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Richard Doty

Lisa Denlinger
Continuing Studies

Last modified: Thursday, January 24, 2002

From Wall Street financier to history student

Successful businessman follows a dream

Bill Lorenz of Dodgeville, Wis., used to rub elbows with the likes of Henry Kissinger, Bill Moyers, David Broder and other well-known authorities on politics, economics and international affairs.

That was during what Lorenz calls his first career as a partner in a Wall Street investment firm. During his second career as founder of a management consulting firm in Boston, Lorenz and his associates provided market research to a clientele comprised almost exclusively of Fortune 500 companies.

These days Lorenz, 62, is a student who gets up at 5 a.m. every morning in his rural home and spends hours reading and writing about history.

Lorenz explained that his transformation from Wall Street partner and Boston management consultant to rural history student stemmed from his long-time desire to earn a college degree.

"My two careers, both successful financially, helped me to learn and grow as an individual," said Lorenz, author or co-author of more than 20 major market research books. "But my academic resume was inadequate, and the lack of a degree always bothered me."

After retiring in 1994, Lorenz felt at loose ends and started shopping around for a program that would allow him to earn his college degree without attending on-campus classes. He chose the General Studies Degree Program at the Indiana University School of Continuing Studies. The program, he said, offered an excellent selection of distance education courses and accepted many of the credits he had earned from his previous academic experiences.

Lorenz is one of more than 18,000 graduates worldwide who hold an associate or bachelor's degree from the IU General Studies Program, said School of Continuing Studies Dean Jeremy Dunning. "Students can earn the degree by taking courses on campus, at a distance through our Independent Study Program, or through a combination of distance and on-campus courses. Students enrolled in the program at a distance can choose from 220 university-level courses, many of them available online. In fact, students can now complete all 60 credit hours leading to the associate degree entirely online," Dunning said.

Having earned his bachelor of general studies degree from IU in December, Lorenz is now pursuing, through distance education, a master of arts degree in the humanities at California State University. When he completes his master's degree, he hopes to enroll in the University of Wisconsin's doctoral program in history. Someday, he said, he would like to teach on a pro bono basis.

"I have no specific goal for the doctorate," Lorenz said. "Having earned my long-sought-after degree from Indiana University, I am now learning for learning's sake."