Master’s Spotlight: Fred Cremo

By Leah Antovel, marketing and social media student assistant at UF CJC Online

April 9, 2020

One of the many benefits of pursuing a degree from UF CJC Online is the flexibility it offers non-traditional students.

Fred Cremo, 58, is a national practice leader at Humana and lives in Gainesville. He is enrolled in the digital strategy specialization at UF CJC Online. Cremo, however, has been a Gator for over 20 years, but he did not finish his bachelor’s degree before jumping into a career.

After learning his company reimburses for tuition, he intended to finish his undergraduate degree. After successfully doing so through the online program at Boston University, he tossed around the idea of returning to UF. Cremo first completed a certificate in social media through UF CJC Online before going for his master’s too. Being only two to three years away from retirement, Cremo admits he is not continuing his education to advance professionally.

“I take one class at a time relative to my work schedule. I may have to skip a semester here or there, so I’m in no particular hurry to complete it,” he said. “I’m really just doing this for my own personal lifelong learning approach.”

Cremo enjoys how online learning allows him to do work on his own time, at his own pace and not in any particular format. He also favors the name recognition and established academic excellence associated with the University of Florida.

For someone who has spent years learning outside of the classroom, Cremo understands the stereotypes and realities associated with online learning. He remembers years ago that employers were requiring their employees to go back to school for additional degrees to advance in their organizations.

“It really didn’t matter what the bachelor’s or master’s was in, but you just needed another degree,” he said.

During that time, many universities offering online degrees weren’t associated with traditional brick and mortar institutions, so the stigma was very strong. Over about the last ten years, more prestigious, high-ranking universities have expanded their curriculum to online, he said. Many students also have a combined schedule where they are going to live classes and taking online classes simultaneously.

“So, from my perspective, the stigma has all but disappeared,” Cremo said. “I know a number of other employees in my organization that are doing it.”

Additionally, employers are getting smarter about higher education and how it relates to their employees, Cremo explained. “You have to kind of describe to your leader and the organization about how you intend to use the degree and how it plays into the company values.”

Overall, Cremo advises universities and programs to reach out to all potential students that may not necessarily be front of mind, even those who just want to learn and not with the primary goal of moving up in rank.

“Universities and programs need to think more outside the box,” he said. “Then, I would imagine more people like myself would take this on and would create more diversity in the discussion.”

If you’d like to learn more about pursuing degree with UF CJC Online, please visit our website at https://onlinemasters.jou.ufl.edu/ and follow us on social @UFCJConline



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