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The 47-Year-Old Plan

When William Reyering graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Xavier in 1988, he already had a law degree from the University of Cincinnati. So to commemorate the occasion—47 years in the making—he visited UC’s bookstore to rent the cape and sash that denotes a Doctor of Jurisprudence, but when he arrived to accept his diploma, the marshal at the commencement ceremony mistook him for a faculty member.

Of course, it was an easy mistake to make. Reyering graduated from Cincinnati’s Purcell High School in 1940 with no chance of attending college full time. Instead, he went to work for the Williamson Heater Company and attended Xavier four nights a week. While serving Mass one Sunday at Guardian Angels Church, the priest, Fr. Lamont, called Reyering into his office. “William,” he said, “if you will agree to take a liberal arts curriculum at Xavier, I will see that your tuition is paid.” Consequently, Reyering quit his job and started full time in September 1941, joining the advanced ROTC program. Two years later, the Army called him and his classmates to active service.

After his discharge in 1946, Reyering attended law school on the G.I. bill but still longed to finish his Xavier degree. In 1988, the semiretired Reyering completed his remaining six credit hours and graduated with a history degree that same year. Now his grandson, Nathan Giddings, attends the University, carrying on his legacy. “I wanted to go to Xavier since I was 10 years old,” Reyering says. “I wanted to become a Xavier graduate. It was one of the goals in my life.”

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