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Student Testimonial: Jim

July 26, 2011

As he walked into the classroom, the 74-year old college student heard a little snickering from his much younger college peers.

After 50 years since he was last in a college classroom, Jim Black of Alta, went back to college.

“The snickering all stopped once grades came out,” said Black.

A 1960 graduate of the University of Iowa, Black already holds a degree in political science and 35 years of experience as an “insurance man.” He is now retired from the insurance business.

So the automatic question that comes to mind is ‘Why college? Why go back to college after all your success and all of your experience?’

A father will pretty much do anything for his daughter. 

About four years ago, Jim’s daughter started her own legal practice in Iowa City.  She first asked Jim to help her set up books for a trust account.

Jim did such a great job setting up books for the trust account that she asked him to set up the books for her business.

After doing that, Jim’s daughter said, “Now all I need you to do is to become a paralegal and move to Iowa City!”

At that time, Jim did his own ‘snickering’ and said, “No way, I spent my time in Iowa City.”

After some thought, Black decided that it would be a great opportunity for him; he decided to go back to college.

Mark Gruwell, who was the program coordinator for the Paralegal and Legal Studies program at the time, was the first person that Black spoke with at Iowa Lakes.

“I was so impressed with Mark Gruwell when I first spoke with him; he is a very sharp and intelligent man,” said Black. 

In fact, Mark Gruwell, who is now Executive Dean of Instruction and Development, and Julie Williams, Dean of Students, are both responsible for Black’s new role as an actor.

Black was selected to be one of eight featured students in an Iowa Lakes television commercial that airs in northwest Iowa and southern Minnesota.

“I think Julie (Williams) was the main culprit in getting me into the commercial though,” Black said with a ‘snicker.’

Upon completion of his Associate in Science Degree in Paralegal and Legal Studies, Black plans to move back to Iowa City where his college career all started.

Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye. 

Questions or comments? Please email us at info@iowalakes.edu or call 712-362-2604 or 800-521-5054.
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