#NCSEN: College is HARD.

belushi_in_animal_houseWe’re helpful folks around here.  When political types struggle, we like to step up and help them set things right.

College names can be confusing.  My alma mater, The George Washington University, is frequently mistaken for its DC-area neighbors Georgetown University and George Mason University.  That word George gets people.

In the University of North Carolina system, we have UNC-Pembroke, which used to be known as Pembroke State University.  I know of a number of cases where people have heard “Pembroke” and thought of the Pembroke Colleges that are part of The Ivy League’s Brown University and England’s Cambridge University.  There are light years worth of difference between the Robeson County school and the other two. 

Talking Points Memo, a leftist blog, has busted Mr. Inevitable™ — a/k/a NC House Speaker Thom Tillis — for, um, “embellishing” his resumé:

North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-NC) has listed two different colleges as his alma mater. Tillis, who’s running in the GOP primary to face Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), is a graduate of the University of Maryland but he actually went to the independent online school University of Maryland University College.

Tillis’ LinkedIn page listed the University of Maryland at College Park as where he got a Bachelorthom sigh of Science Degree in Technology Management, Technology & Project Management. Similarly on Tillis’s biography page on his House Speaker website, Tillis listed the University of Maryland as his alma matter and links to College Park’s website. But according to officials contacted at both the University of Maryland at College Park and the University of Maryland University College, Tillis graduated from the University of Maryland at University College. Tillis is also listed as an alumni in the University College alumni magazine (page 71).

“We have no graduate by that name on file,” University of Maryland at College Park Assistant Vice President Brian Ullmann told TPM. Ullman first checked with the donor database and then with the university registrar. In both cases Tillis’ name did not come up as a graduate of College Park.

But University of Maryland University College Assistant Vice President Bob Ludwig confirmed that a Thomas Roland Tillis graduated from there with a degree in Management Studies and a Minor in Computer Studies.

“A Thomas Roland Tillis has a degree from UMUC and he got it in 1997,” Ludwig told TPM.

Ludwig said UMUC and College Park often get confused.

“We get confused all the time,” Ludwig said. Ludwig noted that UMUC started as part of the Continuing Studies program at the University of Maryland in 1947 and said it completely separated in the 1970s.

It primarily exists as a career-oriented distance-learning institution today that gets most of its students through online enrollment, much like the private for-profit University of Phoenix. According to a November 2013 article in the Washington Post, about a third of its students are stationed on overseas military bases. According to statistics collected by the Department of Education, College Park has a graduation rate of 82 percent while UMUC has a six-year graduation rate of 4 percent.[…]

Wow.  A six year graduation rate of FOUR PERCENT. Apparently, UMUC also accepts everyone who applies to pursue an undergraduate degree.  

Reached for comment, Tillis spokesman and campaign manager Jordan Shaw said that Tillis graduated from University College and the people who created the pages made a mistake.

“Looks like some of the folks who created some of those sites probably din’t know the difference between the two schools,” Shaw told TPM. “We’ll change it where necessary.”

Wait a minute.  According to the Tillis fan club, Binky, and The Shih-Tzu, candidates are supposed to be held personally responsible for what is posted online in their name — and should be flogged mercilessly for any errors.   Let’s get going, folks.  Precedent HAS BEEN SET. 

TPM mentions that all of Tillis’ stuff got changed shortly after they spoke with Lil’ Jordan.  But the folks at TPM did a great job of getting screen-shots of all the pre-revision online entries. Here’s one from his LinkedIn profile:

(There are some other screenshots included at the bottom of the linked TPM post.)


5 thoughts on “#NCSEN: College is HARD.

  1. As a graduate, getting the two DIFFERENT schools “mixed up” is deception…PLAIN & SIMPLE. Thom putting UM-CP on various publications as where he graduated from is LYING, along with a few interviews where he stated he was a graduate of UM-CP.

    I’m a University of Maryland – College Park graduate, and I can tell you that confusing these two schools is impossible unless you’re intending to mislead. UMUC accepts anyone who has the $$ to take what are primarily online courses. I’d feel certain that Tholl Road Thom never set foot in College Park at either UMD or UMUC.

  2. “University of Maryland University College”

    Seriously? That’s a thing? That’s a great name… it’s no “George Masontown Washington University College”, but it’s pretty good 🙂

  3. Deception is a big part of the political game in DC. Tillis will blend right in with the crowd.

  4. I’m fond of noting that, after you get your first job or get into grad school, it doesn’t matter where you went to college.

    I do make an exception for a job in academia, but those jobs don’t exist much.

    So this means that I should also make an exception for politicians as well? I mean, given the level of service that our Congressional Ivy League grads have given us, I’m ready for, say, a grad from University of Idaho.

    Then again, our most successful leaders in the past couple of centuries have lacked a college degree altogether. Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Amadeo Peter Giannini (founder of Bank of America) come to mind.

    1. Yes, most of the time, “where” you went to college is meaningless. It’s all about what you actually bring to the table.

      But “misrepresenting” your credentials – that’s a different thing, and completely worthy of scorn, and, depending on the circumstances and nature of the offense, can be quite an insight into one’s character (or lack of).

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