Patrick Parry, '80

Skipping school led to computer degree

The facility I saw at Terra State really impressed me as a kid." ~ Patrick Parry

Patrick Parry’s interest in computers first came about in high school through a class he took. Even though he did not fair well in that particular class, it did not deter him from pursuing the subject matter as a career. His path to getting a degree in computers began with skipping school for a day. “My friends were going on a visit to Terra State (then known as Terra Tech) which meant a day off from school, which was alright with me,” says the 1978 Huron High School graduate. Parry was very impressed by what he saw that day. “Even though I was not successful in high school with my computer class, I still had an interest in it. The facility that I saw at Terra State really impressed me as a kid. I was wowed.”

Of course, Parry enrolled at Terra State and enjoyed it from the very first day. “You instantly made friends. It was my first time away from my hometown. I grabbed on to few classmates that were from neighboring high schools and became friends with them. That eased my transition into college.” In the classroom, Parry received encouragement from his professors. “I had a computer professor named Mr. Bundy. He gave me incentive to be a computer programmer. He led me through classes in a way that was inspiring and made me want to do better.” There were also classes outside of Parry’s computer classes that were advantageous. “There was a debate class that I took. I have used the skills that I started developing in this class. I will use them today and tomorrow. I use them every day.” In the end, Parry earned his degree in Business Applied Computer Programming in 1980 and turned his sights on to a career.

  • Program icon
  • Calendar icon
    Average Length of Study

    2 years, Full time

  • Cost icon
    Average Cost



  • Employer

    Universal Retrographics

  • Job Title

    Computer Programmer/Owner

  • Salary Potential $70,460*


Parry’s dream was to become a computer programmer in downtown Cleveland, but found the job search difficult. He tried his best to find that job in the summer of 1980, but just could not get his foot through the door with the job he wanted. “I ended up going in a different direction for a period of time,” he says. “I got into more of an accounting background job as an auditor for a hotel.” He also change locations with a move to California that led to an opportunity in computers. “I was working as an accountant when I first move out here,” he says. “Eventually, that led me to a connection with another computer programmer that gave me an opportunity to program in an entry level position. It was for less money, but this was my career. I took a shot at it after being out of computer programming for five years, but I worked my way up and made my way to a printing company which is where I am now.” Parry has been there now for 32 years and is now the owner of Universal Reprographics with three locations in Los Angeles. “I was able to set up computers at desks for people. This allowed them to move from handwriting bills, to punching the information into computers. This was all from my knowledge going back to Terra State and how I learned to program computers.”

 Parry is very proud of his success from Terra State to Universal Reprographics and has advice for those just starting out in pursuing their dream career. “When you get to college, hang around with the right crowd. We all wanted to study and challenged each other for knowing everything. This was not only for the interesting and tough classes, but for the not so interesting classes. We built a nice competition amongst ourselves. When you get into college, get serious. It is fun!”

*Possible salary information based on averages from