A reformed Harlem drug dealer has graduated from Columbia University. David Norman, 67, recently donned a cap and gown after earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Columbia’s School of General Studies. If you’re wondering if David Norman was the oldest member of Columbia’s graduating class, he sure was. And he likely served more prison terms than any member of his graduating class too. So there’s that.
As reported by Trace William Cowen for “Complex,” “After securing a job as an outreach worker at Mount Vernon Hospital upon his release in 2000, Norman was accepted into Columbia’s School of General Studies. Though he was decades older than most of his classmates, Norman didn’t sweat it. ‘I had a good rapport with the young people because they always amazed me,’ Norman said. Norman, who now works as a research assistant at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and plans to pen a book about his journey, has one simple phrase for those who find themselves in a similar situation: ‘It’s always possible to pursue your dreams.'”
Ivy Coach salutes Columbia University for offering a reformed drug dealer a second chance.
If you’re not familiar with the Columbia School of General Studies, it’s a school for non-traditional students at the university. The students graduate with the same degree that typical undergraduates receive — they just happen to usually be older. Maybe they served in America’s military (Columbia admits many veterans every year through it’s School of General Studies — and we absolutely disagree with the criticism that this segregates veterans — rather it allows the school to offer so many slots to our vets!). Or maybe they are in their 40’s or 50’s and just never sought a college education. The School of General Studies allows students however old, no matter their background receive a first class education. Including, apparently, reformed drug dealers!
This is not the first time Ivy Coach has saluted Columbia for helping non-traditional students receive degrees from the university. And we’ve got another one coming in the days ahead so stay tuned.