“The Legend” Gary Pollard Receives Long-Awaited History Degree from NKU

“The Legend” Gary Pollard Receives Long-Awaited History Degree from NKU
Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko, NKU

By Tom Ramstetter
NKU Marketing + Communications

Gary Pollard took every history class he could during his time as a student at Northern Kentucky University — including nearly every class Dr. François Le Roy taught.

“He might have actually minored in me,” Dr. Le Roy joked.

Gary did receive his Bachelor of Arts in history from President Geoffrey Mearns Friday, Sept. 19, in a private ceremony held in Mr. Mearns’s office. Gary’s wife Carol, his daughter Jennifer, Dr. Le Roy, Vice Provost Pat Moynahan, and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Sue Ott Rowlands were among several in attendance.

Illness has kept Gary off campus since 2009. He earned more than enough credit hours for his degree, but was never actually able to apply for graduation. Gary was able to receive his degree through Project Graduate and his wife Carol’s efforts.

Project Graduate is a statewide initiative to assist adult learners who have accumulated 80 credit hours to return to finish their first bachelor’s degree.

“We’re delighted that we had this opportunity, though belated, to confer this degree on you,” President Mearns said as he handed Gary his degree.

Carol was instrumental in making it happen.

“March of this year, he was told he wouldn’t be here come this coming March,” Carol said. “A couple months ago, it just really kept weighing on me … his degree. I started the ball rolling and here we are.”

Friends, peers, and his professors came to know Gary as “The Legend” while he amassed 245 credit hours at NKU.

“That’s because I was old,” Gary joked.

He also was a student worker for WNKU and the Office of Information Technology and came to know many of the people on campus.

“In 2009, I just walked off and never got a chance to come back,” Gary said.

Gary joked that he was afraid of getting another parking ticket. But declining health took him away from campus.

“It became difficult to read the textbooks and look at stuff online,” Gary says. “I had finally reached enough credit hours in the classes to get the degree, so it was time to go.”

It was time to come back Friday for a very special occasion.

“Graduation is always a special day for us,” President Mearns said.

Find out more about Project Graduate at http://adultlearner.nku.edu/projectgraduate.html

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Gary Pollard received his Bachelor of Arts in history from NKU President Geoffrey Mearns Friday, Sept. 19, in a private ceremony held in Mr. Mearns’s office.

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Garry Pollard shared a hug with Dr. François Le Roy, the interim director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, after receiving his degree Friday, Sept. 19. Gary took many of Dr. Le Roy's history classes while at NKU.