It Is Never Too Late to Graduate From Kent State

Seventy-year-old Rudd (Ted) Bare II had the surprise of a lifetime planned for his children on Aug. 18, 2018.


On that day, Mr. Bare donned a cap and gown and walked across the stage at Kent State University’s Summer Commencement to accept his Bachelor of Science degree ­– something his children knew nothing about until it happened right in front of them.


Mr. Bare graduated after returning to Kent State to complete the college studies he began nearly 50 years ago. Mr. Bare says daughter Betsy Lee Hartschuh and her family, and daughter Pamela Sue Bennett attended the ceremony. However, his son Dr. Rudd (Sonny) Bare III and daughter-in-law, Dr. Stacy McCallion Bare, both doctors, were unable to attend because of work commitments. The family celebrated the special occasion with a party for 40 guests.


“My wife (Linda Bare) and I have kept this a surprise for our children,” says the elder Mr. Bare, who attended Kent State from September 1966 to May 1972. “I told them that they were going to see their mom get an award that day. I was heartbroken that my son could not attend.”


The elder Mr. Bare of Bath attended Kent State from 1968 until 1972. He says he earned 192 credit hours as a pre-dentistry student and took several business and Spanish courses, as well.


While taking classes at Kent State, Mr. Bare worked fulltime to pay his way through college. He and Mrs. Bare married in 1971, and he bought his first business in 1972. By 1974, Mr. Bare was 25-years-old and the owner of three businesses.


“My businesses started taking all of my time,” he says. “Life happened.”


Mr. Bare is the owner of Leonardo’s Pizza, the Highland Theater and the Linda Theater, all located in Akron. He is also the owner of residential and commercial real estate.


Mr. Bare says his wife, a graduate of Kent State, is a lifelong, award-winning educator who teaches in the Revere School district. His children and their spouses are also well-educated and accomplished in their fields. Mr. Bare wishes to join the long line of family members who are college graduates.


“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” Mr. Bare says. “I’m its weakest link.”


Mr. Bare made the decision to return to Kent State earlier this year. Mindy Aleman, assistant vice president of Kent State’s Center for Gift and Estate Planning, had contacted him after she read an article that chronicled his story. She told him about the Kent State programs that would make it possible for him to complete his degree. 


“I started thinking about all the hours that I had at Kent,” Mr. Bare says. “Then one thing led to another …”


The first step in completing a degree was to contact Kent State’s Department of Academic Engagement and Degree Completion in the Center of Undergraduate Excellence.


Mr. Bare’s pre-dentistry transcripts were reviewed, and he had enough credits to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Studies after completing a senior project or an intensive writing class, all done as independent study.


Ultimately, Mr. Bare earned a Bachelor of Science in Education Studies through the College of Education, Health and Human Services. However, David Odell-Scott, Ph.D., associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, reviewed and approved Mr. Bare’s senior writing project. Dr.Odell-Scott spearheaded the creation of the Center for Comparative and Integrative Programs.


“I work with business people who for a variety of reasons, usually related to their families, were unable to finish their degrees,” Dr. Odell-Scott says. “I am pleased to say, the College of Arts and Sciences and Kent State University has their back.”

UPDATED: Sunday, April 21, 2024 12:46 PM
April McClellan-Copeland