After Bill Moore graduated from State College Area High School in 1986, he started taking classes at Penn State.
He took one here, one there, not in a rush to get anything done, just doing it when he had the time and the money.
The Boalsburg native could take his time. He had a good job working for the university, where he started part time in 1988. He went full time a year later. Moore works in Information Technology Services with connectivity.
Completing it was a goal, but it was one he could wait to achieve. He had plenty of time.
And then it was March 2013.
“That’s when I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia,” Moore said.
Suddenly, the timeline changed.
The first priority was treatment. He got that at Johns Hopkins. Eight months later, they gave the results — complete metabolic remission.
“I’m now basically in a watch-and-wait state,” Moore said.
It was now time to re-evaluate those goals. Getting the degree was a priority. He only had one class to go, a computer science course, and then he would have an associate degree in information sciences and technology. But knowing that he had cancer, he didn’t want to wait anymore.
“Sometime early this year, I went to my adviser at the World Campus,” he said. He got the class done. On Saturday, he will take the last step, finally walking across the stage and officially accepting the diploma.
He is one of the first in his family to graduate from college.
“I think it will open a lot of more doors for me. It will be great, finally being able to say, able to tell people, ‘I have a degree from Penn State,’ ” Moore said.
Moore’s colleagues were happy for him as well.
“So many IT staff members across Penn State are also proud graduates of the university. Knowing the added significance of this accomplishment for Bill, we know he must be especially proud. Bill’s colleagues and I are delighted to congratulate him on his achievement,” said Mairead Martin, senior director of services and solutions.
His whole family lives in the area, but Moore is open to changes for himself, wife Kimberly and their girls, Adele and Sierra. Someplace a little warmer might be a possibility, he said.
The degree will be the second way he documents how his life moves forward. The first one he carries with him, a tattoo on his arm of a looped ribbon in orange, the color for leukemia, memorializing his victory over the disease.
What’s next for Moore? He’s not quite sure.
“A cancer diagnosis changes what becomes important,” he said.