Higher Education – 1943-1950


THE WAY I REMEMBER IT

Yyyep, it took a while, but I suffered from a bad case of absenteeism.

It all happened this way. I graduated from Lampasas High School in the spring of 1943, and in a couple of weeks went on a visit to California . I stayed a month, and rode the Santa Fe back to Lubbock . There I enrolled in the second summer session in the School of Engineering at Texas Tech. Then in September, the fall session.

I was able to attend long enough to get credit for my courses before paying a visit to the Recruiting Station of the US Army in Downtown Lubbock. I was assigned to the Army Specialized Training Program at Tech and continued for another semester. Then it was off to Infantry Basic Training and the military until I could return from Europe after World War II. That was in July, 1946.

So…..after having spent over eighteen months in Europe , I was ready to stay a little closer to home. I chose the University of Texas at Austin , and entered in September with the help of my G.I. Bill tuition money. This time I chose the School of Business , even though it meant losing some of the credits from Engineering School at Tech. So I entered school as not quite a sophomore—meaning that I had three years and a little more to go.

I would characterize my next three years in class as “unspectacular.” Perhaps some of the classes themselves were unspectacular since the university had blossomed from about 9,000 to 18,000 after the war. The returning veterans wanted an education.

Fortunately, I had no trouble finding friends. I had immediately gone to the nearest Mo. Synod Lutheran Church , joined their youth organization, the Walther League, and was welcomed. I now had fifty friends. From them I learned that there was a similar organization made up of University students, called Gamma Delta. I signed on, and there were another fifty friends. It was even better than being at Copperas Cove !

Since I needed some money to live on, I looked for a summer job. Someone suggested taking a ninety-day tour of active duty in the Army Reserve. I checked on it, and they said OK. Best of all, it was all office duty in Downtown Austin. Since I was a Staff Sergeant, it paid more money than most summer student jobs. I advanced to Tech Sergeant, then to Second Lieutenant, so the pay got even better. It was great “duty”, and even paid off later.

I completed my last exam at UT, earning a Bachelor of Business Administration, on January 28, 1950, and married Helen that evening. What a great day!

Vic Mathias - August 19, 2003

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March 1982