May 2009 Addendum
I’m adding this story to the May issue of Waves Gone By as sort of an addendum. You’ll see why as the story unfolds…
Original May 2009 Waves Gone By
Carl W. Jorgensen and T.C. Rupert, Graduation 1968
The Long Forgotten Diploma
In preparing the May 2009 issue of MBA’s alumni e-newsletter Waves Gone By, I asked the graphic designer to find an “oldie” graduation photo plus a more recent one. He randomly selected two photos that looked great to me. With a touch of a key, the e-newsletter was sent out to the MBA alums.
Later that evening, I checked my email from home and found that someone had written to me regarding the “oldie” graduation photo. “Someone just sent me a picture of Mr. Jorgensen presenting a diploma. I think…can you identify that person?”
I replied, “Well, I’ll try. However, some of our old pictures don’t have any identifying descriptions on them so we have to guess the decade or whatever. Do you think this is you? Can you tell if it’s you?”
Before turning in for the night, I couldn’t help but look at my email one more time to see if this person had answered the mystery question. Oh, look! He had written back. He had emailed the photo to his mother. We all know that a mother always knows her own child—right? Sure enough—it was him! Thomas Carl Rupert, Class of 1968, was receiving his diploma from Mr. Jorgensen, MBA principal at the time.
To add another interesting twist to the story, just that very afternoon, I had been in the Principal’s office to obtain a certain document. In passing, the secretary mentioned to me that there were some really long-ago diploma’s in the vault and would I be interested in checking to see if we had a current address on those folks. At first, I thought about how many other things I had going on that day. Did I have time to deal with this and so on… However, I ended up deciding to have her get them out and I would take a look at them. I took the box of precious cargo back to my office and began looking up the names. A number of the people had current addresses in our database and others did not. I had noticed the name of Thomas C. Rupert wondering if he was related to some other Rupert’s I have known over the years. We didn’t have a current address for him so his diploma went back in the box and was tucked away in the safekeeping of the vault.
As I was corresponding back and forth with Tom Rupert, I remembered that very afternoon seeing his diploma. So I wrote to him that I had found it and to send me his address and I would mail it to him. Here’s the story behind the forgotten diploma…
“The reason for my big grin in that photo is that for some reason, K.O. Wheeler [former business manager and two-time acting principal], thought that my bill was not cleared, so there was not even a jacket [diploma cover] on stage for me. So while graduation continued and Mr. Jorgensen handed out diploma’s, I just kept stepping back, while K.O. ran back to his office and got a diploma cover. So the final graduate announced that day went something like this…‘last but not least of the graduating class of 1968 is Thomas C. Rupert.’ K.O. told me afterwards that my bill was cleared and he would mail me my diploma which apparently never happened. I headed off to the military and a new segment of my life. It never even occurred to me that I never received it! This was like the shot that rang around the world! Thanks again!”
T.C. Rupert spent 30 years in the military and lives in Fayetteville, North Carolina. And he is definitely related to all the other Rupert’s I know in California.
I truly believe God orchestrated the events of yesterday using numerous folks along the way to create this happy ending. The MBA family is a caring family. This made my day!
Editor, Waves Gone By