12:43 PM

Bachelor's degree was personal for California alumna Margaret Wisehart

An article in Bellevue University’s ‘The View’ alumni and friends newsletter prompted a phone call from 2009 graduate Margaret Wisehart of Woodland, California.

“I just opened up the alumni magazine and was so happy to see the article on Nancy McCabe, because my story is so similar! It took me 39 years to finally get my bachelor’s degree,” Wisehart said. McCabe, who lives in Omaha, celebrated commencement in June 2013 with friends, coworkers, and family, including her adult son and daughter. Like McCabe, Wisehart made family and work top priorities for decades. “Something always came up” to postpone her bachelor’s degree, but it was always something she wanted. College was an expectation in Wisehart’s family. Her parents were Stanford University graduates, and her son, Matt, and daughter, Anna, both are graduates of the University of California-Davis. But for most of her adult life and career, she lived and worked in north-central California towns where bachelor’s-level programs were not available. Like many Bellevue University students and alumni, Wisehart’s journey to a bachelor’s degree started in another place and time. After graduating high school in the early 1970’s, she completed two Associate’s degrees, Liberal Arts and Vocational Nursing, and built a multi-faceted career in healthcare, education, and business. “I worked as a nurse for many years, and then, as a single parent, made a career change as a secretary in a rapidly growing medical facility,” she said. “I eventually landed a job as Plant Maintenance Secretary, which included Maintenance, Safety, Environmental Services, telephones, computers and Biomed…I was part of the preparation for Y2K, and worked closely with hospital administration and their assistants on phones.” In 2004, after serving on a team that provided direction to build and relocate a new regional medical center, Wisehart decided to relocate and seek new opportunities, but she had not given up on her dream of a bachelor’s degree. She heard about Bellevue University initially through The College Network, a higher-education marketing consortium, which provides information on colleges and universities nationwide. In 2009, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Healthcare Management degree, with honors. “My Healthcare Management degree translates well into a business environment. It was just the right fit. It pulled together what my life work was,” she said. Now semi-retired, Wisehart continues to work part-time and lives in suburban Davis, just down the street from her daughter. “My children are proud that I completed my degree and that I can relate to their world better now,” she said, “But I don’t think I did it to measure up to them. It was more for self-fulfillment. I took it as a personal challenge, and it was a great challenge!”