By Ashlee Larrison
GCU News Bureau
Stephen Taylor earned his bachelor's degree from St. Bonaventure University in 1964. Now, 55 years later at the age of 76, he again had the opportunity to walk across a commencement stage Friday morning and receive his Master of Science in Psychology degree from Grand Canyon University.
Taylor, who lives in Louisiana with his wife, Darlene, decided to get his master's after developing an interest in the re-entry of ex-convicts into society.
“I got interested in life coaching and life skill stuff because I saw the direction of substance abuse and the direction it was going," he said, "and I saw where there was a fit for it, even in my classes within the court system.”
Taylor has seen what he calls the “revolving door” effect that appears in the the court system today, making it a challenge for many former convicts with drug offenses to truly be rehabilitated back into society. He hopes his degree will allow him to work with ex-convicts in Louisiana.
“It opens up new windows for me,” he said.
Taylor didn’t view obtaining his degree as an accomplishment but rather something he was meant to do to help improve the lives of others.
But he didn’t do it alone.
“A lot of it I truly attribute it to my relationship with God," he said. "I trusted Him and I have a good wife who helped me along and encouraged me and a lot of good friends that encouraged me.”
Taylor also credited his counselors at GCU, especially Julie Garcia, and the Tech department with playing a critical role in the completion of his degree. He said Garcia's kindness and transparency about the program is what drew him to GCU in the first place.
Having not visited campus previously, Taylor was surprised to see how modern it is. “It’s a beautiful campus,” he said.
His wife traveled with him to witness her husband’s big moment and was thrilled to see his hard work pay off.
“I’m super proud of him,” Darlene said. “He’s worked very hard … being his age and working still and going through this, he’s done an awesome job.”
Now that he has his degree, Taylor can return to Louisiana and finally do the work he believes he was meant to do: help people.
Contact Ashlee Larrison at (602) 639-8488 or [email protected].
GCU Today: "Mother-son duo graduates side-by-side"
GCU Today: "No lei-ing low for these GCU nursing graduates"
GCU Today: "Commencement surprise was music to his ears"
GCU Today: "Family photo frames fabulous four-year feat"
GCU Today: "Commencement celebrates sense of community"