In the News

First-gen Holmes is realizing the dream at MU

Attending six different elementary schools, two high schools and three universities, Joshua Holmes has come a long way to get to where he is today.

Holmes was recently recognized by the Independent Colleges of Indiana as a first-generation college student who is Realizing the Dream. The ICI dream program, funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc. since 1989, recognizes students in their sophomore year for outstanding achievement in the previous year.
“I’ve traveled across the United States, seen many places and experienced different people,” said the Manchester University student from Fort Wayne. “Along the way, I have learned to be open, to be flexible in my beliefs, and to help those who truly need it.” 

His involvement in clubs and organizations reflects an open attitude and helping hand. He is treasurer of the MU Black Student Union and a student orientation leader. He has also served on the Manchester Student Senate and the Student Budget Board.

Holmes was awarded a $2,500 Realizing the Dream scholarship, and the ICI asks each honoree to identify a secondary school teacher who helped along the way. Holmes could not choose just one, so he honored Sally Godfrey and Eva Trout, who were his middle school teachers and track coaches. They taught him to never pity himself, encouraged him to work hard and practice the art of listening.

“They gave me friendship and are like my second parents,” Holmes said. “I can never repay them for that, and they are the best examples of the people this world needs.”

Due to the scholarship rules, he could select only one of his mentors for a $1,000 professional development grant. He chose Godfrey, an eighth-grade English teacher and a track and cross-country coach at Blackhawk Middle School. Trout is now an administrator for Fort Wayne Community Schools.

Holmes’ road to the North Manchester campus was circuitous. He attended Snider High School and graduated from Carroll High School, both in the Fort Wayne area, before heading off in 2014 to the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill., transferring to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, and finally landing at the MU North Manchester campus.

Third time’s the charm, he said, describing Manchester University as a “small community where strong relationships are formed and leaders thrive.” A finance major looking to complete the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). He will graduate in fall 2018.

Holmes maintains a grade point average higher than 3.80. “I am proud of being a first-generation college student who has never had a GPA below 3.6. Statistically, I am not supposed to be here, and I love proving statistics wrong,” he said.

He works a part-time job and sacrifices time with friends and family to work toward a better future. “I hope to be a role model” and help younger members of his family aspire to a better life, he said. “I also want to be a voice in my community to help people realize their potential no matter what their circumstances.”

After graduating from Manchester in 2019, he hopes to start a nonprofit organization helping needy families plan and manage their finances.

This first-generation student has learned valuable lessons along the way: “Balance is the key to life, even though achieving it is hard. However, once you get there, everything falls into place.”

About Manchester University

Manchester University, with campuses in North Manchester and Fort Wayne, Ind., offers more than 60 areas of academic study to nearly 1,600 students in undergraduate programs, a Master of Athletic Training, a  Master of Pharmacogenomics and a four-year professional Doctor of Pharmacy. It has students from 20 nations and is home to the world's first undergraduate peace studies program, established in 1948. Learn more about the private, northern Indiana school at

November 2016