Five Million Miles to Campus: The John Burroughs Story

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John Burroughs remembers that when he graduated from high school back in 1961, only wealthy kids went to college.

"I couldn't afford it," Burroughs said. "But even though my grades were not that good-my heart was in sports-I believed that someday I would go to college." Putting that dream on hold, he married in 1963, worked in construction, and drove a truck for 41 years. He never had an accident in over 5 million miles of driving, something not too many people can say.

Attending college didn't become a reality for John until after he'd retired and begun a part-time maintenance job with a local school district. His dream was revived when a pastor-friend suggested that he enroll in a faith-based institution. With encouragement from his daughter, Burroughs decided on the General Studies program at Indiana Wesleyan University. One of a growing number of retirees to re-enter academia, he learned how to use a computer during the first two courses. Accelerated five-week classes challenged him, but he was motivated by his professors and classmates to keep going. Not only did John finish his associate degree with a 3.9 grade point average and present the commencement address at graduation, but he went on to completed the bachelor degree that would equip him to be a substitute teacher.

"I loved the Christian foundation … it kept me focused to do the right thing, and I never missed an assignment," Burroughs reflected. Having fulfilled his lifelong dream, he still stays in touch with IWU faculty and fellow alumni. "It was an excellent experience, and if I can do it, anyone can!"

Indiana Wesleyan University fulfilled a college dream for retired truck driver John Burroughs. Find out more about how our General Studies Programs can help you fulfill your own college dreams. 

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