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Frequent Flyer

Xavier University

Stephanie Baker was determined to finish her M.B.A.—and she was willing to go to great lengths to do it. Really great lengths.

Baker was working for Delta Airlines in Cincinnati in 1999 when she began taking courses at the University. But midway through her third class, she was transferred to Washington, D.C., leaving her with a critical decision: transfer to another school or come up with a plan to finish her work at the University. Given her line of work, the Northern Kentucky native decided to use her Delta flight privileges to fly in for classes. She continued her strenuous commute in 2001, too, when she was transferred to Detroit.

“I would get into the Cincinnati airport at 3:00 p.m.,” she says. “My dad would pick me up, I’d go to class, then my mom [Pat Burkhardt, an adjunct professor in the M.B.A. program] would take me back to the airport, and I’d fly home.”

By last summer, Baker pulled out all the stops, taking her three remaining courses by using vacations, holidays and whatever else she could do to get the time. She received her diploma Sept. 16 at a surprise luncheon given by Delta in her honor.

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