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At 68, Tech alum starts a law career

May 7, 2015

 

RACHEL MAXWELL
Staff Reporter

 

The average college student changes his or her major three times. Bill Ward changed his mind three times, too; it just took him a little longer than most. After 50 years and three career changes, Ward returned to Tech to visit the campus where he started.

 

In the summer of 1964, Ward came to Louisiana Tech University to begin his engineering education. However, by the end of 1965, he had left Tech to attend United States Military Academy at West Point, which launched his 20-year Army career, where he served as an officer.

 

“Luckily I finished my engineering degree,” he said. “Because after I retired from the military, those were the only jobs I could find.”

 

Ward then began his career as an engineer, working mostly in Columbus, Georgia.

 

“I did engineering work for about 20 years,” he said. “In December of 2010, I found myself on nobody’s payroll, virtually debt-free, and with a lot of time on my hands.”

 

So, at 64 years old, Ward decided to pursue a lifelong dream of his.

 

“I contacted Mercer University to see if it was even remotely feasible for someone my age to enroll, and they said yes, that they had unconventional students all the time,” he said.

 

Currently awaiting his results on the bar  exam, Ward hopes to work for a law firm practicing elder law.

 

Until he receives his scores, Ward said he is using his free time to take trips back home to Louisiana. One such trip led him back to Tech’s campus, where he said he had many fond memories.

 

“If I had to make the choice again, I think I would opt for Tech,” Ward said.

 

During his return visit, Ward showed his appreciation to the people who he said helped him through his career transitions.

 

“I went to the Registrar’s office to thank them for the great support they had given me over the years in their prompt and competent response to transcript requests over the years, most recently for the Georgia Bar Admissions Office,” he said.

 

He also reminisced about the late Jimmie Howard Reynolds with Lawrence Gibbs,  assistant director of bands, and observed the changes around campus.

 

“I still recognize landmark buildings like Bogard Hall, and one of the dorms I lived in, Mitchell Hall, when I was here in 1964,” he said. “The old Hale Hall dorm that I lived in during the fall of 1964 has been torn down and replaced by Hale Hall admissions building.”

 

For the students attending Tech half a century after him, Ward has one piece of advice.

 

“I am always excited about the idea of learning something I didn’t know before,” he said. “Approach education as a life-long learning process; you’re never done, you’re never at an end.”

 

Email comments to ram049@latech.edu.

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