Morgantown Navy veteran earns degree 30 years after dropping out

MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - You can probably think back to one of your proudest moments.

For a man from Morgantown, one of his biggest dreams came true on Sunday. He graduated from WVU about 30 years after he dropped out as a 19-year-old kid.

Tim Wolfe grew up in Morgantown. He's a 1988 graduate of University High School. Like many, he had a goal.

"I wanted to be the next Edward R. Murrow," said Wolfe.

After studying broadcast journalism at WVU right out of high school, he quickly realized he wanted to do something else.

"I was just done," he said. "I had hit that 19 year old way of thinking, well, I already know everything in the world, so I'm just done. So I dropped out."

He worked various jobs in fast food until a friend came back from boot camp and quickly inspired Wolfe to consider serving his country.

"Went into the Navy, went to boot camp in February of 92 and 20 years later I wound up retiring."

While serving in the Navy, he had the opportunity to live in different parts of the country and experience different parts of the world.

"Might as well say I got around the world twice," he said.

While he proudly served his country, he always knew he wanted to find his way back home.

"I wanted to finish but as life happened, I didn't know when it was going to happen."

"There was always that nagging thing that ok, there has to be more than this. Something's missing. I want to do more, but I can't do more without that degree."

He realized employees wanted to see the post-high school education. Through this move and deciding to go back to school, others were taking note.

"I was making my son proud, I knew I was making my dad proud, but most of all I was making myself proud."

Through online classes, studying, and on campus classes, there were a few moments when he realized he accomplished what he always wanted.

"When we stood up to sing Country Roads at the end -- oo that's when it hit me."

Wolfe said his message to those who might be considering a post-high school education is that if you have the desire and want to do it -- you need to do it. He's hoping to pursue a career now in teaching either history or social studies.