Denise Veatch Cofas

Denise Veatch Cofas was celebrating her 49th birthday when it occurred to her that she may never realize her dream of obtaining a Bachelor’s degree.

“I realized that my dream of having a Bachelor’s degree was going to pass me by if I didn't do something about it and quickly. I didn't really know if this goal was attainable within a normal time period. I was living out of the State of Iowa and wondered what school might accept the credits I currently had without me having to start all over?”

Veatch Cofas was born and raised in southeast Iowa in a small town called Savannah. She attended Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa and graduated in 1984 with an Associates of Arts degree. Money was tight and finding a job was the ultimate goal, so Veatch Cofas left Iowa and followed her two older brothers to Kansas City, Missouri after completing her Associates of Arts degree. There, she worked for an advertising agency in graphic design which eventually led to sales positions. Veatch Cofas always noticed that those individuals with degrees were the ones that seemed to move up and on in their careers.

It wasn't until 2009 that Veatch Cofas began searching for universities that would accept her AA degree toward a Bachelor’s degree. Since she was living in Colorado at the time, any program that she started from the University of Iowa needed to be online.

“I was so excited to see that Iowa would take all my credits from IHCC and I could go at my own pace through their distance program. Their program was geared for people just like me.” says Veatch Cofas. “I started the distance program in 2010 and my first challenge was getting used to everything being online, as well as running my own business, moving and raising teenagers. We moved twice during that first semester and my grade reflected that! But once I was settled, all went very smoothly.”

While instructors were always there for support, Veatch Cofas did find the academic studies rigorous. “My most challenging class without a doubt was Nutrition in Health and Performance with the second runner-up Human Development through the Life Span. Both instructors were always there for help and quick to respond to my questions, or concerns; but these two courses challenged me in every way.”

While it was challenging to work, raise a family, and take classes all at the same time, it has been an accomplishment that means a lot to Veatch Cofas. Veatch Cofas’ has a daughter in college now and a son in high school. Watching their mom study hard, work on assignments and find proctor support taught them the importance of working hard to achieve their goals. She hopes her journey has served to inspire them in their own lives.

“The one thing I wish I had known when I started that I do know now is that it is not as scary as you might think it is because everyone at Iowa really wants to see you succeed. The whole concept is success-oriented if you can maintain the readings and assignments. The instructors are all at the top in their respective fields, but are so willing to support you if you need it,” says Veatch Cofas.

Obtaining a degree was a goal Veatch Cofas has had for many years. While attending the BAS and BLS graduation reception after receiving her BAS degree, Veatch Cofas was filled with pride and had this to say, “I’m not certain that it will change what I do now, but I know there will be no more awkward moments when someone asks me where I went to college. Now I can tell them as matter of fact and with pride, The University of Iowa. I’m a Hawkeye through and through and I appreciate all the support and guidance I have received."