Plenty of older students make their way back to college to get a degree. But how many join a fraternity? Or the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society? Play intramural football? Storm the court after a big basketball victory at the John Paul Jones Arena as a member of the ’Hoo Crew?
Jerry Reid did all that, and more. On May 18, at age 70, he will attain his ultimate goal: Pick up a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
That sort of turn in life draws some attention, and he’s told his story over and over, including articles in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the University of Virginia Magazine: How he was a frequent visitor to Grounds back in the 1960s, hanging out with a student friend, the late William Lloyd Sturman, but never thought he could enroll; how he married a woman he met at a U.Va, fraternity party and life swept him up in different pursuits for more than four decades; and how, in 2009, he stopped in to a pavilion garden during a stop-over from a business trip and resolved to find a way to get his degree.
“I got so far from higher education that I couldn’t even see it over the horizon,” he told the New York Times. “And then one day in 2009 I said, ‘I believe I can do this.’”
As it turns out, he was right.
Read more about Jerry Reid in the Wall Street Journal (March 28, 2014; subscription required), the New York Times (March 12, 2013), the Huffington Post (March 15, 2013, including video from a Campus Insider interview the day after Reid stormed the court at JPJ when the Cavalier men’s basketball team upset Duke University) and U.Va. Magazine.