Louise Howe grew up in Clinton, Conn., and attended The Morgan School until her life path took a detour. At the age of 17, Louise suddenly found herself married with a baby, during what would have been her junior year in high school. Still determined to complete her high school education, Louise enrolled in a preparatory class and earned her GED in 1973, the same year her high school class graduated. While raising her daughter, Louise then worked for a major airline and part-time for a travel agency, among other jobs.
Until her second child was born, Louise took occasional classes at Middlesex Community College. She had now left her well-paying airline job and soon thereafter realized that her career path would be quite limited with only a high school equivalency diploma. Fast forward to her daughter’s high school graduation and preparation to leave for college at the University of Connecticut. Both mother and daughter waitressed that summer to help pay for tuition, and this was when Louise realized that she wanted a better career for her future.
Louise decided to enroll in additional degree prerequisite courses at Middlesex. She had her curriculum checklist and started making progress toward an associate degree. During this time, she also discovered her true potential and love of learning. By receiving instruction in formal writing for the first time and discovering a new twist on U.S. history from Professor LeRoy Barnes, Louise began to understand how to organize research in a meaningful way.
“I have great respect for Middlesex. It had a huge impact on me,” said Louise. Her experience at the college helped her get over the stigma she had because of receiving a GED instead of a full high school diploma. But things started to come full circle as she maintained friendships with her former classmates. In fact, she even became the chairperson of her 40th high school class reunion!
Her first Middlesex English professor, William Nagle, helped her to hone her writing craft with astute critiques and encouragement. James Childs, Louise’s professor for advanced writing, was a great influence on her as well.
“I recall he asked us to flip over a penny and write about every minute detail we observed on the coin,” explained Louise. “Overall, this helped me learn to write in more detail, using rich descriptions. One assignment was to write a detailed physical description of a person, so I wrote about my mother.”
Louise earned her associate degree in business administration in 1992.
“I feel I received a high-quality education from dedicated faculty at Middlesex,” she reiterated.
While Louise loved the diversity and mixed cultures she found at Middlesex, her confidence grew enough to transfer to a four-year college. Her accounting professor, Nancy Kelly, suggested she transfer to Quinnipiac University. Louise initially thought she couldn’t afford Quinnipiac, especially with her daughter still in college. However, because she graduated from Middlesex at the top of her class, she was awarded enough scholarship money to make it affordable.
At this point, Louise decided to try and earn a bachelor’s degree in two years, as opposed to the extended time it had taken her to earn her associate degree. So in 1994, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business studies and marketing from Quinnipiac—summa cum laude!
One of her undergraduate independent study projects involved surveying transfer students, so she connected with Quinnipiac’s admissions office for her research. After working as a financial aid counselor at Connecticut College for just over a year, Louise found herself back at Quinnipiac’s admissions office as an assistant director of graduate admissions and financial aid. This gave her the incentive to work toward an M.B.A. degree from QU, which she earned in 2006, again with honors.
The following year, Louise was promoted to director of marketing communications for admissions at Quinnipiac, a position she still has today. “I love what I do!” she said.
Middlesex had given Louise the chance to prove her abilities and find the potential others had always told her she had. Once she found it, the rest is history.
Written by Thea Moritz