When Cal Ebey ’08, M.S. ’10, was laid off from his network engineering job and told he’d have to reapply for work at his Seattle company, he found out he wasn’t qualified because he didn’t have a bachelor’s degree. Although he was in his 40s with four school-aged children, he went back to school.

After getting his associate’s degree, he relocated his family to the Midwest and started working on a bachelor’s in computer systems technology at Illinois State. Focused on his GPA, he graduated magna cum laude.

“I felt I needed to achieve academic success to not only be a role model for my children, but to serve as one to the much younger students I attended classes with,” he said.

Cal received a merit scholarship.

“Receiving the scholarship inspired me to strive for excellence even more. After all, it’s not every day a middle-aged man with a family would even dream of attending a university.”

He went on to get his master’s and joined Granite Broadcasting as information technology manager. And, he made a pledge to ISU’s Scholarship Fund.

“I firmly believe in that,” he said. “I faced a lot of challenges, even criticism from my peers saying I was too old to go to school. But it was something I wanted to do and it was a wonderful experience for me.”