Senior earns MBA through free USG program

Bill Lorey, 70, earned an MBA from Georgia State's Robinson College of Business through the University System of Georgia's 62+ program.

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Bill Lorey, 70, earned an MBA from Georgia State's Robinson College of Business through the University System of Georgia's 62+ program.

Bill Lorey, 70, first heard about the University System of Georgia’s 62+ program when he read a story about it seven years ago. “That article came out at the right time when I’d been thinking about going back to school to keep the brain cells going,” he said.

At the time, the Johns Creek resident was working in the sales sector of the communications industry and looking to update his business skills. The 62+ USG program drew his attention because it allows adults 62 and older who meet admissions requirements to earn degrees with no or negligible costs.

“When the next generation took over our company, I was assigned some challenging administrative tasks but was only using a part of my brain,” he said. “The USG program was an opportunity to take a few marketing courses and get my brain engaged.”

Lorey had earned an MBA in 1977 from DePaul University in Chicago. That barred him from the USG program, but after passing the Graduate Management Admission Test and filing an appeal, he was accepted into Georgia State’s Robinson College of Business.

“I pointed out that things had changed dramatically over 40 years,” said Lorey. “There was no social media. Computers were room sized. Now there’s more to marketing than the newspapers, radio and TV we had back in the ‘70s.”

Despite recognizing the vast industry challenges, Lorey admits he didn’t realize how much of a challenge going back to school would be.

“My first class was finance, and I thought, ‘I’ve got this; I’ve been doing it for 40-plus years,’” he said. “But I had to work at the technology-oriented classes and learn a lot of applications. Sometimes I’d watch the video lessons in slow motion to see what the instructor was doing. But then I’d take another marketing course and feel smart again.”

Courses also paired him with younger students whose technology skills were stronger. “But I was able to bring the real-world into our projects,” said Lorey. “Sometimes it was just outside-the-box thinking they didn’t have.”

Lorey signed up for two eight-week courses each quarter and took breaks during the summers. Along the way he retired and was waylaid by a minor stroke and COVID, but he decided a degree was his goal.

“If you’re not learning, you’re dying,” he said. “One of most important things we taught our children was if you start something, you finish it.”

Earlier this month, Lorey reached his goal and earned his MBA, 45 years after his first. As a GSU alum, he’s joined by his two sons, one who also has a Robinson MBA and one with a master’s in finance, taxation and accounting. He’s also become an advocate for the 62+ program.

“I’ve probably told 50 people about it, and no one had any idea of what I was talking about,” he said.

Georgia residents interested in the 62+ program should contact the institution they’d like to attend; many list specific information about admissions and degree requirements on their websites.

A general overview is online at usg.edu/student_affairs/prospective_students/62_and_older.


SEND US YOUR STORIES. Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at hm_cauley@yahoo.com or 770-744-3042.