I Define Success: Berdina Gamble

If you ever think it’s too late to pursue your dreams, or you ever feel like you can’t go on, Berdina Gamble’s story will likely change your mind.

When she first enrolled at Ivy Tech Community College, Berdina was a lot like many of her classmates. But Berdina had one advantage: she was fortunate to have enough free time to make college a priority. As a result, she excelled, earning induction into the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Soon, however, things changed dramatically. As Berdina says, “it came in like a flood.”

She lost a baby son. Her aunt, for whom she was the primary caretaker, died, too. She was evicted from her home—illegally. She lost her job. And she endured an accident that totaled her car. Suddenly, or at least so it seemed, she was homeless.

Berdina didn’t give up, however. She continued to pursue a degree in Business Administration despite all her challenges. She admits that she almost dropped out, but her goal was too close to abandon.

“It got so bad that during my last full semester I could not concentrate and my grades were really, really bad,” Berdina explains. “But I just needed to graduate.”

Then, her fortunes reversed again—thanks to a group of her fellow students, her employer, and some caring Ivy Tech faculty members.

“A few of my classmates rallied around me and said they would help me,” she explained. “First they told me to talk to all of my instructors and let them know what was going on. One even offered to tutor me, meeting me at school so we could go over the lessons. My supervisor also agreed to adjust my schedule and my instructors agreed to give me a second chance and allowed me to get caught up.”

Now, with her degree complete, Berdina can’t help but get a little emotional.

“When I passed these classes, I just cried,” she recalls.

Now, at 66 years of age with a hard-earned college degree, Berdina is starting a new life. She has a temporary job in her field and is optimistic that it will become permanent. She says her past experience has made her appreciate the little things in life—especially the people who helped her keep moving forward.

“The people at Ivy Tech will do everything in their power to ensure your success as a student and after graduation,” Berdina says. “Ivy Tech is the best.”


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