MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Mike Urban needed only two courses to certify into his major. But they were offered at 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. He had a job. He had a 30-minute commute. So he took a quarter off from college. Then another, then another.
Nineteen years went by. The Mount Vernon, Wash., resident became a planning commissioner, fire commissioner, Rotary Club president and YMCA board member. He owns an equipment rental store and is in his second term as a city councilman.
“Not finishing my degree had been weighing on me for years,” Urban said. “I wanted to set a better example to my children and gain knowledge to better manage my business.”
Because he’s a busy person, Urban wanted an online program. In 2008, he chose WSU Online. He’s glad he did.
“WSU has created the most reputable and user friendly online program available,” said Urban, who graduated cum laude in 2011 with an accounting degree. “The courses were rigorous and practical and provided an education that far exceeded my expectations.”
Along the way, Urban got plenty of help, both from his family, to whom he gives extensive credit, and from WSU.
“The support system of advisors, professors, mentors and fellow students is simply remarkable,” he said. But one person really stands out:
“I could never have accomplished this without the efforts and encouragement of my WSU Online advisor, Chrisi Kincaid,” he said. “She represents all that is possible when you take a leap into the unknown but know you have an expert dedicated to your success. To me, Chrisi Kincaid is the face of WSU.” 
Kincaid said she felt “a bit humbled” by the praise, but it’s clear she’s also a bit proud when her students succeed.
“I feel much of the time that I am the lucky one here,” she said. “I get to work with all these folks who inspire me with all they do and the obstacles they overcome—both big and small—on a daily basis.”
Now that he has his degree, Urban plans to take the certified public accountant (CPA) exam in January. Judging from his opinion of WSU, he’ll be the guy wearing crimson and gray.
“I hold the university and, most importantly, its people in the absolute highest regard,” Urban said, “which makes me even prouder to be a Coug.”