FORT COLLINS, Colo. — On Saturday, an 81-year-old man finished the college degree he started more than six decades ago.
William “Bill” Webster walked across the stage at the College of Agricultural Sciences on the Colorado State University campus to receive his Bachelor of Sciences degree during the university’s 2014 spring commencement ceremony.
While Webster is quite the experienced politician and business man — he served in the Colorado House of Representatives from 1998 to 2001 and as a Weld County commissioner-at-large from 1990 to 1998 — the 81-year-old never had the chance to complete his undergrad degree that he started in 1951 at CSU, which was then called Colorado A&M.
“I really think I short changed myself by not getting a college degree,” Webster said.
In an interview posted to the CSU website, Webster said his parents had always stressed the importance of a college degree while he was growing up. But when Webster entered the business world at a young age, he found it difficult to keep up with his collegiate studies.
A year and a half ago, Webster decided his schedule had opened up enough and it was time to go back to school.
“My wife has two college degrees, and my children also have college degrees,” Webster said. “Since my wife Sylvia said I can’t have one of her degrees, I figured it was time to get my own.”
He worked with emeritus professor of animal sciences David Ames to create a curriculum that would fit his needs as a professional, academic and family man.
The program involved a combination of courses near his home in Greeley, CSU on-campus classes and earned “life experience” credits.
Webster said he was able to utilize a lot of his life and work experience throughout the process, and even led some of the animal science courses based on his time in the feedlot industry.
“Bill’s degree truly demonstrates that learning is a lifelong process,” said Animal Sciences Department head Kevin Pond. “I am proud that our department and CSU were able to play a part in helping Bill complete a degree that he began so long ago and to add to his many accomplishments.”