Hometown Hero - John Love, Sr.

KPLC 7News at Six - Jan 13 - Part II

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - It took more than six decades, but a former Westlake resident now has his college degree from McNeese State University. John Mack Love, Jr. first started McNeese in 1958.

“I felt like I was just hanging onto the end of a limb and we have now reached the goal,” said John Love, Sr. “It just makes me feel so good. It also lets me know that I can do it and that you can do it and anyone else can do it, if they just want to.”

The 80 year old Love describes what it’s like to finally get his business administration degree from McNeese State University, 61 years after he first attended. Because of job and family obligations, Love was never able to finish. McNeese president Dr. Daryl Burckel found out Love only had 12 hours remaining in order to graduate.

“We looked at it and he only had a semester left,” confirmed Burckel. “We came up with a plan to get with him and finish his degree and finish up that one semester.”

In December 2020, Love got his diploma. Because of Covid-19 concerns, John’s son, Mack, accepted on his behalf.

“You cannot imagine the feeling seeing my son accept my diploma. Touched my heart.”

“Oh, gosh, I balled,” recalled Bonnie Love, John’s wife. “I cried my eyes out. I just cried. There was nothing else to do. It was very emotional for us.”

Dr. Burckel says the awarding of the degree to love 6 decades later reflects well on McNeese.

“You have a very successful professional. The degree does not validate his work. But what his work does is lend credence to the value our degree.”

The Loves now live in Kerrville, TX.

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