Eric Schweitzer put in additional than 31 several hours decorating his graduation cap this calendar year.
The cap – weighing in at far more than 2 lbs – options a assortment of elaborations representing his bachelor’s diploma in studio arts: Pencils and paint brushes for shade composition, a roll of movie for pictures and a phony skull to depict muscle mass tone drawing. The cap also offers a College of Akron flag and navy and blue beads that ended up painstakingly spaced evenly aside. You can find also nondegree-related items, these kinds of as “Hazard Significant Voltage” streamers and a sign that reads “Inhalation Hazard” to stand for dangerous materials, a person of his other passions.
Schweitzer has experienced loads of observe decorating graduation caps. This is the sixth degree – and fifth embellished graduation cap – at the University of Akron for the 49-year-old Canton resident. The university held its in-particular person commencement ceremony for its graduates final month.
Schweitzer is 1 of only 23 people to make at the very least 6 degrees from the University of Akron, which has nearly 180,000 alumni around the world. He has attained three affiliate levels, two bachelor’s degrees and a single master’s diploma above the span of 25 yrs.
Schweitzer has taken a training course in just about every self-control, other than polymer science. His focuses have been in the places of artwork and hearth security but he’s even taken regulation and style courses.
Schweitzer already is considering about how he’ll beautify his upcoming graduation cap. He’s performing on a bachelor’s degree in ceramics, as very well as a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
“My mind feels as good as when I was in my 20s,” he stated.
With 7 degrees, Schweitzer would be one particular of only 10 folks to attain the milestone. With eight levels, he would be one of four people.
According to the University of Akron’s registrar, the most degrees acquired by just one pupil is 10.
Schweitzer is a McKinley High College graduate
Schweitzer, a 1990 McKinley High School graduate, remaining substantial college seeking to be both a thoracic cardiovascular surgeon or a graphic designer.
He grew to become interested in cardiovascular thoracic operation, even getting guides on coronary heart and belly anatomy as a teenager, right after doing the job as a golf caddy at Congress Lake Nation Club for a then-neighborhood thoracic surgeon.
“I would’ve long gone to clinical faculty, but I imagined, ‘I’m likely to be in debt for the relaxation of my life,’” Schweitzer recalled. “… With what I’m executing now, I could’ve gotten my M.D. and Ph.D.”
The arts also appeared like a extra organic match for Schweitzer, who also caddied for a nearby graphic designer. His relatives is entire of creative relations and Schweitzer loved attending classes at the Canton Art Museum as a child, specifically enjoying the classes where by they would glaze objects.
Shortly immediately after enrolling at the College of Akron, Schweitzer understood graphic style wasn’t for him. He deemed it too professional. Rather, he fell in enjoy with 3-dimensional art and acquiring items where he could get his hands soiled. He started using programs in colour, sculpture and ceramics as a substitute.
He earned his very first degree, a bachelor’s in sculpture, in December 1996.
Though finding out about ceramics, Schweitzer turned intrigued in hearth from the gasoline kilns they employed to bake the ceramics. He commenced using hearth protection lessons and took on the obligation of manually firing and shutting off the kilns, having the position so severely that he from time to time opted to rest at the university so he could constantly watch the kilns.
He attained his second degree – an affiliate in fire defense engineering – in 1998.
Through his graduate scientific tests in 1999, Schweitzer started instructing hearth investigation solutions and became qualified in Hazardous Waste Operations and Unexpected emergency Response and in Weapons of Mass Destruction in both of those the recognition stage and the operations stage. He and an additional graduate student also aided the university’s then-emergency management professor create what is actually now the Centre for Emergency Administration and Homeland Security Plan Investigation.
Schweitzer earned his third degree – a learn of community administration – in December 2000.
‘The Professor’ goes to a new academy
Schweitzer then determined to put his school occupation on maintain and request a occupation. He applied for a variety of legislation enforcement positions, which include FBI, ATF and the Key Support, as well as positions at local fireplace departments, the place he needed to be a hearth investigator.
After a yearlong software procedure, he was selected for the Ohio State Freeway Patrol’s 139th Academy Course in spring 2001. At age 33, Schweitzer was the oldest cadet in the academy, which is a six-month motivation. His nickname was “The Professor.”
But Schweitzer’s patrol career finished before it even begun when just months just before his academy graduation, he read a crack and pop in his suitable knee through a running drill.
His knee sustained a far more than 2-inch anxiety fracture, torn ligaments and tendons.
“I often hated operating,” he explained. “I was devastated by what occurred.”
Schweitzer underwent arthroscopic knee operation two several years later and was placed on long lasting incapacity in 2007.
Returning to the University of Akron
A decade flew by just before Schweitzer, known by quite a few as the LeatherMan or VinylMan due to his wardrobe options, decided to return to the classroom.
It was a journey to the Canton Museum of Artwork that piqued his fascination in ceramics once again.
“It was just that smell (of the kilns),” he recalled. “You get that scent in your head and it introduced me back again to when I was at the College of Akron. I imagined, ‘My gosh. I pass up firing the kilns.’”
Schweitzer contacted his academic adviser to obtain out how several credits he desired to finish the ceramics diploma he experienced started roughly 20 yrs ago. He discovered that he only desired three innovative programs, and was only a handful of classes shy of ending two other affiliate degrees and a further bachelor’s degree.
Fiscally, Schweitzer also was in a great placement to restart his education and learning. He experienced compensated off around $15,000 of his student loans and, due to the fact of his long-lasting disability position, the Section of Education and Ohio Highway Patrol discharged the remaining $56,000 that he owed. He also had saved adequate funds to pay for his new classes without using out yet another mortgage.
Schweitzer enrolled in Could 2017 and attained his fire security technology certification in August 2017, adopted by his fourth diploma, an affiliate of arts, in December 2017 and his fifth degree, an affiliate of science, in 2018.
Levels 6, seven, 8
Amongst all those celebrating Schweitzer’s sixth degree final month were his parents, David and Karen Schweitzer. They’ve never ever missed a graduation ceremony – in significant college or college – for any of their three sons.
David Schweitzer mentioned he’s not shocked that Eric has become a lifelong university student. The loved ones usually experienced emphasized the price of instruction.
“To me, education was a single of the most important issues,” stated the elder Schweitzer, who has degrees in accounting and laptop or computer science. “At that time, the only way you could get together in the globe was to build your intellect and get as substantially education and learning as you could.”
This drop, Eric Schweitzer will be using an independent analyze program, where by he ideas to look at the work of sculptor Mark di Suvero, whose “Eagle Wheel” has been set up at the Akron Artwork Museum.
Up coming year, he intends to entire the initial of the three innovative ceramics programs he wants to earn his bachelor’s diploma in ceramics. He ideas to end a single advanced study course a 12 months, partly because of to the value and partly to keep away from burnout. He then options to aim on finishing the 10 courses he needs for his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction.
Schweitzer, who has regarded as instructing at the college or university level, thinks he will end soon after he completes his eighth degree.
“I do not want to get burned out and when I get started one thing, I want to complete it,” stated Schweitzer, who has the phrase “Perfection” tattooed on his forearm.
But, even if he isn’t in a class, he does not intend to prevent studying.
“We, as humans, can hardly ever cease learning,” he claimed. “I generally want to master something new.”
Attain Kelli at 330-580-8339 or [email protected]
On Twitter: @kweirREP
Six degrees of Eric Schweitzer
Eric Schweitzer of Canton is just one of 28 men and women to make at the very least 6 degrees from the College of Akron.
The levels he’s acquired so considerably incorporate:
1996: Bachelor of fine artwork, sculpture
1998: Associate of utilized sciences, hearth protection technology
2000: Master of general public administration
2017: Associate of arts
2018: Affiliate of science
2021: Bachelor of arts, art studio