FAYETTE, Iowa (May 12, 2014) – Jim Yackley was a hopeful college freshman looking for chance at glory on the field at Upper Iowa University's Eischeid Stadium in 1977. Then, just one week before the start of the season, the Atkinson, Ill., wide receiver broke one of his fingers during practice, ending his college football career. "I really wanted to play football in college, so when Upper Iowa offered me a $500 work study deal, I jumped on it!" he recalled.
After only one year on the Fayette campus, Yackley quit school. Throughout the years, he held onto his dream of finishing his degree. On Saturday, May 10, after 37 years, Yackley earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Upper Iowa University finishing at the UIU Quad Cities location.
In those 37 years since he left Upper Iowa, Yackley's life journey has taken him on a wide variety of adventures starting with his enlistment into the U.S. Navy in 1983 after earning an associate's degree in accounting from a junior college in Illinois. From 1983-1987, Yackley worked aboard a submarine tender, the U.S.S. Orion, in the Mediterranean where he was an electrician and in charge of supplies for the ship.
After his service, Yackley has held a variety of jobs and also took classes intermittently working toward his degree. In 2012, he returned to Upper Iowa after discovering the Quad Cities Center. Taking classes online and in person, Yackley finished in just two years.
"The moral of my story is to never give up on your dreams, no matter how far away they seem or how long it takes," he said. They are your dreams, and nobody can take that away from you. Go for it!"
Currently, Yackley is employed at the Rock Island Arsenal and is slated to retire in seven years. He is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 145. He and his wife, Suzanne, live in Davenport, Iowa. They have three children.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 6,200 students – nationally and internationally – at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing