Thankful for the Opportunity to Begin Anew: Spotlight on Keith Taylor, ‘12
11/23/12 9:21 AM
By Mike Lesczinski, Excelsior Life News Staff
Turning 50 years old is an important milestone in any individual life. Most see it as moment worthy of celebration and reflection upon half century of life’s work. Keith Taylor, the 2012 Ewald B. Nyquist Award winner, saw it as an opportunity to begin anew.
As an office supply salesman, he saw the writing on the wall for his industry some time ago, as paper ceded market share to the electronic revolution. Two of the companies Keith worked at were bought out, another went bankrupt. A fourth resorted to massive layoffs to stay afloat. Keith knew he needed to retrain, to become a better-rounded and educated employee. Going back to school was his only option.
Those in his church discouraged him. His wife remained hesitant over cost concerns – student debt was a mainstay on the evening news after all. Even he had to overcome his own doubts: at his age, would a degree even matter? But overcome he did. His wife and son eventually became his biggest cheerleaders, the latter always there to offer words of encouragement the night before a big exam.
He knew it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Because he needed to continue working, Keith planned to earn his degree at his own pace, exam by exam, credit by credit, degree by degree until his dream was fully realized. He used Excelsior College Examinations and those from DANTES, CLEP and to make his dream come true.
His first exam was on the Civil War, a topic he knew well, but he remained unsure whether his knowledge would translate to testing. Translate it did, and quite well. Keith earned an ‘A’ and college credit for the knowledge he had obtained outside the classroom. From then on, he never looked back. He earned an associate degree from Excelsior College in 2010. But that wasn’t enough for Keith. He understood that to truly compete in the 21st Century economy he needed a bachelor’s degree. Exams were once again his chosen pathway.
Even after the economic downturn cost him his job, he persevered, eventually completing all of his course requirements for a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies on New Year’s Day, 2012.
“It was a great New Year’s Day celebration for my family…the accomplishment of my bachelor’s degree was the realization of a dream and the achievement of a vision.”
It was also an affordable journey. Because of the low-cost of the exams, Keith graduated this past July with zero college debt. On July 13, he will walk across the stage to receive his diploma as his wife of 37 years and son proudly cheer him on from the crowd as they have so many times before.
And with a degree in hand, he knows the future is bright. He’s already received offers from several Midwestern-based companies near his home in northwest Indiana.