When Jerry Reid finds something he loves, he doesn’t hold back. Irresistibly drawn to auto racing, he competed at tracks like Watkins Glen, Charlotte, and Daytona, driving Pintos, Porsches, or any vehicle he could get his hands on. Passionate about baseball, he founded a senior baseball league in Richmond so he could continue to play. And now at age 69, having decided to realize his lifelong dream of attending UVA, he is a Wahoo’s Wahoo.
“I was in Charlottesville a few years ago and was sitting in a garden behind the East Lawn,” he recalls. As a nonstudent in the 1960s, Reid had come to UVA for party weekends and met wife of 44 years, Susan, at a Chi Phi fraternity party. “I had always been on the outside of UVA looking in,” he says. “Sitting there, I realized how much I wanted to be part of this place.”
A Google search led him the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS)
program offered by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The staff guided him as he took the community college courses needed for an associate’s degree, and he enrolled at UVA in fall 2011.
Reid threw himself into the college experience. He initiated in Chi Phi and successfully competed for a highly coveted membership in the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. He started two flag football teams and played intramural softball. And he had been elected a judge on the student-run University Judiciary Committee. “I was determined to have as typical an undergraduate experience as possible,” he says. “I see my job as opening doors for other BIS students.”
At the same time, Reid had immersed himself in his studies, having chosen to concentrate in the humanities. “My BIS professors are as entertaining as they are erudite,” he says. He’s also enjoyed his elective poetry course with traditional UVA students. “When you’re united by your love of poetry and writing,” he notes,” age differences fall away.”
Best of all, Reid’s experiences as a student have led to his next new goal. He’s considering pursuing a master’s in fine arts in creative writing or enrolling in the bachelor/master of teaching program at the Curry School of Education.