Hard work, not bribes, key to college education

March 19, 2019

Never has education been more available, more democratic than it is today.

This is not to say that inequities do not exist. They do. College still is far too expensive.

But colleges and universities today go out of their way to recruit students. Aid is available. Dozens of well-meaning charitable groups and clubs offer scholarships. Those scholarships often are announced in these pages.

Today, too, information — the lifeblood of education — is open. A person with a cellphone and library card has more facts and data available to him or her, within days and minutes, than an atomic scientist did during World War II. Never have people been more free to pick their profession, or to build a business from scratch.

And education really is dependent on each individual. You can go to the Ivy League and loaf your way through life. You can go to any other college but succeed because you are a determined individual. This is what makes the national cheating scandal so amazing. You can bribe someone to take the test for you, but ultimately, someone will discover you don’t know your stuff. You can bribe the crew coach to recruit you, but some day, you will have to get in the boat yourself.

There are lists, accessible on the internet, of the 50 highest paid executives and where they went to college. For sure, there are lots with ties to Harvard (Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook); Princeton (Jeff Bezos of Amazon); and Penn (Warren Buffett and Elon Musk).

But Apple’s Tim Cook went to Auburn. Disney’s Bob Iger went to Ithaca. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella went to Wisconsin. Nike’s Mark Parker went to Penn State.

You can find a similar list for the nation’s presidents. We have had five from Harvard, three each from Princeton and Yale and two from West Point. But Ronald Reagan went to Eureka College. Harry Truman studied at Spalding’s Commercial College.

Build character. Hit the books. Take every opportunity to learn — learn what’s in the books and from those around you. Whine less. Work more. You can succeed.