I graduated from Baylor University in 1983, but I didn’t actually find out about it until 1984.
But the story begins well before that time, in 1979. I came to Baylor on a music composition scholarship offered by Dr. Richard Willis, who conducted the all-area orchestra that I had been selected for during my senior year in high school. In all honesty, I didn’t even know that I had applied for the scholarship—I had been writing and arranging music for a few years, and my high-school orchestra director arranged for me to meet privately with Dr. Willis to show him some of my work. We chatted briefly, and I was really surprised a few months later to receive a letter informing me that I had won “The Baylor Composition Scholarship.” After a campus visit, I decided that’s where I would attend.
After a few years, I become discouraged with the music scene and switched majors to the far more lucrative English Language and Literature. Because of the switch in majors, I knew that I wouldn’t graduate in the spring of 1983, but I thought that I would be able to graduate in December. In the fall semester, I filed my “graduation card”—in essence, a statement of my intent to graduate that semester. This caused the administration to review my transcript and make certain that I was meeting the requirements. A few weeks later, the news was not good—in essence, the disallowed my music courses (except as electives) and told me that I needed 12 more hours of electives to graduate.
So, in the spring of 1984, I had signed up for four fairly easy courses as electives, and I once again filed my graduation card. A few weeks into the semester, I receive a call from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Glen,” he said, “are you sitting down?”
“Oh, crap,” I thought, “I’m going to be here for another year!”
Actually, what he said was, “Let me be the first to congratulate you on your graduation last December.” He then went on to explain that, after reviewing my transcript again, they had realized that it was only the music lessons that could not be counted as electives—all of the other music courses (some 36 hours) did count, and therefore, I had actually graduated a month or so earlier.
He was very nice, and offered to let me go immediately into grad school, which I did. That didn’t work out, unfortunately, but I’m still the only member of the Class of 1983 that didn’t find out about it until 1984.