Sgt. Maj. Jeff Aldrich has a lifetime of military experience, but hopes for another experience, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, in December–holding his bachelor′s degree in criminal justice in his hand.
With Trine Virtual Campus (TVC) on his side, he is well on his way to realizing that dream. The highly decorated soldier from Pleasant Lake, Ind. has served the Army since age 17 — in Kuwait, Panama, Iraq and Korea. Among the over 20 military awards pinned to his jacket are the prized Combat Infantryman Badge, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for an injury sustained in Iraq. Now five weeks away from the date he can request retirement, he values the relationship established with Trine two years ago when he took advantage of the university′s online scholarships for Iraqi and Afghanistan war veterans.
Transferring credits from four universities and his military schools, he began his criminal justice degree at Trine. "Trine North Director Dave Wagner took all the credits I had, and told me what I needed to do to become a student," he said. Trine chipped in 24 semester hours on scholarship.
The online advantage has clearly aided Aldrich. "It helped me tremendously, because I travel all the time, and if I had to show up for live classes twice a week, I would have missed a lot of classes. If it hadn′t been for the online courses, I wouldn′t be graduating when I am," he said.
With Trine financial aid from several sources and help with transfer credits, Aldrich is on course to graduate on schedule. "We are pulling all the details together and wrapping it up for him," Wagner said. Aldrich may move into the new School of Professional Studies criminal justice master′s program after his military retirement in a year.
To show his gratitude, he helps out with football practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. "I love Trine, and the football team has been a great experience for me," he said. "It′s another dream–an extra one."