Education is only part of the journey for student in First Responder program
June 6, 2007
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Angelina Tellone, a records clerk with the Glen Ellyn Police Department, says she could not complete her college education on her own. The Benedictine University First Responder Program is making certain the Wheaton resident doesn’t have to.
The Benedictine University First Responder Program provides affordable and quality higher education to all eligible police and fire personnel in the Chicago metropolitan area. There are no tuition costs. Police and fire personnel pay only for their textbooks. Students run the gamut from support personnel to fire chiefs to watch commanders.
“This year has been a wonderful journey,” Tellone said. “We started our cohort as strangers and are ending up like brothers and sisters, just like our relationships at our workplaces. I have seen my classmates help each other when someone is struggling, and also hold out a helping hand when needed.”
The life of a First Responder is difficult. In addition to strenuous and dangerous work, the hours are long for the salary they earn. To maintain a high level of professionalism throughout their lives, including after they leave the station, they must acquire the same educational opportunities as the people they protect.
A liberal arts college education gives them the skills to deal with the life- and property-threatening situations they encounter every day.
“This program has not only given me so much knowledge, it has encouraged me to think about issues that I previously would have ignored,” Tellone said.
The First Responder Program at Benedictine was conceived after University President William J. Carroll spent a day training with members of the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District. The program was initially directed toward local fire and police personnel, but a $2 million federal grant allowed the University to extend the program.
Students may pursue associate of arts and bachelor of management degrees that are offered in their own communities. A Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) and Master of Science in Management and Organizational Behavior (M.S.M.O.B.) are offered on Benedictine University’s Lisle campus.
“My favorite class has been ‘Moral Issues in Business,’ ” Tellone said. “Our instructor had a complete passion for not only teaching, but helping us understand philosophy.”
Currently, 63 public service organizations are represented by the more than 300 first responders enrolled in the program. Among the organizations participating in the program are: Cook County Sheriff, DuPage County Sheriff, Illinois State Police, and police and fire departments from Addison, Aurora, Batavia, Bellwood, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elk Grove, Glen Ellyn, Lisle-Woodridge, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Park and Wheaton.
“I am proud to be on track with this program, and certainly hope there is funding in the future to further my education,” Tellone said.
For more information about the First Responder Program at Benedictine University, contact Tanesha Pittman, Associate Dean of the First Responder and Professional Development programs, at (630) 829-6125.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.