Warren E. Barber II
April 21, 2012
Well, it looks like I may make it. Wow, just imagine, Warren E. Barber II is about to
become the first person in the Barber family to achieve a Bachelor’s degree or any degree for
that matter. This will be the first time in my life to wear a cap and gown. My mom and dad never
went to college and my sisters, although fully capable, decided it wasn’t for them either. For me,
it has been a long time dream that has been so challenging that I wanted to throw in the towel
more times than I can count. The most important thing that my mom and dad had taught me was
perseverance and hard work. Because of those ethics, I have never lost my desire to achieve my
It all started from the time I joined the Nevada Air National Guard in 1986 that I realized
that I wanted more for myself. My drill instructor from basic training told me, “The sky is the
limit for you Warren,” upon graduation. The military allowed me to see my potential for a higher
education but it would be a hard sought endeavor. Armed with only a GED and less than stellar
capability for college I began my endeavor in 1989 at Truckee Meadows Community College in
Reno, Nevada. My goal at the time was to achieve enough classes to satisfy the requirements for
AAS from the Community College of the Air Force in Aircraft Maintenance. I thought I would
keep it simple and provide for a path to attaining my first degree. Boy was I surprised. Due to
my absence of education from my high school years, I had to take all the development classes in
math and English before the school would let me take any regular college classes. I was bit
embarrassed with myself but the college took me under their wing and helped me achieve my
original goal. In 1994 I finally attained my degree from the Air Force. Next I decided that I
should move on to a Bachelor’s degree because I wanted to fly aircraft for the military. At the
time I only had a 3rd of the required credits needed and I was quickly approaching the maximum
eligible age requirement for flying. I then decided that that my lofty goal would have to be
sought some other way in the future because my responsibilities changed due to my new family.
My past background in industrial electrical systems allowed me to work for Turquoise
Ridge (Barrick North America) in 2004 as an electrician and I moved from Sparks, Nevada to
Golconda. My wife, who already had a very successful college background decided to go back to
college to achieve a degree in education. I decided that maybe I should go back also, but I wasn’t
sure of what I was going to do. I started snooping around and found a bachelors program right up
my alley, Bachelors of Applied Science in Instrumentation. After talking to my work supervisor
for support and the Instrumentation Department at Great Basin College, I decided I can do this. It
began in the fall of 2009. Driving each day to Elko, back to Golconda and then to work, I met
my first of objective of finishing my Instrumentation courses in two semesters. It was hard but I
finished. Next, I was to complete the other degree requirements between online courses and in-class instruction at the Winnemucca campus. I thought that the rest of the requirements would be
easier than what I had to go through for the instrumentation portion. I was wrong, the rest of my
courses were just as difficult but challenging as the others. I would not have it any other way,
because it is hard work and perseverance that defines us along with the people that we meet that
helps us achieve our goals.
As I approach the end of this journey, I reflect and sometimes wonder what it was for. I
know that I have learned a lot, and even applied what I have learned, but was it really worth the
struggle? Yes, because what I have done, I am a far better person, better skilled, better
understood and a better creative thinker than I was before. I have met the goals that Great Basin
College wants for its students in its mission statement. I was able to attain this goal because of
Great Basin College and its dedication and expectations to students like me. I have a lot to be
thankful for because of Great Basin College.
Great Basin College has been very supportive to me because of the people. Instructors,
staff, and students are what helped make this possible along with gaining some good friendships.
Once, I had thought that I had to do this by myself, but I soon realized that this was not to be
accomplished by myself and what I needed was people to help me get through this. I also
realized that those same people needed me too and it was the learning and interaction
atmosphere that Great Basin College had provided to me in achieving my goal. Cheers to you
Great Basin College! Another must mention is Barrick Gold, without them allowing me to make
changes to my work schedule and their encouragement, none of this would have been possible.
I cannot go without mentioning my most important influence, my family. They, like me
have struggled through this just as much as I have, if not more. They are the single most
important reason why I have done this, but they are the ones who had to sacrifice too. Without
them and their encouragement I would not be writing about this. My wife, who relentlessly
encouraged me and helped me to keep going, even when she was dealing with her own
challenges of school, kids and work has always been my rock of support without ever doubting I
would finish. My kids, I missed a lot recitals, games and well deserved attention for them, it’s
about to change, not anymore guys, it’s nothing but about all of you for now on! Thanks guys!
My next challenge was my old challenge. Flying....got to reach the limit, Can’t wait!
Thanks Great Basin, for allowing me to express myself on this most important achievement!
Warren E. Barber II