Post-traditional graduate rediscovers ‘love of learning’ after returning to BGSU

Ben Headlee enrolled in the University’s eCampus to complete his bachelor’s degree and advance his career in financial planning - and inspired his son in the process


By Laren Kowalczyk '07

More than three decades ago, Ben Headlee left Bowling Green State University to move home and start a family.

Now, at 51 with a wife of 29 years and two adult sons, Headlee is a BGSU alumnus after completing his bachelor’s degree online through the University’s eCampus.

Headlee said the experience of returning to BGSU provided him with something more valuable than the initial satisfaction he sought of finishing what he started.

“I rediscovered my love of learning,” he said. “One of the things I appreciate most about coming back and going through this experience as an older adult is how much pride I have in being a graduate of Bowling Green State University. I’m fortunate to have the luxury of perspective I didn’t have 30 years ago to truly value the gift of education.”

Headlee graduated in Spring 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in management and technology, one of the most popular online degree completion programs at the University. The 100% online program is designed for working professionals interested in advancing their careers or changing careers.

Headlee said by completing his bachelor’s degree, he is one step closer to achieving a certified financial planner certification — a highly regarded mark of excellence in the field. 

He’s currently enrolled in a master’s degree program in personal financial planning and, upon completion, will be eligible to sit for the certified financial planner exam.

“Getting a master’s degree was not on my radar when I enrolled at BGSU in 2018,” Headlee said. “My experience through eCampus really brought to light how much I enjoy the intellectual stimulation of education.”

Headlee’s experience through eCampus was so profound that it inspired his oldest son, Cole Headlee, a senior airman in the U.S. Air Force, to enroll at the University.

Cole Headlee, a base defense operations center controller in the 50th Security Force Squadron at Schriever Space Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is in the General Education Mobile (GEM) program.

The GEM program is a partnership between BGSU and the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). It allows students to complete their general education requirements online through the University’s eCampus for faster degree completion. Cole Headlee said completing his degree will enable him to apply to become a commissioned officer in the Air Force.

“I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to walk in my father’s footsteps, get my education from BGSU and eventually become an alumnus like him,” Cole Headlee said.

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Updated: 03/24/2023 10:11AM