Perseverance pays off for nontraditional BGSU graduate

John Haver Jr. says he lost his focus on school during his junior year at BGSU. That was in 1978, when the North Royalton native embarked on a career as a journeyman tool and die/mold maker.

But in 1999, a tuition reimbursement program offered by his then-employer, Whirlpool Corp., brought Haver back to BGSU. Taking classes ever since, he will receive a bachelor’s degree in technology on May 6—nearly 31 years after he first came to campus.

“I wanted to finish my degree, set an example for my kids,” explains Haver, 55, now a rural Custar resident and tool room manager at Defiance Stamping Co. He and his wife, Kathleen, have a son, 16, and two daughters, 15 and 10.

After graduating from North Royalton High School in 1969, he entered the work force, then, in 1972, the Army, where he spent three years. Leaving the service in January 1975, he spent one quarter at Ohio Northern University before transferring to BGSU, where the cost, he recalled, was $27 per credit hour.

Haver started his schooling in industrial education but moved into technology when he returned because Whirlpool’s reimbursement program paid only for business-related courses. He was somewhat “terrified” at first, he said, and many of his credits from the 1970s were obsolete. But his work experience in the intervening years helped earn him waivers in a couple classes, and taking others one at a time in the semesters and summers since 1999 has brought him to the doorstep of a degree.

“I’m sure they’ll be glad to get rid of me,” joked Haver, who will graduate during 1 p.m. ceremonies May 6 in Anderson Arena, in BGSU’s Memorial Hall. He plans to remain at Defiance Stamping afterward but will also start teaching his trade part time at Northwest State Community College in Archbold.
May 1, 2006