At age 12, Henry Muhlbauer (Engr ’18, ’25) was balancing Little League with his undergraduate coursework at UVA. At 69, third-year Jerry Reid (SCPS ’14) was playing first base for an intramural softball team here.
The two have graduated since their ball-playing days, when this magazine first caught up with Muhlbauer in 2015 and Reid in 2013, but they continue to keep busy.
Today, Muhlbauer, 16, has less time for Little League as he pursues a master’s degree and doctorate in electrical engineering at UVA. He balances the demands of research, maintaining a social life—he’s active in Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship—and finding time to help on his family’s farm in nearby Earlysville.
“It can be kind of tough,” he says of balancing farm life and school. “We’ve worked out a schedule at work and home that lets me do both.” Given that his mom was driving him to college classes four years ago, a recently acquired driver’s license has given him a new sense of freedom.
That newfound freedom also translates to the classroom for Muhlbauer, the youngest person to graduate from the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “I love the independence” of grad school, he says. “In undergrad, there’s only one answer. Grad school is more open-ended.”
Though he’s still young for his cohort, classmates “don’t care how old you are,” he says. “They treat you exactly the same.” After earning his doctorate, he hopes to work at a university or research institution.
Reid, 75, has had a less linear journey since his days at UVA, where, in addition to intramurals, he thrived as a member of Chi Phi fraternity, the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, and the University Judiciary Committee. UVA, he says, “gave me the chance to be my real self.”
A potential deal to publish his memoir fell through, and he has faced a job market that he’s found to be unexpectedly inhospitable. He puts his knowledge of cars—gained from 31 years of auto racing—to use at a Charlottesville auto parts store while he pursues writing and teaching positions, including Teach for America, though he would love to work at UVA. He says he won’t settle for less than what he knows his UVA degree can get him.
“I did not [get my degree] on a lark,” Reid says.
Despite the setbacks, he remains hopeful. “I’m always looking up and saying thank you for what I’ve got,” he says. “And looking up to the next rung on the ladder. It ends somewhere but I don’t want it to end yet.”
In the meantime, he keeps up with friends from the Jefferson Society and continues to give regular tours for the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, even pointing out where he streaked the Lawn, “to inspire some older people to know their lives aren’t over … until they say so.”