A College Degree, 30 Years in the Making

Friday, May 10, 2019

by Carly Montecalvo '19

Thirty years ago, there was no iPhone.

Thirty years ago, a gallon of gas cost 97 cents.

And thirty years ago, Anthony McGough started school at Saint Joseph’s University as an accounting major.

And now, 30 years later, McGough will graduate as a member of the class of 2019 with a degree in business administration.

“I am surprised to be done,” says McGough. “It feels weird to think that I don’t have any more classes to take.”

McGough began his freshman year at SJU during the fall of 1989, living on campus on a partial academic scholarship. He ended up dropping out during his sophomore year, and has since taken every type of class possible — full time, part time, evening and online — in order to finish his degree.

On May 18, his work will reach its culmination when he walks across the commencement stage, with his wife, Terry, and three children looking on.

“My family has all been proud and supportive, especially my wife, she can't stop saying how proud she is,” says McGough. “That has really helped me in pushing through the times when a project or a paper was hanging over my head.”

McGough admits that getting restarted with school was difficult, but the support he received from the teaching staff over the years helped tremendously, especially when family and health issues arose.

“Taking classes as an adult feels more like a collaboration with the teachers,” McGough shares. “I believe they understand that as an adult you're there because you want to be, and not because you have to be.”

For the past 14 years McGough has been self employed as a telecom consultant, and feels that taking classes while working allowed for more real-world application, making him value his education more.

Upon graduation, McGough will join his oldest son Ryan as a college graduate, who earned his degree from Temple University.

McGough hopes his tenacity with his own schooling set a precedent for his family’s outlook on education.

“I hope that seeing me take classes made education a part of everyday life for my two younger kids,” he says.

McGough encourages everyone to continue what they started when pursuing a degree, even though it may be difficult to find time to read or study.

“Don't think about how many classes you have or how long it will take,” he says. “Just focus on one at a time and you'll get there.”

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