By Robert Lucke
What a Northern success story Greg Cresswell is! Raised in Harlem and graduating from Harlem High School in 1967, he signed on to the army and did tours in Vietnam and Germany. After returning to the States, he worked with a brother in Georgia for a couple of years until his mother (Olive Watson) asked him to come back home and help raise the family.
Cresswell got a job in the grain business in Harlem, worked there for 10 years, moved to Havre and worked in the grain business in Havre for another 10 years. In the meantime he married and was raising four children.
He takes up the story.
"I was in the elevator business for 23 years and worked from the bottom to management positions," Cresswell said. "When Harvest States took over the elevator they brought in new managers who we were supposed to help because they didn't know much about the operation but they had college degrees so the rest of us were passed over."
During that time he and his wife were divorced. The older two children live with him in Havre and the younger two are with their mother in Helena.
"I decided it was time to find something else to do. There were Pell grants and VA waivers for time spent in Vietnam so I got 90 percent of my tuition waived. I figured I would try it for a year," continued Cresswell. "It was rough trying to balance everything so I got a job as a custod-
ian for a couple of years and then I transferred to grounds so I could be home with my children at night."
The years went on and Cresswell thought he could stick it out thanks to helpful teachers and good student support until this week he graduates with a BS in business technology and minors in marketing and small business.
Next it is back to the grain business only with that all important piece of paper that he did not have before.
"I would like to get back into chemical sales or into management of a grain elevator or a farm store. I know that business real well and all the experience I've had should help me in performing the job much better," said Cresswell.
There has been a dark side to education for Cresswell.
"That is trying to juggle home life, being a single parent and trying to work and study. There was a time when I almost gave up and probably would have given up if it wasn't for a couple of teachers and Linda Horning who was a learning disability specialist at the college," said Cresswell. "You know going back to school after 25 years makes it difficult to juggle all those things."
Best thing after almost five years? That is easy for Cresswell to tell.
"Getting out," said Cresswell, laughing. "No, really the people I have met over the last four to five years, the teachers I have had. That was the best part. The teachers really try to help you."
Cresswell is quick to say that Northern was the only school it was possible for him to attend, but he goes further.
I haven't been to any other college but Northern but I think the staff and teachers go out of their way to help. Classes are smaller and here teachers want you to make it. They go out of their way to help you, continued Cresswell.
"Not only was Northern the only place for me to go," added Cresswell. "It was the right place!"