Odessa College-“Harvard on the Hill”

Written by Benjamin Franklin

 I attended “Harvard on the Hill” in 65 & 66. It was, a complete failure, to say the least. A repudiation, which I never forgot. The Dean of the college remarked on my behalf, that I “was not college material”. I was put on scholastic probation, wherein Vada Sykes, was dutifully notified, in the Spring of 66. It was a literal “kiss of death” by the Draft Board, that I had been inducted into the Army, and received my draft notice. Thank you Vada, because I knew that I would be going instead of George Bush, Jr. Now the Dean of Students was himself a graduate of Texas A&M, and the reason I know that, I saw his college ring, as he was picking his nose, in our interview. True Story.. In 1966, the USNavy had a program named “Choice not Chance”, where I enlisted into the Navy(instead of going into the Army and straight to VN) in August of 1966. The irony does not stop there. In 1968 I was due a change of billet, and was assigned as a field corpsman/medic in country Viet Nam, and spent the entire year of 1969 getting my ass shot at, and escaping w/ my life out of there in Jan 1970, when I was discharged from active duty.

In 1970, I enrolled in the fall semester @ University of Texas, Austin, paid my tuition and books and was doing well in school. Just one hitch, the VA never fulfilled their obligation to help me economically, and for lack of funds had to drop out for the 2nd try at college. In the winter of 1970, I moved to Dallas and went to work for Blue Cross/Blue Shield (People helping People was their slogan), as a major medical claims supervisor trainee, and spent the next three years saving my money for the final attempt. Persistence has a way of getting things done. So, in the Spring of 1973, I quit BC/BS and went to Mountainview College in Dallas, and then onto to UT Arlington, in 1974.

Although it took three attempts @ college, the 3rd stuck, wherein I put myself through college w/ the help of my savings and the GI BILL in 1973. I graduated from the University of Texas, Arlington, BS in Biology&Chemistry, in the top 10% of my class and was invited to Graduate School in the summer of 1976. Thus ends a tale of “three times a charm”.

I always wanted to go to Texas Tech and be a red raider. John always wanted to go to UT. We just traded places.

One thought on “Odessa College-“Harvard on the Hill”

  1. What's in the Water April 10, 2021 / 11:34 pm

    By John McElligott:
    Ben I was a Corpsman with the Marines in Nam. Read some of the stories on the blog. It to me 10 schools, starting at Odessa, before I graduated from NTSU in Denton TX in 1971 and Duke University in Durham NC in 1974, UT Knoxville TN in 1983, Yale School of Medicine in Griffin Hospital 1969. So we have a lot in common. Plus, I was getting drafted by the Army and joined the Navy May of 64.

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