Benedictine program provides college education for police, fire personnel
December 11, 2007
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Lisa Eakins of St. Charles plans to go to med school someday.
“This program will help me reach my goals,” said the member of the Big Rock Fire Department. “I need a bachelor’s degree to go to med school and it would have been impossible to get a bachelor’s and work with my schedule requirements if not for this program.”
Eakins is working toward a Bachelor of Arts in Management (B.A.M.) degree through a unique program designed for men and women who serve the community as police and fire personnel and support staff.
Eakins is enrolled in Benedictine University’s First Responder Program, which provides affordable and quality higher education to all eligible police and fire personnel in the Chicago metropolitan area. There are no tuition costs.
Classes are held in fire/police stations and corporate centers throughout the Chicago area. Students run the gamut from support personnel to fire chiefs to watch commanders. Eakins is attending classes in Lake In The Hills.
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. It also prepares them to continue serving their communities in other areas.
“I would like to become a village manager,” said Michael Spiro of Carpentersville, who works in the Buffalo Grove Fire Department. “This program will help me reach my goal of earning an M.B.A. (Master of Business Administration).”
Currently, more than 80 public service organizations are represented by the more than 400 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 Aurora, Batavia, Bellwood, Downers Grove, Forest Park, LaGrange, Lisle-Woodridge, Lombard, McCook, Naperville, Oak Park, Schiller Park, Westchester, Wheaton and Wood Dale.
Students may pursue Associate of Arts in Business Administration (A.A.B.A.) and Bachelor of Arts in Management (B.A.M.) 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.
Other first responders working toward their B.A.M. degree in Algonquin are Robert C. Beattie (Bartlett) of the Carpentersville Fire Department, Erman Blevins (Lake In The Hills) of the Carpentersville Police Department, Julie L. Didier (Lake In The Hills) of the Algonquin/Lake In The Hills Fire Department, Brandon Clairmont (West Chicago) of the Winfield Fire Department, Thomas J. Doggett (Batavia) of the Batavia Police Department, and Patrick Gordon (South Elgin) of the Huntley Fire Protection District.
Also, Eva Hamala (South Elgin) of the Hanover Park Police, Brian Harders (Woodstock) of the Huntley Fire Protection District, Brandon Hofgesang (Schaumburg) of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, Bill Hough (Algonquin) of the Algonquin/Lake In The Hills Fire Department, Kristy Huddleston (Algonquin) of the Algonquin/Lake In The Hills Fire Department, and James A. Kasprak (Capron) of the Carpentersville Fire Department.
Other first responders working toward their B.A.M. degree are Michael R. Lukas (Crystal Lake) of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office and Crystal Lake Fire Department, Timothy Norton (Round Lake) of the Skokie Fire Department, Timothy J. Norton (Lake In The Hills) of the Park Ridge Fire Department, Paul Olszak (Crystal Lake) of the Crystal Lake Police Department, Jeffrey Parsons (Marengo) of the Woodstock Police Department, and Frederick Schau of the Algonquin/Lake In The Hills Fire Protection District.
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.