credits the staff and professors at Newman — people who became mentors and constantly encouraged him.
“Coming back as an adult student, my big experience has been the relationships I’ve established with the staff and faculty,” he said. “I’m on a first name basis with most of my teachers. I believe they went above and beyond. I think the only thing we didn’t use in communication was smoke signals.”
Overton added, “They will be with me in my heart all the time.”
The feeling is mutual.
Angie McCoy, director of the Master of Business Administration program, described Overton’s persistence to obtain his education as “commendable.”
“As a working adult, David was invested in showing both himself and his family that it’s never too late to achieve what you set your mind to,” McCoy said. “I have no doubt that David will continue to make a positive impact on his community and his family with his future endeavors.”
Now that he has a bachelor’s degree, Overton feels he has the tools he needs to grow in his career.
And it’s an accomplishment that feels surreal.
“I’m still in shock,” he said.
Earn an interdisciplinary studies degree at Newman
Our interdisciplinary studies program is a unique, customized, liberal arts degree designed for both non-traditional adult students who have some college but no degree, as well as traditional students who would like a customized degree program where they design their own major of study.