Michael Balka, BSAST '14

Michael Balka makes it look easy.

Having moved for each job he’s held, Balka is the first to admit it was hard to earn his degree at a brick and mortar institution.

“The pattern of my career has been constant motion; I think I counted eight times where I’ve either moved for a job or to keep one,” said Balka. “Attending a traditional school to finish a degree never worked for me because each time I’d get a class under my belt, I’d be faced with relocation.”

Now settled into his career as an aircraft maintenance supervisor for UPS Airlines in Louisville, Ky., Balka credits the University’s longstanding partnership with UPS as the motivation he needed to complete his degree.

“UPS has maintained a relationship with Thomas Edison for many years and had our corporate training evaluated for credit,” Balka explained. “My degree program, Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology, was fantastic because the quality of our training is all collegiate level; being awarded credit for previous professional training, including pilot and mechanics ratings, are a huge benefit.”

Since earning his degree in 2014, Balka has begun work on his graduate degree in Commercial Aviation with Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., though never losing sight or appreciation for the opportunity and experience Thomas Edison afforded him.

“Thomas Edison gave me a real opportunity to complete a long overdue degree program, and I believe that their mission and primary focus on adult education is, simply stated, essential,” he began. “Because of this and the overwhelmingly positive experience I had, I give back to the institution because I see the value from a first person perspective and want to ensure that future students are given the same opportunity that I was granted.”

Through a generous monthly gift, automatically debited from his personal paycheck, Balka finds the convenience of his recurring donation one that allows for ease and peace of mind.

“When considering giving back to the University, put yourself in the shoes of a professional; someone who just needs a little nudge to get back into or to begin a degree program,” Balka explained. “The process couldn’t be any easier or more worthwhile.”

Without the university, Balka confesses, he’d still be struggling to complete his undergraduate degree.

“Contributions to the university’s Foundation, no matter how big or small, can sponsor degree programs that otherwise may not be possible for the institution to develop and implement. Every little bit helps in keeping the cost of education affordable, with college costs continuing to skyrocket across the U.S.,” he explained. “Maintaining the relevance and scope of the degree programs can only be achieved through the generous donations of those who believe in the mission of the university. Every gift matters, it certainly did for me.”

 To learn more about the recurring gift program and how you can make a difference, visit http://www.tesufoundation.org/recurringgift