Drafting a Fresh Start
When Lee Jones left Georgia Tech in the 1960s without finishing his degree, he always regretted it.
“I had no direction,” said Jones. “By my junior year, I’d had three different majors and still didn’t know what I wanted to do.”
His interests leaned towards architecture and engineering, so he began part-time employment in that field. Despite working in his field of interest, Jones still felt something was missing.
“My wife and I discussed it, and we decided to become missionaries,” said Jones.
Jones spent 26 years as a missionary in Hiroshima, Japan. Combined with his missionary work, Jones taught part of the six-year program required for English at Hiroshima University and Hiroshima Mercantile Marine University.
“They know minute details of our grammar system that even native speakers neglect because the program is not generally taught by people who speak English,” he said. “The program is based more in writing comprehension than verbal speech.”
After returning to the U.S. in February 2000, Jones decided to seek employment in his original field of interest, engineering. He has worked for UWG’s Campus Planning and Development for 10 years.
“I am in charge of the campus drawings and the cold files,” said Jones. “Those are the old prints of the campus.”
Over the last few years, Jones had pondered returning to school and finishing his education.
“I had mentioned to Amy Shoemaker in admissions that I was interested in possibly taking some classes here,” he said. “When I came to see her two weeks later, she informed me that my classes would begin the next day.”
Jones is now a global studies major, juggling classes around his 40-hour work week.
“You have to study,” he said. “Studying keeps the brain active. I’m a firm believer in that.”
Despite his rigorous schedule, he has set his sights on the finish line.
“My first goal was to finish, to graduate,” said Jones. “The first time around I didn’t earn my diploma and now I have a chance to rectify that.”
Once he has met his goal of graduation, Jones is pondering extending his time in academia.
“I’m thinking about carrying on with my master’s, but I’m not sure what I would study,” he said.
Jones, who is nearly 74, proves that it is never too late to earn a college education.
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