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Namath back at Alabama
to Receive Degree

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Broadway Joe was back on campus, finally getting a diploma to go with his football accolades.

Joe Namath, who won a national championship with the Crimson Tide in 1964 but quit school before going on to become a pro football great, returned to the University of Alabama on Friday to pick up the degree he earned 42 years later.

Namath completed a 30-hour program over the last five years to earn bachelor of arts degree in interdisciplinary studies. Bum knees aside, Namath will be one of 900 graduates to walk across the stage at Coleman Coliseum during commencement Saturday morning.

“It was fun, but it was hard,” Namath, 64, said at a news conference. “I had a very difficult time getting myself to sit down and spend the time (studying)”

Some university workers had an equally tough time keeping their mind on education when Namath was around.

Harriett Cabell Walker, one of Namath’s academic advisers, said female staff members went gah-gah the first time the old ball player walked into the office. And why not? Namath is still royalty in Alabama.

“I had to say, ‘Treat him like any other student.’ But everybody was asking him for pictures,” she said.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Namath came to Alabama to play for coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. He left Tuscaloosa early for New York, where he won the Jets’ starting quarterback job in his first season and was the AFL rookie of the year in 1965.

Known for his electric smile and shaggy hair, Namath opened a bar in Manhattan and delivered on his guaranteed win over the heavily favored Colts in the 1969 title game. That victory, as much as anything, cemented his reputation as a magician on the field.

After all that and more, Namath said he always regretted not finishing his degree, particularly because of a promise to his mother.

“It was a hole in my being, an empty spot, because I did tell someone I would finish,” he said.

Yet it was something else that finally pushed Namath back to school. His daughter Jessica, who also attended Alabama, mentioned a few years ago that she would be the first person in the family to earn a degree.

“That started the process of investigating how I would finish,” said Namath.

Namath enrolled in Alabama’s external degree program and began reading and writing papers at his own pace. He credited academic advisers and friends, including old teammates, with pushing him to finish the work.

Namath had a reputation for partying when he was in school the first time, and he readily admits he didn’t have much of a passion for learning. “I was focused on athletics, outdoors, sports,” he said.

Despite that, Walker said she was surprised to see Namath’s original grade transcripts when he first enrolled in the program.

“He did much better than I had expected,” she said. “I had heard all these things about him, but he’s a smart man.”

Namath said his grades were “certainly acceptable” the second time around, but he didn’t elaborate.

“I felt good about it. If I took the courses again I’d do better,” he said.

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It's Never too Late to Earn Your Degree

Office of the Registrar · 100 Grant Street, DePere, WI 54115 · (920) 403-3216

"It's never too late" can be heard when one looks back and questions a decision or a situation had in the past. While it may sound like just another optimistic quote to lift spirts, it really is true espically if you want to finsh your degree at St. Norbert College. Whether you have contacted us inquiring about finshing your degree or ceased attending SNC but are close to fullfilling graduation requirements, you may want to finsh your degree for employment reasons, career advancement or your own personal intentions.

Do not worry if you haven't been to school in a while - many of our returning students haven't stepped into a classroom for 5, 10 or 20 years! Even Joe Namath, who is a prized football player, claimed his degree 42 years after leaving the University of Alabama for a pro-football career. There is no question that Namath had a sucessful career without a degree, he claims that he always regretted not getting a degree because he had made a promise to his mother that he would graduate. He even admits that he was more interested in the sports and partying aspect of school rather than the studying part. But at the age of 64, he will walk across at the stage at the University of Alabama receiving a degree and fulfilling a life-long promise. It's never too late rang true for Joe Namath and it may ring just as easily for you!

While Namath finshed his degree, we do realize that it may not be practical or affordable for everyone. If you attended SNC for 8 semesters and were a full time student your senior year then the College's senior residency requirement is fulfilled. Also, if your cumulative GPA is above 2.000 you can take your needed courses at another instition with advanced approval from our office to transfer them back and fulfil your degree. Working for your degree is a commitment - one that is not only rewarding but also meaningful.

Whatever your situation is, we are here to help because we want you to finsh your degree as well. If you need assistance or would like to discuss completion options or transferability of courses please contact us at 920-403-3216.

We are also online. To find ways to on how to complete your degree, please follow this link: Degree Completion Options

We hope that you make the commitment to complete your SNC degree. If you need assistance or would like to discuss completion options or transferability of courses please contact me at 920-403-3216.

Office of the Registrar

Phone: (920) 403-3216
Fax: (920) 403-4035

St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099