Daniel Geiter, a convicted felon with multiple offenses, recently earned his doctoral degree in education from Benedictine University, and plans to open Ward College, a non-profit community college geared towards ex-cons in Chicago.

Gieter credits his education for keeping him from continued criminal activity.

Geiter, in his own words, was “a really good thief” during his youth and young adulthood, until one day he decided he wanted to change. “It was 1998. It’s like 120 degrees. I’m in Vienna Correctional Center and the walls are sweating literally and I woke up and I looked at that room and I said, ‘Lord if I ever get out of here, I’ll never come back’, “he said.

Several key individuals helped Geiter succeed. A nun named Sister Sue Sanders was particularly encouraging.  “One of the things that will make Daniel a fine professor and a teacher and president of Ward College is he understands what it means to need help and what it means to return it to others,” said Sanders.

“We want to be able to do something now to help them trade in their guns for pens and computers,” said Glen Ward, a supporter of Geiter. The college will be named after Glen and his wife, Adelaide.

Ward College is set to open in August 2016. “Why is Ward College important to me? Because I want to be able to give back like those individuals gave to me,” said Geiter.

Hannah Joy is a student and childrens' literature enthusiast. She enjoys singing, nature walks, and hummus. She hopes to bring joy and truth into the world through the written word.