Alumni: 87,000   Students: 17,000

Michael B. Drew ’10

ESC Shield

Michael B. Drew ’10
Firefighter
Retired

What three words best describe who and what you are?
Compassionate. Sincere. Tenacious.

What inspired you to earn your college degree? What was your “moment”?
One of my inspirations for completing my college degree was my children. I wanted to set a good example for them by showing my commitment to earning a college degree as well as including them in the many activities that are offered to Empire State College students.

Why did you choose to attend ESC?
I always wanted to go to college but could never see myself accomplishing this while working full-time. But one of my friends mentioned Empire State and said that working adults have flexible options so that people like myself can get an education. I then looked into ESC and scheduled a meeting with Dr. Edward Warzala who confirmed the many options available to me so I got started right away.

Who supported and encouraged you along the way?
Besides my immediate family, the biggest source of encouragement came from Dr. Edward Warzala. From my very first visit to Empire State College all the way to my graduation three years later, Dr. Warzala was there, supporting me and providing answers to my many questions.

What, if any, obstacles did you overcome?
I worked as a career firefighter while attending classes at ESC. During my final semester before graduation, I sustained a career-ending injury at an apartment fire, and needed surgery. I thought that I would never be able to complete that last semester, however, Dr. Warzala reached out to me and offered to assist by accommodating my physical limitations during a very difficult time in my life. Thanks to Dr. Warzala’s help, I was able to achieve my dream and graduate with a bachelor’s degree.

What advice would you give to a prospective ESC student?
Earning your college degree might seem like a big challenge, and it is, but please remember that the people at Empire State College understand your concerns and they are there to support you each and every step of the way. You can do this! Earning your degree is so much more than a diploma- it’s life-changing!

Why do you give back to SUNY Empire?
The faculty and staff at Empire State College invested a lot of their time and energy in helping me complete my degree. The level of personal attention to the students is what makes this institution so special, especially the student mentoring process.

How has your experience at ESC changed your life since graduation?
Graduating from Empire State College provided me with the writing skills to go confidently into graduate studies and ultimately earn a graduate degree and post-graduate degree.

Anything else you would like to share?
I would like to give a heartfelt thanks to everyone at the Genesee Valley Units, who were so helpful to me throughout the journey!