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My GRCC Story: Ron Moore collects a degree he didn't realize he earned 20 years ago

May 24, 2022, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – At 48, Ron Moore has a good life: A loving wife, a supportive family and a thriving photography studio in Holland. But something always gnawed at him.

“I never finished up my associate degree,” said Moore, who studied photography 20 years ago at Grand Rapids Community College. “They added some new requirements to the degree program. At that time, I was already working full time as a photographer and I was getting married. The degree just got back-burnered.”

He began married life with his wife, Jennifer, and her son, Sam. Moore worked as a photographer’s assistant for several more years before opening his own business, Photo Op Studio, in 2005.

Still, it gnawed at him.

Fast-forward two decades to March. On a whim, Moore stopped by the new GRCC Lakeshore Campus in Holland to see just how many credits he still needed to earn his degree.

Academic Advisor Kristie Kozub, who happened to be Moore’s classmate at West Ottawa High School, delivered the happy news on the spot.

“Apparently, I had been sitting on 62 credits for almost 20 years,” Moore said. “Kristie explained I already had enough credits to graduate and could have done it a long time ago. It was crazy.”

On April 29, Moore donned his blue cap and gown, walked across the stage at GRCC’s commencement and happily accepted his long-awaited diploma.

“My mom is alive and healthy, and I wanted her to see me walk. But I also wanted to do it for myself because it’s important to finish what you start,” he said.

“It took a lot of discipline back then going to college and working my butt off full-time. But that discipline helped sculpt me into the person I am today – and I’m proud of that.”

This story was reported by Beth McKenna. Photo by Steve Jessmore.

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