CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA — May is typically a month of college graduations in the United States. But this year’s college graduation at one Virginia School featured an unusual graduate, someone you would not recognize as a student.
Years ago, he would have blended in as one of them. Now, he looks different. But strangely, Jerry Reid does fit in.
Reid is a 70-year-old senior at the University of Virginia, but his age is easy to forget.
Reid is an energetic member of the "Hoo Crew," the student cheering section at games.
Fellow classmates say they can talk to him about anything.
This was Jerry Reid back in his 20s…racing cars and chasing girls. Back then, his friend Bill invited him to parties at UVA.
“Bill Sturman told me what a screwup I was that there was no way I’d ever make anything out of my life unless I came up here and went to school with him,"said Reid.
That was back in 1963. Jerry says it took him 48 years to take that advice. And in 2011, he enrolled as a college student.
For his last exam before graduation, Reid spoke about Civil War General Stonewall Jackson.
Jerry Reid leaves behind his mark on UVA. Professor Luke Wright:
“He certainly opened the minds of the 18 through 21-year-olds that life does not end at 40," said Wright.
Instead it can be the beginning of a dream.
“Remember that path that you left waits for you. It’s there. It’s yours. All you gotta do is get out of your own way and get back to it. And, that’s exactly what I did," said Reid.
Reid says he and his wife Susan will now take some time to enjoy his college degree. Then, he’ll return to UVA. To get a masters degree.