It took an army of friends and family to motivate me to finish my Bachelor of Arts degree in speech communications in 1985. I was 33 years old when I walked across the stage and am proof that you’re never too old to complete a secondary education.

I know that’s a long time to be in school, but I did take some breaks along the way to seek my fame and fortune as a disc jockey at a country/western radio station in Lubbock.

Anybody ever heard of Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News? I was a studio cameraman for a short time at the same television station where he worked as a reporter in the late ’70s.

I never reached the fame or fortune level, but it did help me realize where I would be stuck for the rest of my life if I didn’t do something to improve myself.

I also had a 2-year old son to think about when I finally made the decision to go back to school and finish my degree, in addition to my wife, who had given me 10 years to get the degree.

I took 15, but the final reward of a college diploma was just as sweet by taking the extra time.

I’ve always considered myself to be extremely blessed and the reasons for that are beyond my understanding, but I’m thankful.

The journey to a college degree was no exception. It did hold both blessings and challenges, but it made me a new person.

My wife was teaching school and was the bread-winner during the three years it took me to complete my participation in the academic world.

Straight out of high school, I headed north in 1970 to the city of Lubbock to attend Lubbock Christian College. Now it’s Lubbock Christian University. I made lots of friends and had a great time plus landing my first job in the radio business in 1971.

I tried to juggle school and work, but then my academics tanked. During that time, however, I did meet the lady I would eventually marry. There’s always a silver lining to every cloud.

She was the first on my list of encouragers to get my degree. There are three other people, Dr. Ken Dye, Dr. Don Williams, and my late brother, Sam, who got me started and kept me on the straight and narrow path. With their help I was able to never lose sight of the prize that awaited me.

I consider myself part Red Raider because I spent a couple of years at Texas Tech but then ended up where I began, at Lubbock Christian University.

The academic dean at LCU at the time was one my former professors, Dr. Don Williams. I walked into his office on bended knee and pleaded for mercy, as the transcript I held in my hand clearly showed a GPA that barely measured on the scale.

Dr. Williams looked at that transcript and immediately accepted my situation for what it was and even gave me credit for the classes I had taken at Texas Tech, saving me almost a year in getting my degree. He gave me a plan that would get me the degree and allow me to continue working. He told me if I would stay the course, I would be out in three years. Don Williams will always be my hero.

Then there was Dr. Ken Dye, the pulpit minister at the Broadway Church of Christ, where I led singing.

He was so passionate about my getting that degree that he convinced the church leadership to pay me for leading singing, which took a little edge off the financial burden. He is also my hero.

My other hero is my brother, Sam, who passed in 2014.

He never finished his college degree and was also passionate about my finishing because he didn’t want me ending up in the world he lived in.

He was a banker but his climb to the top was more than difficult.

Thanks for dropping the hints, Sam.

Don’t give up on dreams about your future. Mine came true and changed my life in ways that I never would have imagined.

Bob Massey is a Herald correspondent.

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