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Fall 1971                      College Coursework.  Rutgers UniversityI left high school in October of 11th grade to work full-time for my step-father’s construction business.  My mother finished eighth grade and both my father and step-father did not go beyond sixth grade, so it was not unexpected that I had very little interest in school.  At age 18 I accidentally snipped off my left thumb with a skill saw.  A cousin (wrongly) convinced me that I could never be a carpenter without a thumb, and that I better go to college.  She helped get me into a GED program, and then admitted to Rutgers.  She talked me into majoring in Political Science.  I found it extremely boring, besides not having any study skills and getting so far behind by the middle of the 2nd semester that I just decided to leave.


Summer 1972               Tutored in Philosophy.  Paris.  I didn’t like Political Science, but I found the little taste of philosophy that came with it fascinating.  I had read an out-of-date copy of How to Live in Europe on $5.00 a Day.   I thought that was definitely the place to go learn philosophy.  I would receive $60.00 a week for another year from workmen’s comp for my thumb, so the math worked (I was not informed enough at the time to check the date of a book). I ended up living with an actress who was 12 years older and way smarter than I was.  We would constantly argue about philosophy and she would always win.   I realized I had to go home and go back to college and really study this time.


1972-1974                    College Coursework.  Burlington County Community College, NJI came home, worked full-time and started college part-time, and soon switched to full-time.  I went year round and by the summer of 1974 earned enough credits for an associate’s degree, concentrating initially in philosophy and later (because I had to work in the biology lab for my financial aid) in biology.  I did not stay around to get the degree, because my two favorite professors and the president of the college talked me into applying as a transfer student to Princeton.  I was getting straight A’s, my professors thought that I wrote well and I had been working on a genetics experiment with the fruit flies that I cared for in the biology lab for about a year.  I did not seriously consider whether I had an adequate preparation for Princeton; I just applied out of complete naiveté—I had no idea at the time that most parents bred their kids for Ivy League schools like horses are bred in Ocala for the Triple Crown!


1978                             Batchelor of Arts.  Princeton University.  More than the writing sample and the straight A’s from a community college, the dean of admissions, in our interview, said I was accepted primarily on the basis of the personal interview they made me have with a professor in their biology department, because they weren’t sure how much weight to give to my genetics experiment.  She said I would be the first student in Princeton’s history to transfer from a community college and the second high school dropout (the first was in the 1700’s).  He told her that I was doing graduate level research on my own, unsupervised, in population genetics.  I had been borrowing scholarly periodicals from both Princeton’s library and Rutgers’s while at the community college, and had somehow came up with a paradigm for my experiment that was similar to one that the Princeton professor was doing himself.  He was not only impressed, but flattered as well.  Then it was all downhill from there.  They had two kinds of C’s at Princeton, one for the rich kids, the “gentleman’s C,” that they gave so that they wouldn’t lose the parents’ donations.  Then they had the “crazy C,” which they gave if they couldn’t ascertain whether your term paper was so far “up there,” but beyond their comprehension, that it deserved an A, or so far “out there” that it deserved an F.   I was a C-average student.  By my senior year I was doing remodeling for the eating clubs and for professors almost full-time.  I got an A on my senior thesis, but I had to make up two elective classes whose finals I flunked.  I read the assignments and felt well prepared, but the finals were based on the extra reading, which I was too busy with remodeling to read.   When I saw the movie Seabiscuit years later, I knew how that poor horse must have felt on that track with all those thoroughbreds.  I couldn’t wait to get out of there and back to construction.


1980-1982                    College Coursework.  Albany State College.  Albany, Ga.  While in Albany I took three upper level classes, registered as a post-bac student, two in accounting and one in economics.  Straight A’s.


1984                             Preparation class for Florida GC exam.    After prep class I scored a 96.5 on state exam.  Kept license until 1998.  Numerous continuing education classes for license holders.


1991-1992                    College Coursework.  Univ. of North Florida.  I took 3 upper level classes, registered as a post-bac student, in construction management, Materials & Methods, Building Construction & Design and Risk Management.  Straight A’s.


2011                               I have a current Virginia Class A General Contractor License.