When Donna Durish (’89) began the Management of Human Resources (MHR) degree program in January 1988, she had no idea she would be the first of 100 cohort groups to participate in the program on Bethel’s campus.

“The year was exhausting,” says Durish, who is now the vice president of IronWorks of Mishawaka, a division of Prime Development Corporation. “I remember setting up my dining room table with all of my books and papers. It was so demand-ing and so stimulating.”

Since Durish’s inaugural group of 25, the MHR degree program in the adult studies curriculum has changed its name, graduated about 1,200 students — including Durish, who graduated as a merit scholar — and expanded its course offerings. Probably most important, the 100th group began this fall.

“It started as the Management of Human Resources degree, and that evolved into the Organizational Management degree,” says Ron Drake, the program’s director. “This happened because Management of Human Resources was a misconception of what was being studied. It was more of a business administration degree, and that’s why we changed the name.”

The program is designed for nontraditional students with prior college credit and management experience who typically work during the day and take classes at night. For 18 months these cohort groups study the major courses of the degree together, which have been expanded over the past two decades to give the program more of a business flavor.

Although the work was intense for Durish, who at the time was a single parent of two working more than 60 hours a week for the Montessori Academy at Edison Lakes, she was able to apply the principles she was learning in the classroom to her everyday life.

“The stuff I was learning — group process and team man-agement — was great,” says Durish of the program. “I will always remember it as a positive time in my life.”

Now that the program has made it to its first 100 cohort groups, Drake says it’s time to look at the future of the OM program. He would like to see the program implement more online courses. “That’s the goal that we want to strive for in the next couple of years.”