Jim Odle and Dr. Duffy hold a UIU Alumni pennant.

James F. Odle graduated from UIU’s Self-paced program in June 1980. Jim was made aware of this program by a co-worker while he served in a civilian capacity for the Air Force at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He had previously earned an Associate Degree at Weber College, Ogden, Utah in business administration and a decision to obtain a bachelor’s degree was made to satisfy his personal goals of educational growth. He later learned that he received a significant promotion based on his willingness and determination to further his education as an adult.

One highlight of his time at UIU he recalls was the in-residence courses completed at Fayette. He drove from Utah, pulling his Airstream trailer, and completed his degree requirements. He recalls that his class senior project presentation was on the subject of how to set up a real estate brokerage business. He was most impressed that his class was filled with successful military and business men and the presentations became so popular that many other UIU students filled the audience when they were held.

His early life was marked by his entry into the US Army as a high school senior during WWII. He stayed in the Army Reserve after serving his country during wartime and eventually retired as a Major. He concurrently continued his career as a civilian for the Air Force and retired after 40 years of government service. It was then he put his UIU senior project into play and entered the real estate business where he enjoyed success. Within a few years, however, the State of Utah recruited him and he became the Director of the Procurement Outreach Program for 10 years. He notes that without his degree, he likely would not have had multiple opportunities and promotions.

Jim and his wife Leota, retired to St. George, Utah where winters were spent, and eventually purchased a home in Star Valley Wyoming where they summered. They traveled extensively, visiting most of the homesteads of their ancestors. Family history became a primary interest during that time of their lives and 15 books of genealogy were eventually completed. Jim’s great-uncle, Isaac Homewood, was an early settler in Fayette. Other family history of interest includes the fact that Jim’s dad and uncles, Swiss immigrants, were orphaned and were placed on the “orphan train” in New York and were eventually taken in by Kansas families. Jim and Leota had four children (one daughter, three sons) who gave them 17 grandchildren and 40 great-grandchildren. In 2010, they moved near their daughter in Ripon, California. They enjoyed 74 years of marriage and Leota passed away in 2020. At 96 years old, Jim enjoys his home and almond orchard and still lives independently.