ACM New Male Vocalist Rodney Atkins adds college degree to his resume

There is no better poster child for "Good Things Come to Those Who Wait" than Rodney Atkins. Ten years after signing his record deal, Atkins achieved back-to-back multiple week number one hits, ACM New Male Vocalist honors, a platinum album and a Top 5 single this week with "These Are My People." If that isn't enough, nearly 14 years after he left Tennessee Tech University, Atkins will be awarded his college degree this week -- without cracking a book.

Atkins benefited from TTU's degree program -- a bachelor's degree program in interdisciplinary studies -- designed to help students with accumulated credits finish their degrees. While researching for former students who were within a few hours of completing a degree, the university found that Atkins was eligible for graduation as an interdisciplinary studies major without taking any additional course work. How lucky is that?

"When I was going to Tennessee Tech, my parents must have thought I was trying to become an astronaut with the way I was just taking up space!" laughs Atkins. "I think going to college was definitely a benefit to me (even before getting by degree), but it's very satisfying to finally have the degree in hand, especially after paying back all those student loans!"

Atkins, who attended Tennessee Tech from fall 1989 to summer 1993, received recognition for his upcoming graduation when the university presented him with an unofficial diploma during a recent benefit concert he performed in Cookeville. His official degree will be awarded this Saturday along with the rest of the summer graduating class.

TTU, the first Tennessee Board of Regents' school to graduate a student with the degree in interdisciplinary studies, encouraged Atkins to graduate under the new program created to allow students to custom design a course of study that matches their professional and personal interests.

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