Updated: Saturday, 18 Dec 2010, 10:10 PM CST
Published : Friday, 17 Dec 2010, 7:11 PM CST
GREEN BAY - This weekend about 300 people are participating in a graduation ceremony from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. For many, graduation was reaching a goal set four years ago, but for one Fox Valley man, it was a journey of more than four decades.
"When the economy went in the tank in December of 2008 I ended up getting laid off and could not find a job," explained David Trost. Trost is a Wisconsin native who has worked various jobs, and taken various college classes since graduating high school in 1965. He has been a software consultant and a systems specialist in customer service. When he lost his job two years ago, he sent out resumes. After a while, the responses became familiar:
"You're overqualified but you're under-educated," said Trost.
Earlier this year Trost decided to change the "under-educated" part. He transferred previous college credits, and enrolled in UWGB's adult access program.
Three semesters later, he earned his bachelor of applied science degree.
"I will never stop learning. And I don't believe any of us ever stop learning, whether it's formal education or informal education," Trost said.
"It's been growing like wildfire and I think this is probably true for most colleges and universities across the United States," explained Rob Tracy, UWGB Division of Outreach and Adult Access.
Tracy advised Trost in his education. He says in the last few years he's seen the average age of adult students increase. It used to be mid-30s.
"I have more students in their 50s now than I've ever had in my life," said Tracy. "And more of those students taking a full time load."
Tracy says people used to take a class or two, because they were working full time. But now, people like Trost have time to go to school full time, because of lack of work.
Trost continues to look for a job in customer service or logistics, and hopes the new addition to his resume will help.
"If you're thinking about it, do it," Trost advises others. "It's well worth it. I made up my mind many years ago, eventually I wanted a degree. I thought I'd have to wait until I was totally retired to get it. But it happened sooner than I thought it would. But still I always wanted the degree just to prove that I could do it."
Trost has a collage hanging up at home marking his high school graduation, his associates degree, and now his four-year college graduation at age 63.
"I hope I get a chance to use it," Trost says of his degree.