Dr. Patti Boyle is quick to tell you that she arrived as an undergraduate at Temple all thanks to a completely "inconspicuous number 10 envelope that arrived at my door containing just a typed one-page letter."

"There wasn't any fanfare to it, just that one piece of paper, but what was on that paper changed my life, full stop," said Boyle, who will be the Keynote Speaker at the University College Graduation Ceremony on May 9 when the third cohort of Bachelor of General Studies students reaches the end of a journey that, for some, was years and even decades in the making. "I consider myself the poster child for having had my Temple University education literally change the course of my life."

In that unassuming, no-frills envelope was the announcement that Boyle had received a full academic scholarship to Temple.

"It was the first year that Peter Liacouras was moving into the Temple president's role. I was one of the five 'suburban' kids — one from each high school in this area — to receive a scholarship," she said. "It was a complete surprise, and it truly was a miracle. I can confidently say without any jargon that I was a very driven, determined, ambitious student, but I had no means of pursuing my college education and therefore no practical plan."

Boyle said she recalls coming downstairs "and having all of my bags packed ready to head off to live at Temple for the first time."

"My mother asked, 'Where are you going?' and I said 'I'm going to college!' My mother was clearly surprised that I was planning to live on campus rather than commute," she said. "While I didn't know what I was stepping into that first semester, it quickly became evident that I had entered into something incredible. I was a lucky, young person who by just putting my hat in the ring, taking a few steps and having a few advocates was given a college education. I made the most of the experience and it opened up doors for me that I couldn't even imagine before then."

Boyle, who is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Temple University's Klein College of Media and Communication, has developed so many connections that she has cultivated over the years at Temple that when talking about it, she breaks up her time at the University into "chapters."

Chapter one included joining the students at WRTI and working her way up to assistant news director; providing tutoring for non-English speaking athletes; undertaking several internships under the mentorship of Dr. Betsy Leebron Tutelman (senior vice provost for strategic communications); and completing her BA in Communications followed quickly by landing a full-time job at what was then the number one ad agency in Philadelphia upon graduation, "which was my goal," she said.  

Chapter two was returning to Temple to enter the MBA program at Temple's Fox School of Business after many successful years in advertising and deciding to "make a pivot in my career to the client side of marketing."

"I returned to Philadelphia for family reasons — being an adult, buying a house, getting married, having some children — all of that stuff. I was still in advertising and got the bug of being on the client side as a global advertising director," she said. "When it came time to decide on where to go for my MBA, well, Temple chose me so I chose Temple."

Then, to paraphrase John Lennon, life happened while she was busy making other plans.

"I started the first semester of my graduate career and found out that my husband and I were expecting. We had the first four of our five children while I was in Temple's MBA program — needless to say it took me a while to get my MBA," she said. "Temple worked with me to make it all fit and that was the second phase of changing my life for the better. That was a difficult, challenging time in my life that required everyone around me to lean in and provide support."

Through it all, "I never actually missed a semester, though I did pace myself," Boyle said.

"One of the best pictures that I have of my life at Temple is my graduating in 2003 from the Fox MBA in full regalia with our four children at the time, ages six, five, four and three all in Temple t-shirts that my husband had run to the bookstore to get," she said.

MBA in hand, Boyle held several global marketing leadership positions with SEI Investments. She also completed her doctorate in educational and organizational leadership from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education.

Then chapter three at Temple came knocking.

"I had left SEI and gone into some entrepreneurial ventures. I had gone out on my own for a while and the education bug called one more time," she said. "If anything, the doctoral program at Penn enabled my Temple story to continue in that it allowed me to find my way back to previous Temple connections and new connections that I never even knew existed. Literally upon my graduation from Penn, Dr. Betsy Leebron Tutelman helped to connect me with David Boardman (Dean of the Klein College of Media and Communication).

Boyle was then hired as a curriculum consultant helping to develop one the four core graduate courses for the Communication Management program in 2017, a course that she would go on to teach.

"That led to meeting some of the undergraduate faculty leaders in Klein College and I started teach additional courses — Legal and Moral Issues in Advertising and Persuasive Writing, which I've now been teaching for four years," she said.

Today, in addition to teaching at Temple, Boyle is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dstillery, a leading AI ad targeting company based in Manhattan, and CEO of Sapience Leadership, a joint venture with the University of Pennsylvania's Pennovation Center.

"One thing that I think happens when you complete a degree program, like the Bachelor of General Studies graduates are about to do — some of them many years after their educational careers began — is that we all feel a bit re-invented. We have this whole new sense of possibility that you didn't have before," she said. "Even though we were working on it and chipping away and there were lots of mini milestones, it's the completion of having crossed that finish line that's so defining. Now we've arrived. Now we are no longer the student along the pathway where some people are guessing if we will ever finish — we have now completed something."

According to Boyle, many people "tend to think that everyone is a college graduate but of course this isn't true."

"There is something about the special quality of having achieved this milestone that people may not recognize or give themselves credit for. For these graduates they need to own it because they've earned it and it's up to them to determine what they do with it," she said. "What our graduates need to do is embrace change because they've worked so hard and invested so much of themselves, their families, their funding into this. Now the challenge is how do you make it worthwhile."

The challenge, Boyle said, is "exploring for themsevles what inspires them, what's meaningful in their lives, where are they going to feel that sense of fulfillment and what gives them that open-ended potential that they've been pursuing with such zeal."

"No matter how long it may have taken to get to this moment, graduates shouldn't look at this ceremony as the end of anything; it is only the beginning. The possibilities are endless — they have to envision the future that they want," she said. "The students should acknowledge the hard work that they've done, but quickly get into the mindset of how do they apply it. They now have the keys and the access to a whole new world than they did before. It's time to go get it!" 

The Bachelor of General Studies is designed for learners with prior college and at least sixty transferable credits who are ready to complete their undergraduate degree. The 120-credit bachelor's program focuses on creating a solid foundation for a wide variety of careers and it allows students the opportunity to customize their degree path. Learn more about the Bachelor of General Studies here.