Submitted to the The Glendale News-Press on June 10, 2014
This Saturday I will be among the UCLA class of 2014 participating in our departmental commencement ceremonies at Royce Hall. In 1995 I was a senior at UCLA, and serving my seventh year as the Glendale Chamber of Commerce's Art Director. A part time student my entire tenure at the Chamber, they had always been very supportive of their employee's pursuing their education. I had been Alpha Gamma Sigma at Glendale Community College with a perfect 4.0 GPA, transfered to UCLA as an Honors Student, and was recruited by the Golden Key National Honors Society. My academic career looked bright, and my goal was to become a professor.
In 1995 incoming Chamber President Frank Quintero presented me a choice to resign my position or stop attending school. With no other means of financial support, I was left with no alternative but to drop out. I thought it would be temporary, and I'd find a way to return soon. I was baffled by Quintero's ultimatum since at the time he ran a 501C3 for Veterans called Alliance for Education. I was a U.S. Navy Veteran.
Eighteen years later I found myself with both daytime availability and the financial wherewithal to return to UCLA. On March 21, 2014 I was awarded a B.A. in Classical Civilization at the age of forty eight. I'm sure the trajectory of my life would have been quite different had I not been denied that opportunity earlier, but ultimately I was able to go back and finish. I was just featured in the graduation edition of the Daily Bruin, and I am currently in enrollment process at Peoples College of Law.