Dedication Rewarded


Having trouble sticking with your goals?

Sorry, no more excuses!

Gac Filipaj, a 52-year-old immigrant, came to the U.S. from war-torn Yugoslavia in 1992 barely speaking a word of English. He garnered a job as a janitor at Columbia University in New York City, a job that allowed him to earn enough money to send needed funds back to his family in the former Yugoslavia. Oh, and so that he could achieve a goal, by hopefully taking advantage of the school’s tuition-exemption benefit program that allows employees to enroll in classes for free …after he learned to speak English, of course.

After entering Columbia’s open-enrollment School of General Studies in 2000, having spent seven years first learning our language, he chose to major in the classics, where he would also have to learn ancient Greek and Latin to graduate. He attended classes at Columbia in the morning and worked his cleaning job at Columbia in the evening, often until 11 p.m. at night.

After Sunday, May 13, 2012, Columbia University won’t just be his employer, it will also be his alma mater. He will be an Ivy League graduate, with a degree in the Classics from Columbia University. A degree he earned “with honors.”

The accomplishment has not gone unnoticed by the deans of Columbia. “The key is he was in class with every other undergraduate at Columbia and competing with them,” Professor Peter Awn, dean of the School of General Studies, told the TV station. Filipaj told New York’s Daily News that he grew accustomed to seeing the surprised faces of his classmates as they came across him sweeping floors in the hallways of the school.

And after getting such a fancy degree, he remains focused on education. “I want to try, if I can, to get my master’s,” he told CBS New York. “I’d rather clean bathrooms two or three more years and get the master’s than get a lot more money and get a better job and stuff like that.”

An ivy league diploma may not be your goal, but are you employing the same amount of discipline, drive, determination, dedication, and stick-to-itiveness to achieve your goals as Gac Filipaj did to achieve his? It’s never too late to get started now. And the rewards can sometimes be …life altering.

Congratulations, Mr. Gac Filipaj, A.B.

Click HERE to see the inspiring MSNBC piece depicted above.

Enjoy today.
Achieve today.
Tomorrow is promised to no one!