Learning Together, Worlds Apart

Learn what life as a distance learner is like, how José stayed active in the Penn State community, and what his first-ever trip to Penn State was like when he visited for graduation.

When José Francisco Llompart Quirós learned about the Penn State World Campus Alumni Ambassador program, which provides alumni with the opportunity to connect with prospective students, he didn’t hesitate to sign up. The fall 2012 graduate of the College of the Liberal Arts’ online bachelor of arts in law and society degree was eager to share what he had learned navigating the challenges of online education as an international student.

“I bleed blue and white!” said Llompart Quirós. “The semesters I invested at the University while earning my degree have allowed me to enjoy the Penn State culture," which, he said, is based on honor and success.

José Llompart Quirós stands on a beach in Mallorca, Spain, with his niece and his dog.

A walk on the beach in Spain

José Francisco Llompart Quirós, an attorney and Penn State World Campus graduate, lives in Sa Rápita, Mallorca, Spain, where he enjoys spending time at the beach with his niece, Alexandra, 5, and his golden retriever, Thalassa. His niece was his biggest supporter while he was a student, José says, adding that, the same as he does, Alexandra "bleeds blue and white."

Image: José Llompart Quirós

José Llompart Quirós truly exemplifies the World Campus’ mission of making a Penn State education accessible to adults wherever they live.

Guiding Other Online Learners

Serving as a World Campus Alumni Ambassador is just one more way Llompart Quirós said he can “strengthen the already strong bonds I have with my alma mater, while helping out other prospective and current students with some advice out of my personal experience," he said. His advice helps others, he said, "to face the multiple challenges I had to overcome as an international student living overseas and learning in a virtual academic environment.”

Llompart Quirós also is benefiting from communicating with prospective students. “The interaction with people interested in the law and society program is truly refreshing and enriching. You get to know people from very diverse areas, not only from the United States, since the World Campus is globally oriented, who share a common interest in learning and improving their academic lives.”

His interest in comparative law, the study of the legal systems of different nations, led him to search for an American academic program. Llompart Quirós explained, “American-based case law or jurisprudence is somewhat opposite of the Spanish legal tradition, which is mainly based on codified law.” He chose Penn State, he said, “due to the multifaceted nature and flexibility of the law and society program and the University’s worldwide reputation.”

Earning his degree enabled him to gain a better understanding of the American legal system. As a result, Llompart Quirós has been designated by his Bar Association as a specialist in United States law. A lawyer for more than 15 years on Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands of Spain, Llompart Quirós earned his J.D. degree in 1994. He opened a law office in Palma de Mallorca, the capital of the Balearic Islands, and currently serves as a judicial bankruptcy trustee and has been designated as an arbitrator by the Bar Association of the Balearic Islands.

José Llompart Quirós, wearing Penn State blue and white, leans against a stake in a vineyard on Mallorca, Spain

Sometimes José takes a break

José Francisco Llompart Quirós carries Penn State blue and white with him as much as possible in his busy life as a lawyer and World Campus graduate. Here, he takes a rare break in a vineyard in Biniali, Mallorca, Spain, his home.

Image: José Llompart Quirós

“My advisers have saved me countless times from a vast array of problems with their tireless and invaluable help throughout the semesters.”—José Llompart Quirós

Outstanding Support 

José Llompart Quirós truly exemplifies the World Campus’ mission of making a Penn State education accessible to adults wherever they live. This mission is taking on new urgency as the World Campus prepares to expand the number of students enrolled in online education programs from nearly 12,000 today to 45,000 within the next decade.

Llompart Quirós is ready to help increase World Campus enrollment and return the assistance he received from his academic advisers, as well as his instructors. They helped him juggle his many responsibilities.

“They have provided me with the flexibility that has ultimately allowed me to harmonize areas of my life, which in other circumstances would have created problems," he said. "Penn State distance education is designed to help facilitate a balanced life with academics.”

One of his advisers, Jane Ireland, told him about the many opportunities World Campus students have to engage with Penn State, enabling Llompart Quirós to become not only an alumni ambassador, but also a World Campus student blogger and member of the World Campus Blue & White Society, the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society, and the Penn State Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

“Jane Ireland gave me priceless information and advice when I was still a prospective student and was by my side when I had to deal with the many challenges of my first semesters in a foreign university,” Llompart Quirós said.

He praised the assistance he received from all of his World Campus advisers, including Beth Brown and Courtney Karmelita. “My advisers have saved me countless times from a vast array of problems with their tireless and invaluable help throughout the semesters.”

Ireland said, “What I remember most about José is that he was not only interested in the academic aspects of Penn State, but also the community of Penn State. It was very important to him to know about all aspects of Penn State.” Ireland, who is now retired, added, “I guided José on the academic road to his degree and also provided him with a bridge to the greater Penn State experience.” They continue to keep in contact through social media.

Karmelita, who advised Llompart Quirós during his last two semesters, said, “World Campus students are not physically present on a Penn State campus, so to help them feel connected and like a Penn Stater, it’s important they have the opportunities to be involved.”

Penn State World Campus graduate José poses with university administrators.

Graduating with high distinction

“I really enjoyed commencement,” said José Llompart Quirós. “The ceremony was simply amazing, very touching, and perfectly organized." José, second from left, stands with World Campus and Alumni Association administrators.

Image: Penn State

"Visiting for graduation is emotional. It gives you the opportunity to meet in person with those who have made a difference in your academic path." —José Llompart Quirós

Touching Down in State College 

Llompart Quirós met both Ireland and Karmelita in person when he made his first visit to Penn State last December to participate in commencement, where he graduated with High Distinction.

“I really enjoyed commencement,” said Llompart Quirós. “The ceremony was simply amazing, very touching, and perfectly organized. For someone who was raised in a different academic system and environment, as the Spanish, more discreet and lacking in such huge celebrations or ceremonies, my graduation ceremony at Penn State also had elements of a very positive cultural shock.”

One day, he may return to enroll in Penn State Law’s master of laws program. "During my visit [to the Lewis Katz Building during commencement weekend], I donated to the library a book about Spanish law," Llompart Quirós said. "I guess that means that until I am able to fulfill the unaccomplished dream of earning that LL.M. degree, a small part of me is already in The Dickinson School of Law library!"

In the meantime, Llompart Quirós will continue to be connected with Penn State, wearing the colors proudly as a World Campus Alumni Ambassador.
 

Penn State World Campus is Penn State—online.

Since 1892, students have been able to complete a Penn State education without traveling to a physical campus. Over the years, distance education options have evolved to include technology-enhanced learning experiences. 

Penn State World Campus online courses are the same courses that we offer on campus, and the diplomas earned look no different from the one earned by students on our physical campus. It will not differentiate the method of delivery or state that your degree was earned online.

The World Campus opened its virtual doors in January 1998, with 41 students enrolled in five academic programs. By 2012, nearly 12,000 students from every state, the District of Columbia, three territories, and 72 countries were enrolled.

In collaboration with Penn State’s academic colleges, the World Campus offers more than 90 graduate, undergraduate, and professional education programs.